The other day I was shopping in a supermarket when I suddenly came face to face with two girls around 5-6 years of age who had been browsing the Pocky aisle together. Their eyes got wide at the unexpected sight of a big gaijin in the store, and there were a few seconds of silence, which I dispelled by waving my hand at them with a friendly “Hello.” Whenever I meet Japanese kids I take great care to make a good impression, since I know that I’m often the first non-Japanese they’re encountering in this rural part of Japan, and doing anything they perceived as scary might make them mistrustful of foreigners in the future. Usually it works out well, but every once in a while a baby will decide to cry his head off when approached by this strange-looking blonde-haired monster.
Early foreigners in Japan. Man I’d have loved to see the country back then.