既視感。

As a foreigner living in Japan, and especially working at an eikaiwa, I find myself having the same conversations fairly often. What country are you from, which part, how long have you been in Japan, where are you living. All are perfectly reasonable questions, and I don’t mind answering them, but I’ve started to feel vaguely silly after answering them so many times. Oh, and I can’t forget the 日本語上手/とんでもありません exchange that occurs in many of my interactions.

As an instructor, I also find myself answering questions about my hobbies, my favorite Japanese food, why I decided to move here, and what I like about Japan. On top of that, my name is uncommon enough that when I say my name and the other person doesn’t get it immediately, I always say, “Like Brad Pitt, only not as handsome.” (That usually gets a chuckle.)

I have the feeling that if I find a job doing something other than teaching, I may not have to answer the second set of questions as often, but also that no matter how long I live here, I’ll never stop being asked that first set. I accept it.

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