Ha, ha! What a chuckle. This one, which I caught through the Schott’s Vocab blog, (itself in the New York Times real-time blog roll,) is play on the word “gaijin”. Gaijin itself is short for gaikokujin, “outside the country person” or foreigner, in Japanese.
Cotterill, as a foreign-based reporter, says that he is staying in Japan. He is married to a Japanese, and, well, his work is there. This is not surprising and he well makes it clear.
What he reports on is amusing, though: Japanese who are being inconvenienced by non-Japanese who have picked up and gone home. Geez! Remember, the problem usually in the gaishikei (foreign-capital comanies) is that the foreigners are there! That’s the jyama (annoyance). I can only imagine that the cracks about the flyjin would be in the context of how these Japanese are “forced” to work in the international context (because their own domestic economy can’t generate enough good jobs), and now, here is yet one more pain TO HAVE TO ENDURE!
From the post:
However, despite the lack of a nuclear threat, a huge exodus of foreign workers continues from the capital and the level of international hysteria has caused many Japanese people to complain. Countries like Germany and Switzerland have moved their operations out to Osaka and Kobe, as have many large multinationals. Much of the criticism of the so-called flyjin has come from Japanese workers at companies in Tokyo. They’ve been trying to keep a stiff upper-lip (or in Japanese, shiran kao shiteiru, ‘making know-nothing faces’), but their jobs have become impossible because their foreign colleagues, customers, and clients have left Tokyo.
He he! Aw, come on. The jobs are often allegedly “impossible” with the foreigners around. Now, they’re “impossible” if they leave. What does that tell you about the level of regard the non-Japanese is being given?
I bet you that the vast majority of P.R. and other long-term residents are right there in Japan, where they’ve been for some time. I bet you that anyone who really can’t move their job easily is still right there, in the mess of whatever sort.
The non-Japanese who are getting out are among:
1) those with short-term commitments in the country, including Englsih teachers, study-abroad students, and the JET. (This is so, whether or not their associates think that “Japan” is going to commit to them if they just keep repeating the mantras about how everything Japan does is great. So it will be funny when their butt is being shoved on a plane in 2012, despite their protestations that they stuck “the big one” out with their adopted homeland while the “flyjin” cut and ran.)
2) Chinese who are stuck in low-wage jobs. I wish I had the link handy, but one report I surfed through said that a large number of Chinese were looking to leave the Tohoku region. Basically, Tohoku’s underground shadow economy.
3) “Assignees”. These people are part of international companies that operate in many countries and some of which are practically nationless. They operate by the mythical “free market”, and earthquakes, tsunami, and radiation are a market imperfection that the company simply doesn’t want to deal with. If you want these corporate employees in your country, you have to do something about your tectonic plates. When they start slinging the corporate jargon about what “space” their company is looking to occupy in the market, sometimes it’s the actual literal use of the word.
If there hasn’t been already, I am sure there is going to be the inevitable post from those flyjin-inai gaijin (the real foreigners who stick it out like good gaijin), looking for brownie points from their readers (if they have any), bragging about [how] they didn’t leave. This is the cheap patriotism of the lapel flag. The yellow ribbon on the SUV antenna. Everyone is supposed to clap like it’s where the three-year-old was able to balance blocks.
When Chuckers, one of my readers, tells me that U.S. embassy in Tokyo is posting about how they’re there and even staffed with more people, that’s about the “space” where this kind of thing goes. I assume a few of the Eikaiwa teachers who couldn’t get a ticket or have no home to flee to, and have decided to become martyrs of convenience would fit in there, too.