Posts Tagged ‘african’

Bobby Ologun goes ape

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    Nigerian-Japanese TV talento Bobby Ologun visits a zoo with his kids, going crazy when he encounters chimpanzees:

    Bobby comes from Africa and claims he knows the chimps. His attempts to “talk” to them in monkey language are not very successful, and he is shocked when they become angry.

    20 comments - What do you think?  Posted by James - June 23, 2009 at 6:19 am

    Categories: Celebrity News, Foreigners in Japan

    Video: A Tanzanian Woman’s Life in Japan

    NTV’s Real Time News aired the following feature report last week about Fidea Kobayashi, a Tanzanian woman living in Nagano Prefecture:

    Here is a quick summary of some of the information covered in the report:

    • Fidea came to Japan 12 years ago after marrying a Japanese citizen in Tanzania.
    • She works at the Chateu De St. Cousair, a restaurant/wedding chapel in Karuizawa. She has worked there for 11 years and now holds a managerial position, although she still insists on helping out in nearly every duty at the restaurant.
    • Fidea’s ability to balance and carry large objects on her head, something most Tanzanian villagers can do, is a rarity in Japan. At some point during her employment at the chapel/restaurant, she ended up carrying something on her head, and the positive reaction of amazement she received from customers has led her to make it a special feature. As the video shows, she sometimes balances large wedding cakes on her head, and guests and ceremonies love it. She is often asked to pose for photographs.
    • Guests interviewed say that they like the celebratory style in which she leads wedding ceremonies, and they are impressed with her Japanese ability. Restaurant customers also like the fun atmosphere she creates.
    • She lives with her 47-year-old husband Kazunari, their 2-year-old daughter Sara, and Kazunari’s 83-year-old mother. During a family apple-picking scene, we are shown that little Sara speaks Swahili and English with her mother, and speaks Japanese to her grandmother.
    • She met her husband when he was working in Tanzania. She was 25 at the time, and he was 35. She initially thought he was Chinese, and he initially found her to be cute but a little fat. When he contracted malaria, she helped nurse him back to health and a romance developed between them.
    • Kazunari’s family was initially opposed to their marriage. His father had never seen a foreigner before, let alone an African, and had major doubts about such a marriage. They eventually consented, however. Fidea’s family did not oppose the marriage, although Kazunari did have to present them with a dowry of 1 cow and 3 goats.
    • As is common with such news features about foreigners living in Japan, we get a look at the kind of food Fidea cooks at home. The dinner shown in the video consists of Tanzanian-style ugali and some Japanese-style grilled saury.
    • When Fidea first came to Japan, she was quite surprised by the crowds in Tokyo. She was also a bit perplexed by Shibuya’s ganguro girls, who tan their skin to the point of looking almost African. When Fidea asked them why they tanned their skin, they told her, “black is best.”

      Fidea had her picture taken the ganguro group, and her family in Tanzania was quite surprised when they saw the photograph.

    • Her life in Japan has not been without difficulties. Not long after moving to Nagano, she was told to get the hell out of a shop, apparently because the shopkeeper was racist. At the time she was quite shocked that the other customers in the shop ignored what was happening, and left with the impression that Japanese people are cold. She believes that such a thing would not happen at a store in Africa.

      She has since met many kind Japanese people, and she feels that only some of the population are bad.

    • Fidea and Kazunari worry about the discrimination their daughter will face when she becomes older and starts attending school. They are trying to raise her to be a strong person who will overcome such difficulties
    • The report ends with a message from Fidea in Swahili: “Sisi Sote Sawasawa” [All human life is equal].

    Fidea is currently active in fundraising for NewDay For Children, an NPO that helps African children orphaned by AIDS. She runs a Japanese website for the organization at

    12 comments - What do you think?  Posted by James - February 24, 2008 at 1:35 pm

    Categories: Foreigners in Japan, Japanese TV

    Barack Obama Visits Japan (Blackface Comedy)


    In honor of the ongoing Democratic Party primary elections, popular Japanese blog Daily Portal Z ran a story about visiting Obama Station in Fukui Prefecture. The real Barack Obama wasn’t available to go there with them, so they did the next best thing: they painted a Japanese guy black and had him wear a big rubber nose!

    Here’s a sample of the kind of pictures found in the post:


    Claytonian, who brought the post to my attention, had the following to say in the commentary he posted on his blog:

    I’m a little conflicted; I like Daily Portal Z and I think this thing gets funny at times. Especially when Hillary shows up in the article. Then there is the politically-correct, and dare I say oppressed at times, foreigner side to me that always feels its a bad idea to paint yourself up like a black man, or a white woman for that matter. Then yet again, this could be political satire so sophisticated it goes over my head.

    In the past, I have expressed my view that comedy acts which rely on parody of the physical features of other races are not my cup of tea. I don’t expect the average Japanese person to understand the hurtful history of blackface comedy, but I still wish that people could understand how someone of another race might feel hurt when they see a Japanese comedian using racial differences for laughs.


    56 comments - What do you think?  Posted by James - February 6, 2008 at 4:30 pm

    Categories: Foreigners in Japan, Politics