Foreigners trying to live Filipino Culture, now that’s something we should be aware (and be proud) of.
While I was eating lunch, Our TV was tuned in to Eat, Bulaga!, the country’s leading noontime show, and I noticed the segment “You’re My Foreignoy“, where pure-blood foreigners try to speak in Filipino and perform a talent that is related to our language and our culture (either singing an OPM tune or performing a cultural dance).
Today was their weekly finals for their Luzon leg, and there were five contestants, mostly from European countries (one of which came from Brazil)
It was a very amusing sight to behold that these expatriates, who stayed in our country for either a few weeks or a couple of years (one contestant said that he has been in the country for five years) and now, calling our country as their second home.
They tried eating our delicacies, like balut, kwek-kwek, kakanin, and drank buko juice, and performed OPM hits like “Pusong Bato” and danced our traditional dances like the “Maglalatik”. But what hit me is that they really tried to speak, and understand our national language, Filipino.
However imperfect, or with so many problems on their diction and pronunciation, they tried to learn, and they are willing to learn our language. Now that was something that I thought, we should remember more often.
And yes, the judge from the National Commission for the Culture and the Arts (NCCA) nailed it on the head, when he said that the contest “shows so much of our culture and heritage through the eyes of these foreigners”, It showed to us how powerful media is, and I really pondered on that.
Right now, in this modern media age, we have been bombarded with so many influences in our culture because of the content that we see in media, like Korean, Japanese and American programs. Some of us really try to idolize, or even impersonate these cultures because we think these cultures are the “best”, to the point of forgetting what is our heritage.
Recently, so many “anime otakus” (and this I stress with the quotes) are saying that they try to embrace Japanese culture more than our own Filipino culture and traditions. They think Filipino culture sucks, and that by imbibing the culture that they always see in Japanese anime, which they think are desirable.
They wanted to live in a world like what they see in Anime. They try to speak Japanese, They listen to J-pop or J-rock, they only follow Japanese artists, and they try to follow the street fashion of Tokyo, and they set their sights on going to Japan to simply embrace Japanese culture.
To the point that it is simply undesirable and unpleasing both to the eyes and the ears.
It irritates me (and I hope, a lot of our readers as well) when you talk to someone in Filipino and then they will reply to you in Japanese, as if to say that they have learned the language or even has that enough mastery of the language when their only “learning tool” for speaking the Japanese language is watching tons and tons of anime.
For your information people, watching anime does not make you of being a Japanese speaker.
The language itself is all too complex to learn in just one sitting (yes, there’s Hiragana, There’s Katakana and there’s Kanji), that is why there are so many specialized courses in Japanese that only specialized language schools (and some universities) can offer.
And Another FYI… You don’t consider yourself a Japanese speaker if you did not take the Japan Language Proficiency Test or JLPT, which is a test administered by the Japan Foundation as a gauge of how well you read and comprehend the Japanese language, It has five levels, in which the N5 is the basic and the N1 is the advanced.
Just take note, I am not obliging or pushing every Japanese pop-culture fan to apply for these tests, but I have to advice you that if you are really that interested in learning the language.
You should take these courses and not gobble yourself in watching too much Anime.
There is nothing wrong with following, adapting or emulating cultures from nations… but sometimes, adapting too much, or emulating it loses our cultural identity. Some (so-called) anime otakus are trying so hard to “copy” what they see but sometimes, it does not sit well with what they are!
We. Filipinos, have our own identity and our heritage. We have traditions and cultures that are unique in a way that other countries try to look up to us.
Honestly, some Anime fans don’t realize what culture and tradition we have, as if they are saying that “Idolizing everything Japanese makes me an Otaku”.
No, you are not being an Otaku, you are being a “Weeaboo“, which means “Someone who is obsessed with Japan/Japanese Culture/Anime, etc. and attempts to act as if they were Japanese, even though they’re far from it.” (from Urban Dictionary)
They try so much to become a part of that subculture who celebrates being Japanese but trying to forget the culture that they have been born with it, like in our case, Filipino culture.
They don’t necessarily realize that Japan is not always being that anime/manga/cosplay country. It has its own sets of culture and traditions that even foreigners would think it’s hard to understand… and, lest we forget, there are other customs in Japan that is a big no-no in our culture or even foreign cultures, have you all forgotten “hara-kiri” (or the legit Japanese term Seppuku)?
Let this be an advice to every Pinoy Anime fan who embraces the Anime culture (or its sub-culture) as a whole and try to forget our colorful heritage that we have.
Take a look at these foreigners (watch the segment, if you have the time, You may laugh at them or ridicule them, but deep inside, you will realize something) who took great pains in learning our language and our culture.
You have to take a look in their shoes that they are just like you, trying so much to adapt to the culture and traditions that you like so much that you forget your own identity, your own brand as a Filipino. (At least, these foreigners know what their roots are, embracing our culture as much they embrace their own countries’.)
You live in the world of Jeepneys, Adobo, and Fiestas. Your National Hero is Jose Rizal, and You live in a tropical country. You are not a Japanese kid from Japan… You are a Filipino kid, born in the Philippines.
You shouldn’t push yourself being a weeaboo, You have a life outside of Anime, and you should learn to accept that our culture has something to offer for you.
Now, Let me ask a question for you… What if you see a Japanese person who speaks better Filipino and eats in bare hands just like any other Filipino person does, while you try so hard being Japanese simply by showing off your mastery of the language and being imbibed in the “anime world?”
You should realize it by now.
DISCLAIMER: This editorial express the views of Anime Pilipinas, but it does not reflect the views of its friends & partners.