LONDON Love&Hate 愛と憎しみのロンドン

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a voice from a Japanese in London after the referendum

I guess all of you have been feeling enough to follow what are happening in the UK after the referendum, but I would like to make my voice heard because there is no voice from non-British or non-EU residents in the UK what we have been through after the referendum.

On 24th June, a person (I would call E) who I know for some years asked me how I was feeling about the result of the referendum. I told that I was upset by what the British decided. Immediately, E said, “Why? You are a Japanese and you do not need to be upset. Listen, now for the Japanese, it will be easier to come to the UK”.

I was gobsmacked and took it as a kind of humiliation, not only for me, but for my European friends. For E, who overwhelmingly told me that E voted to leave EU, immigrants from EU countries seem to be more problematic and the Japanese to be more obedient?

My friend from Sicily was absolutely upset by the result. Not only did he feel rejected by the UK, he also felt betrayed by the country where he worked very hard until 23rd of June. I feel too.

Yes, I am a Japanese coming from a non-EU country and I might not need to worry about the situation right now. However, the Leave camp frequently attack the immigrants and I, too, feel rejected as an immigrant living and working in the UK.

There are many analyses of how the referendum resulted in the decision to leave the EU. Some analyses point out that people, in particular in the north of England, used this referendum to make their voices listened to by politicians.

Ultimately, I think it should be Mr Cameron who is accused of causing this situation. He gave many people the power which he could not control. The people used the wrong power at the wrong timing.

I feel sorry for the people who have for years felt that none of their politicians listen to them. Nonetheless, I would like to ask them, “why did you not do more efforts to make your voice heard in Westminster?”

I may be wrong, but I believe there are some ways for them to do it. For instance, the right of doing industrial actions belongs not only to the Tube workers, but to farmers, fishers and all workers.

Mr Peter Barakan, who has lived in Japan for more than 30 years, expressed what he felt about the result of the referendum. He was surprised and he also felt that some British people might feel as if they still live in the time of the Great British Empire. I do not mind if the British want to feel that they are the member of the Great British Empire, but if so, I would like to tell them that the most important thing is your responsibility to take care of the people under your wing.

A few days before the referendum, I asked some of my friends about a connection between an English phrase and the attitude of the British.

What’s the damage?

I must admit that I do not think people in Japan would be happy to change, or develop their attitude to follow what are happening in the world. I have two more phrases in which I see the connections to the negative tendencies of the people in the UK.

First, when people are not certain whether they come into a right place to find a thing they need, many people compose negative questions; don’t you have xxxx?” When the answer is “no”, they look relieved. For, “I was not sure if they have a thing I am looking for and I asked them with my assumption that they do not have. So, their answer is “no” and I did the correct question", which I mean they cannot accept a fact that they did not find a right place.

Second, “no worries”. When someone asks me if I know where a shop/ a building is, my answer is “no”. Instead of saying “thank you”, then, many people tend to say, “no worries”. Of course, I am not worried about your being lost because you did not check properly by yourself. I feel because the people do not want to admit a fact that they are lost (their mistake), they pour their guilty onto me.

If I were somewhere in Syria and someone asks me how to get Aleppo, of course, I am worried about that person. But in London, why do I have to worry about the people who have not done something they needed have done.

Thank you for reading my Janglish and for allowing me to pour my anger onto you. I feel a bit better now. I do hope the UK would not go into isolation.

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