Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Personal space

Our daughter, Peanut, is pretty darn cute if you ask me. But apparently I'm not the only one who thinks this. When we go out, we often get swarmed by people, especially old ladies wanting to see her and very often, wanting to touch her. "Kawaii ne!" So cute. We hear this a lot. At first it didn't bother me very much, but as we approach cold and flu season, I'm less blase about having people touch her face and hands. And the fact that Gboy has noticed this and is feeling a little perturbed is an indication of how much it's happening (he tends to not be the most observant person about these things). I should also mention that we're currently combating a rash on her face - source indeterminate. Doctor's recommendation of Cortaid-like cream seems to be working, but I don't think having people pet Peanut's face will help matters.

As a result, my husband and I have been talking to a few people here in Osaka lately. We're trying to assess the source of problem. Do people find her especially cute because she's biracial? Many people do tell us this. But some people have told us that the touching thing (again especially from the old ladies) is prevalent in Osaka vs. other parts of Japan. So maybe it's just a local and cultural custom that we're up against. Either way, we're unsure of how to deal with it.

In the U.S. some old ladies (although fewer than we've encountered here) wanted to stop and admire Peanut, but they never touched her. I would have had a hard time asking people not to touch her, but I probably would have developed a backbone as winter approaches and the germ count seems to increase. For some reason though, I find it awkward to try to figure out how to tell people here to please not touch her. I get that she's something of a novelty around here (we're in a more rural, outlying part of Osaka) but don't know why that means everyone should feel entitled to touch her.


  1. Hi
    First comment here although I have been enjoying your blog for a while!!

    Its funny that you say that about Osaka - I'm in Kobe and I have a friend with a one year old biracial daughter who lives up in Osaka proper and she has complained about the exact same thing!! I know that the Osaka obaachans are infamous for their behavior. Maybe someone with a little one in another part of the country will varify if it is a "biracial" thing or a "Osaka" thing - although truth be told in all my time in Kobe I've hardly ever seen a full Japanese baby being accosted... maybe theres something about being a foreign mother that makes them feel more able to approach? I love babies too and would love to play with them, talk to the mothers etc but I don't think I would really have the guys to approch someone I don't know!

    Wow - Osaka is so close!! There are a whole bunch of foreign wives here who meet up monthly or so you and Peanut should join us :)

  2. Well, my daughter is adopted - so 100% Japanese, but I'm caucasian. I live in Saitama-ken, in the Kanto area. And...all the grandmas and others have been touching Jun since birth. bugs me sometimes, so I am looking forward to reading comments by someone who dealt with it well!