Flyjin Gaijin

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a new buzzword :

Flyjin, fly-jin - Bye-jin

JIN is Japanese and means "human being"

International policy egghead David Abraham, currently a fellow at Tokyo University, writes in the Atlantic that he left Japan three days after the Tohoku earthquake, returning a week later, not so much to flee imminent danger than to make a “decision while still leaving open a range of options.”

Abraham has been in Japan for two years, and previously lived in Lithuania, where he learned to speak the language. He worked in the White House Office of Management and Budget for four years under President George W. Bush. He earned a master of arts in law and diplomacy at Tufts University.

source : flyjin.com/


Don't call me 'flyjin'

Time Out talks to a few of the foreigners who left Tokyo

Anybody conspicuously foreign who happened to be in Tokyo last weekend might have noticed a curious phenomenon: the look of mild shock that registered on people's faces when they saw that you were still here. In a week that was marked by all kinds of rumours and misinformation, one story persisted. Foreign residents, apparently, were fleeing the city en masse.

'Thousands swamp immigration,' reported The Japan Times on March 17, observing the huge lines of people applying for re-entry permits at the Tokyo Regional Immigration Bureau. 'Crisis Triggers an Exodus from Tokyo' splashed the Wall Street Journal a day later. Even the more conservative embassies recommended that their citizens at least 'consider' leaving the capital; many went as far as to charter flights out of the country.

A web-savvy writer and technical editor, Barron had stayed in Tokyo for a week after the earthquake first hit, providing valuable coverage and commentary via her Twitter account. When she began to consider leaving herself, she says, 'the biggest factor was distraught family members.'

... 'People who've left Tokyo have not abandoned a disaster area, they haven't left behind wounded, sick or dying people who need their assistance,' says Bennett. 'They are merely doing their best to ensure the safety of themselves and their loved ones. And to anyone who has some particular problem with that, hey, you know... sorry, man.'

source : www.timeout.jp


source : Japan Times, Tuedsay, April 5, 2011

'Fly-jin' face fallout from decision to go
Family fears push foreign residents to leave as Japanese share sacrifices, duty

... The truth is, I had no intention of leaving Tokyo on March 18 for a long weekend in Osaka, where I observed the crisis from a safe distance, a reluctant "fly-jin" (apparently what they call us) taking advantage of a distant perch. In my layman's judgment, at 225 km from the Fukushima No. 1 plant, Tokyo was far enough away from the unfolding nuclear disaster for me to feel secure. But it was the seven or so phone calls I received the day before from my parents — who nearly broke down in disbelief that I would be risking my life for my job and my adopted country — that made me reconsider.

... I was surprised to learn the worst was just about to happen every time we talked on the phone (with family in Europa) :
The reactor would explode. Tokyo is in a panic. There won't be time, space or gas to escape later; I had to do it now. The Japanese government wasn't telling the truth. Tepco wasn't telling the truth. Apparently I was watching the wrong news (admittedly, the sleepy pauses of the NHK translator I listened to could sometimes make an apartment fire seem mundane).

Looking at foreign media coverage of this event, you would think all of Japan was crumbling, sinking, radiating or panicking out of fear of any one of the above, making it all the more difficult for non-Japanese, with news-addicted family back home, to try to stick it out and honor their professional and personal responsibilities in Tokyo.

... Asking a few Japanese acquaintances if they were planning on getting out of Tokyo for a while, I got a pause and an uncomfortable look every time. Of course they were thinking no such thing — they had to work or take care of their families. And where would they go? They are Japanese!

MORE in the link.


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My German friends put it this way:

Die Ratten verlassen das sinkende Schiff.


Wednesday, March 30


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  1. Anonymous3/30/2011

    Yeah... it would have worried my family if I was visiting Japan, but, I would have tried to stay and help if I could. Many gaijin did, if I understand it.
    What do you call the gaijin that stayed to help, I wonder?

  2. Gabi wrote : maybe stay-jin ?

    Chibi wrote : I would call myself "bakajin". Hahaha... should I have stayed.

    Gabi wrote : how about tomoda-jin ?

  3. I like the idea of 'flyjin' instead of 'haijin'!
    Our son in Tokyo has lost some staff - flyjin - and is struggling to run his business. One of his concerns - selling office space - is also struggling, as many business customers have withdrawn and moved their offices to Hong Kong or distant parts of Japan.
    His daughter's school - Tokyo International - has been closed since the earthquake, as many of their staff ran off to their homes. Obviously, he is luckier than the unfortunate thousands who live in the Sendai area, but he has to make a living and maintain his family and staff - just another of the many who are incidentally affected by recent events.
    I think I would call him a 'Truejin'! :-)"