This morning I ran into 3 students while walking to school and listening to my iPod. I clearly heard them say to each other: “Gaijin dayo ne.” (Just like a foreigner.) and “So da ne, gaijin tte kanji. Ukeru!” (Yeah, just like a foreigner, that’s funny!)
The students aren’t allowed to use music players (or cell phones) when going to and from school, so their comments are driven by envy mostly. They know that since I’m not Japanese I carry if you will a ‘hall pass’ and can escape from some school policies and activities. This discrepancy is a fact of daily life in my school – ‘foreign’ staff expectations differ from those of Japanese in many cases.
It’s GOOD racial discrimination. The views and customs of the non-Japanese teachers are respected, and many of us gaijins certainly appreciate it.