This theme is one thing I have really really wanted to share with people since I came to Barcelona.
When I am walking in a street or a supermarket or whatever else, sometimes people talk to me “ni-hao (你好),” which means “Hola” in Chinese. At the time when I have just arrived in Barcelona, I didn’t like that people said to me ni-hao because I am not Chinese. I always replied like “NI-HAO. But excuse me I’m not from China, I am Japanese” with a big smile. However in my head, I was like “Hey hey, could you please don’t label all Asians are from China? It’s like asking to all Europeans if they are from the U.S. And also if you have nothing to talk besides ni-hao, don’t talk to me. I don’t like human bei… OK stop Rumi, calm down…” People’s reactions were deferent, some people said sorry for their mistake, some correct themselves and said “konnichiha” (which means “Hola” in Japanese) or other asked me to tell them how to greet in Japanese. But I was not very happy about that thing, because I couldn’t understand what kind of reply they wanted for what reason. (I am sorry but it’s a dark side of me, now you knew it.)
Time passed a little, 1 or 2 months later, I didn’t know why but my idea had changed a little. Or maybe, I almost gave up of fighting against that ni-hao attack. In that phase when strangers said to me ni-hao, I pretended like I was Chinese and replied them ni-hao (with my wrong pronunciation.) At that time I was OK about it because I noticed that China is a big country with a huge population, so if people see me it is natural that they may suppose that I am from China. It is all about the probability, the theme of a number. And also I was telling myself that the reason why people talk to me is they are just curious about me. (I know, it’s not.) Actually, without correcting all the little shits but simply saying ni-hao was much easier and less stressful for my life. (A life tip, yay!)
However, one thing happened to me 1 month ago. I went to a local music festival alone (wait, it doesn’t mean that I don’t have any friends, it’s just because I wanted to see my favorite band, ok?), and I guess I was an only Asian at that festival, because I didn’t see any Asian looked people except me (and everyone was with friends… EVERY FUCKING ONE. I was totally alone.) Anyway, I was watching my favorite band in the first row right in front of the stage and I was so excited and super happy… until one guy behind me started the ni-hao attack. I was just ignoring him because I really wanted to concentrate in the show, but the guy kept saying ni-hao with no reason so I couldn’t stand it anymore. I turned around and told him, “No ni-hao to me. NO.” But you know, we were standing right in front of the stage so I was kind of screaming stupidly and he couldn’t get any of my words because of the great rock music. I knew he was just drunk and maybe he won’t even remember it, but it was a thing for me. (However, the show was awesome.)
Since that day, I have been thinking of a counterattack against next ni-hao attack but still haven’t got any good idea. Respond in other language like “Привет” or “สวัสดีค่ะ?” Well, not bad but it would be a bit awkward and it seems that I’m mean. Insult secretly in Japanese with a big smile? Alright, but it would make the situation even worse if they know Japanese, and also I don’t dare to try it…
After all, I think I’ll just say this in an emotionless voice with a weird smile as always :
＊Hey you! (yes you!) Thank you so much for reading! In this article I don’t mean to say that I hate China or Spain or the whole world, neither I’m not trying to insist that I’m an anti-racism something something. What I wanted to do is simply share my personal experience. I have been wanted to share it and also wanted to know how everyone think about this story. If you have any experience/opinion or if you already got a good tips for this subject, please leave your comment! 🙂