26 years ago, yesterday, I did something I should not have done, but had I had the right interventions from the beginning, I would have acted differently. I remember an incident, nearly 29 years ago, when I was walking home from school, and a girl in the year above me asked if I was going to a party on Saturday night. My immediate response was, "What party?" Not that I'd have wanted to go, anyway. The following Monday morning, the party was the talk of the school and it turned out a girl in my year had celebrated her sixteenth birthday with everyone except a good few of us. Getting back to the 26th Anniversary of yesterday, a girl I went to university with said she was having a party in the last weekend of the mid-year holidays and would I like to come. I said I would, but then she proceeded to organise it without telling me (and a few others she said she'd invited) for a different day. I ended up going, but under the same circumstances now, I would have told her what to do with her party. Why was my response different in the two cases. Well, in the first case, the girl might not have wanted me at her party and I didn't care, I was at school to learn and nothing extracurricular interested me. Also, I wanted to get out of the place with good marks. In the second case, I was eager for acceptance (university can be a bit daunting and a bit lonely if you don't know anybody) and that girl PRETENDED to invite me to her party, which was, in itself dishonest. I say, if you're having a party and don't fully intend to invite someone, you don't tell that person you're having one and invite them and then change plans!
At that time, I was an eighteen year old with my strong autistic interest in Japan. One thing I can say, in retrospect, is that Japan was accepting of the West from 1853 when the Black Ships, commanded by Commodore Matthew Perry, sailed into Tokyo Bay with a letter from Millard Fillmore, then President of the USA, asking about opening up. The Japanese knew about Western attempts to force China to open up, hence two Opium Wars and later carving up of China amongst the British, French, German (given to Japan after the First World War), Portugal and Japan, and were determined to resist the same thing occurring there. Japan has accepted new technology (they were first amazed by a steam train) and Western styles of dressing, and created an Army influenced by Prussia and Germany, a Navy influenced by Britain and other things, but despite Tokyo being a vibrant city with lots of neon signs, it is not a cosmopolitan metropolis like London or New York. Yes, you can go to McDonald's or KFC, or eat some other Western cuisines, but unlike Australia, or Britain or the USA, it's very difficult for a foreigner to obtain Japanese citizenship or be accepted as Japanese.
I neglected to mention, earlier on, that the second girl was Japanese, and did so deliberately. What I needed, at that time, though, was a support person who understood autism, who could have said, "Okay, you love Japanese, the language, the culture and the people, but, at school, you were a little protected by your teacher. (You can, however, be anti-whaling and not anti-Japanese) Not all Japanese people are outward looking, so you may get some who are polite to you, but not all will welcome you into their lives. And one of life's great ironies is, many Western autistics like Japan, be it anime, be it the culture and society (the psychologist who diagnosed me even said, "I can understand why you like Japan and Taiwan, because they're ordered societies.") but attitudes in those countries can be quite conservative, especially when it comes to disabilities. Yes, the Japanese revere their elders, hence the wheelchair vans we'll been able to rent that were imported from Japan already modified, but attitudes to disabilities are more about hiding them. What I needed was someone to be able to support me to say, "Okay, you might have to transfer your love of Japan and Japanese things into inanimate objects. So, what have we got? Japanese watch, check (in future, some Japanese watches may be assembled in China, but if the movement's Japanese, you should still be okay), a Japanese car (well, have you got a supportive mechanic? If so, maybe your support person should go along with your father and say to the mechanic, "Okay, we trust you to do your job, but if you would be willing to use Japanese parts wherever possible, such as NGK Spark Plugs, KYB Shock Absorbers, and order some parts from the dealer, is that okay?"), Japanese pens for writing, and if you have to have something Japanese on you, at all times, you might feel better. My mother didn't want to understand why, when she suggested I get a watch that was assembled in Brisbane, albeit with parts from five countries and a Swiss movement, that I would only be able to do that if I had at least three Japanese shirts or had gone to a jeans store and bought three pairs of jeans made from Japanese denim and wore the watch when I wore the jeans and had a Japanese watch to wear at other times. I even said to my nephrologist that having Hashimoto's thyroiditis wasn't enough because it was a disease first identified by a Japanese doctor, but it isn't indicative of Japanese ancestry. And for people, you are better off concentrating on your own kind, and your own kind are fellow autistics.
And then to say, I can understand why you wanted to look for people from other cultures because you were bullied and alienated by your fellow Australians, and Japan has become a safety blanket for you, and it can remain that way forever, but you best do it with inanimate objects. And wanting to have two Chinese things on you at all times doesn't hurt anybody and nobody needs to know.
You may not ever be fully accepted by a different cultural group, but you can do it through material possessions and the right interventions to have your security needs met.