Kanto City Office Worker bewildered by mixed-race families

Despite having worked in the Births Registration Section at Kakeochi City Office for sixteen years, and despite Kakeochi City having more foreigners than dogs within its boundaries, Katsurei Uketa still struggles with the concept of a family featuring a non-Japanese member.

City employees would feel shame if a new family were ever to leave this place smiling.

“Huh… The baby’s name is Natsumi… Parker… !?  And… she’s Japanese…!?” exclaimed the overweight and unfashionably unshaven 38 year old lifetime public servant.  As he took the forms from the beaming parents, Uketa proceeded to stare at them in the manner of a North Korean reading a book which shows Japan in a positive light.

Taking utmost care not to betray the fact that he serves people in exactly the same situation at least once a week, and that the procedure ought to be straight-forward with a minimum of fuss, Uketa’s only utterance for the next ten minutes is a laboured “Hmm…” as he handles the papers much in the way of a detective sifting through delicate yet incriminating evidence, his only reaction being to tilt his head every minute or so.

Failing to find even the smallest error that would allow him to unempathetically send the family away from his desk, Uketa humourlessly completes the paperwork and then abruptly directs the young family to another section of the office where they will be required to do just about everything they’d just done all over again.

I’d forgotten to get a photograph of Uketa serving a happy family, so I desperately grabbed a quick snap of him murdering a hamburger.

It’s a scene that occurs regularly at the city office, and precious westerners love retelling embellished versions of their encounters with friends at izakaya and British-themed chain pubs. But the experience from the other side of the counter is rarely heard, or even considered. Taking this gap in information on board, I decided to sit down with Uketa last week to shed some light on the matter.

“Look, I’m just doing my job to the best of my ability, and if that’s not good enough for some entitled westerners then they need to adjust their standards,” he explained.  “Half of these Europeans and Yanks are leftie do-gooders anyway.  I’m just giving them a taste of what life would have been like in the Soviet Bloc every single day.  Imagine being served by someone like me for every conceivable transaction; at the bakery, the butcher, and the izakaya.”

In addition to the slow service, applicants are directed to purchase revenue stamps from this snack stand located across the road from the city office.

While getting stuck into his barely-earned lunch, Uketa revealed that there is an international side to his actions, which can be seen when he stares at a form put before him silently for two minutes.  The poker face is, in fact, an instinctive reaction to any receipt of a formal document.  “I was trained by a stone-faced, elderly woman from the DMV in Ohio,” he says between highly off-putting chomps on a burger in the city hall lunch room. “My key takeaway from the course was to never act assertively or show an inch of initiative to help a client.  Staring blankly at a form for what seems like hours is all part of my training.”

The pachinko-loving Saitama native also carefully laid out the perplexities he often has to deal with. “I can’t imagine how these people in international relationships meet, how they court, and how they live together. What happens in the house when the Japanese woman cooks dinner?  Can he eat Japanese food?  Can he use chopsticks?  Can he respond appropriately when his sexless mother-in-law tries to pleasure him at the kotatsu

The strain shows on the face of the father in this mixed-race family after another encounter with local bureaucracy

“I’ve even heard about one Australian guy who was just into having regular naked sex with his wife,” continued Uketa who was now embracing the opportunity to let it all out. “He wasn’t using any ropes or uniforms, and he was finishing inside her rather than on her face or breasts. Umm… What happened to doing as the Romans do when in Rome!? That guy sounded like some kind of imperial pre-invasion plant.

“And, what about the relationships when the man is Japanese?  It must be hard for him using a knife and fork all the time and dealing with all those cultural differences. What about when they have sex? I guess he has to learn tag questions to confirm that she likes what he is doing to her every 30 seconds. What should he do when the woman gets into crystals and essential oils? It all seems like an enormously stressful way to live.”

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