Fat in Japan by Jessie Carty

I was fat in Japanfile3041299869591

but still someone

grabbed my ass

in Akihabara – Electric

Town – Geek City – Land

of the Otaku – My

guidebook mentioned

that groping could happen

on crowded subways, but I never

thought it would happen to me;

that anyone would pinch

my extra folds of flesh.

I turned, looking for the assailant,

trying not to feel

somewhat flattered.


I was fat in Japan.

I was an American

stereotype. A mythological

being created to steer tween

Japanese girls away

from cheeseburgers.


I was fat in Japan.

I can’t say that in Japanese.

The only words I successfully learned

were gohan for rice, tamago for egg,

sumimasen for excuse me for taking up

your space, and arigato for thanks –

thankful the sales girls didn’t snicker

when I shopped the Harajuku stores

that only seemed to stock

what we Americans – we gaijin –

would size as Medium or smaller.


I was fat in Japan,

wearing my XXL navy hoodie

from Eddie Bauer, dark colored jeans,

simple Birkenstock walking shoes,

long hair, and what I hoped

was an expression

plain enough

that I could pass unseen

because there was nothing

I could do to make me fit in.



20130913_083930Jessie Carty’s writing has appeared in publications such as, MARGIE, decomP, and Connotation Press. She is the author of six poetry collections which include the chapbook An Amateur Marriage (Finishing Line, 2012), which was a finalist for the 2011 Robert Watson Prize. Her newest collection, Morph, was published by Sibling Rivalry Press in the fall of 2013. Jessie is a freelance writer, teacher, and editor.  She can be found around the web, especially at jessiecarty.wordpress.com
Jessie Carty
… is a contributing guest author for Germ, which means the following criteria (and then some) have been met: possessor of a fresh, original voice; creator of fresh, original content; genius storyteller; superlative speller; fantastic dancer; expert joke teller; handy with a toolbox; brilliant at parties; loves us as much as we love them.


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