We were walking down a busy street in Yokohama when I heard "I Can" by Nas blaring from a store. I turned my head to see where exactly the music was coming from and as I was doing so, a black guy sitting on a bench nearby said something.

He looked like a typical young American black guy dressed in "urban" clothing.

I wasn't sure he was talking to me and I didn't catch what he said, but I thought I heard him speak Japanese.

Must be my imagination, I told myself.

Further down the same street, I heard hip hop music blaring from another store. I looked over and there was another black guy who looked like a typical American black guy standing beside a rack full of "urban" clothing on the sidewalk.

As we walked back up the street we came down, I wanted to get a closer look at the store that was playing the Nas song earlier. This time when we passed by, there were three or four black guys hanging around the bench near the store. I paused to read the store marquee (—American hip hop, casual and sports wears) and yet another black guy approached me and handed me a flyer for the store in question while saying something to me in Japanese.

It's weird seeing black guys who look like typical American black guys in Japan speaking fluent Japanese.

Do the Japanese import black guys from America to sell hip hop clothing in their country? If so, where would one apply for such a job?

Are there black people who wake up one morning and think —Can't rap. Can't play basketball. Might as well learn Japanese and go work in retail in Japan?