The other day I had kind of a strange experience. It was the first blatant, overt, and hostile display of racism I've encountered in Japan (or anywhere, I suppose), and it wasn't perpetrated by a Japanese person. Joe and I had just gotten some Indian food and were walking to the train station, when we noticed this guy crossing the street and walking towards us. His expression was...friendly? He looked like he recognized us. As soon as he got close, his face changed and he became really angry-looking. He walked right in front of us, gave us the finger, and said something in what I believe was Chinese. The only word I caught was "America." Then the angry dude continued past us in the opposite direction. He stopped and turned to watch him go. Near the end of the block he turned around and flipped us off again. Now I don't know how he "knew" we were Americans or what he has against America, but he's lucky the two of us aren't what he probably thinks most Americans are like. There were two of us and he wasn't a very big guy - we could have easily socked him in the face if we were violent men.
It was a very odd experience, and I felt more perplexed than angry.