One of the best parts about living in Japan is that the idea of "race" works differently here than it does in other places. Rather than fracturing into a huge number of subcultures linked to national identity (Korean-American, Chinese-Canadian, etc, etc), the number of foreigners is so small that they can't help but be basically lumped into a single group.
It's funny. I've searched for years for a more enjoyable identifying/insulting word that I can use with my real tight homies... and I finally found one in a different language. While "Cracker" is a pretty decent insult for whities, "Gaijin" (foreigner or "alien") is far superior. Coming from a country where I was in the basic minority, I finally have a rude-ish word that I can use knowingly with other people who are in the same situation. It's great. Still, I can definitly admit that my enjoyment of this "minority" status is pretty close to the computer techs listening to "damn it feels good to be a gangster" in Office Space.
/The polite version, by the way, is "Gaikokujin", which means "person from another country".
In any case, on the note of race.... I hae to say that racism is alive and kicking here in Japan. Despite the fact that most of the population is exceedingly nice, very friendly and super eager to help, a few assholes can certainly make you feel unwelcome every now and again.
Beyond the usual "moving away from you on the train" shenanigans, which I like to call "the Gaijin Bubble", I remember one incident in particular. I was in a mostly empty bar with a few friends, and we were asked by the staff to leave because the restaurant was "full". Interesting. While I was tempted to stay, and help solve the problem by joining one of the three tables that had people at them (and by extension, having at least a 33% chance of picking the table that complained about the foreigners), my friends convinced me that taking our unwanted yen elsewhere was a better solution.
So, anyway... a few bad seeds can certainly fuck things up.
And then, there is the other side of the coin. The fascination side of things, where people come up to you and just start speaking / dancing, etc, because you look "different". This, as I have said, is exceedingly fun at dance bars, where you can have a profound influence on the dance moves of the cheerful nihonjin kids who are so eager for new ways to get down.
And... of course, we have the random references to race that are meant to be positive, but end up being just clueless. Like this one:
Ah, sweet Japan. Damn it feels good to be a gangster.