Tokyo, Procrastination
What about the other people doing the same thing as me?
Published on May 16, 2007 By momijiki In Blogging
This doesn't happen every day, but once in a while an old (I'm guessing 70ish +) feels compelled to tell me that I'm being rude.

My offenses so far have been crossing my legs while sitting on the train; having my cell phone on in the train; sitting in the section for pregnant ladies, old people or injured people.

Today, my back was KILLING me. I didn't have a broken leg but I usually opt to not sit in that section just out of respect. But I actually kind of felt like I was going to barf and I decided I would sit instead of feel naseaous. Really, people should applaud my consideration here. It's very nasty when someone barfs on the train during rush hour.

Anyway, I sit down. This old lady sits beside me. Fine. I'm listening to my ipod. She taps me on the shoulder and points to the sign. I told her it wasn't a keitai, but turned down my music. In fact I turned it off. She taps me again. She points to the sign again and tells me I can't sit there.

Me? I guess because I have the bad luck to sit beside her. I tell her my back is bad and she replies, "oh" like she doesn't believe it. That part I really don't care. But what I care about is why she decides to pursue the issue with me. There is a guy sitting on the other side of me. He is probably my age but I look younger. There are two other people younger than me across the aisle but she never says a peep to them. Lots of people do this all the time. In fact a common arguement with my husband and I is my refusal to sit in that section of the train. He couldn't care less 90% of the time, but when someone needs it we give seats up. He even helps people with their bags.

What I want to know is why she thinks she can judge me? If she has some super-human ability to diagnose the dying and pregnant people of the world, then why is she on the train? And I don't particularly believe it was "to do me a favor."

I looked around at other people on the train. No frail old people. In fact my father in law who is 65 gets pissed if younger people give him their seat. Whatever.

The other thing that bugs me is that I will give my seat up to someone who looks like they need it. Even if it's not in a designated section. Today I needed that seat. I wish I hadn't taken it and had gotten sick and barfed on that lady. It's such a nasty thought but I am so pissed at her. I managed to call her "nosy" and then she left me alone.

I feel that if you're going to scold someone, you gotta go for everyone doing it not just the easy looking target.

I feel like I got judged for my surface appearance. I wish I had better language skills to ask why she felt I was the only one needing talking to. Because at my age, I can understand the pictures that accompany the words. Welcome to living overseas.

on May 16, 2007

Were you the only American?

Maybe proximity was the only reason she nagged you.  You were right there and she felt like naggin someone.

Probably a good thing you don't have great communication skills...heh.

on May 16, 2007
Probably a good thing you don't have great communication skills...heh.

A very good thing. Hitoshi refuses to tell me any bad words exactly for this reason. Telling her she was nosy was pretty harsh. I guess it would translate more into calling her a persistant busybody.

I think it was proximity. But if I was Japanese, I know she would have let it go. She would have given me the eye, and 90% of Japanese would ignore it unless someone obviously in need showed up and then only 50% would give up their seat.

My husband tells me that old people here are completely lost (generalization but often true) when they leave Japan so they assume foreigners will be equally as lost.

He also says that I look approachable so people feel comfortable to talk to me or confront me. He told me to ignore these people and the one time I did, the person just kept tapping me on the shoulder to get my attention until I completely lost my bicsuit and yelled "leave me alone" in Japanese. The person kept at it. I found the best defense is to actually to snap back right away. I hate being snarky. Once I start it's hard to stop. Hey! I'm like a Pringle's Chip! Eat me! Heh.

Sometimes people have tried to do me a favor in passport control and tell me to go in a different line for visitors not Japanese nationals except I have a visa to live here so I have to go through the same line as them. In fact, there was a sign one time right in front of the person who was telling me the wrong stuff.

Another thing that is funny is how if I am with a friend who is obviously not Asian but the friend has dark brown hair or brown eyes, many Japanese people will direct their conversation to that person even though most of my friends only know basic, basic Japanese and it quickly becomes evident. One time I translated for the waiteress who looked at my friend the whole time. I'd say she must have been better looking than me but it was a girl. Who knows. Maybe it didn't matter.

I'm actually pretty good at Japanese. I just don't know how to give a decent insult.

on May 16, 2007
Today I needed that seat. I wish I hadn't taken it and had gotten sick and barfed on that lady. It's such a nasty thought but I am so pissed at her

That would have shown her - lol. It is annoying when there are other people doing the same thing.

I had an old lady gripe at me at the store for getting my baby's ears pierced - except they weren't pierced. He wore glasses and the comfort cables wrapped around his ear and you could see the tips underneath his ears.

Some people just seem to hold anything in. They think that because they are old they can say anything they want and probably most people don't ever say anything back to them. Do you think when we're old ladies we'll be like that?
on May 16, 2007
LOL, I would have told her I was pregnant.

Good for you for telling her she was nosy though.

We get A LOT of Japanese tourists here, and they are (in general) rude, pushy, and completely oblivious to the concept of personal space.

I think living in Japan would drive me over the edge.
on May 16, 2007
they are (in general) rude, pushy, and completely oblivious to the concept of personal space.

That is really interesting.

The concept of personal space is different. Way different. I've written about it before, but it's generally more acceptable to shoulder someone out of your way then to say excuse me or "sorry". As a Canadian, (and generally we say "sorry" a lot, I'm told) this drives me bonkers. Hitoshi is constantly reminding me it's cultural. Actually talking to the person is considered more invasive. Gah. It's another reason it really surprises me when old ladies decide to scold me.

Rude and pushy... I bet they're mostly older women. There is a word here for old pushy ladies. It's obatalion. If I've had enough sleep it's kind of funny. Often I feel kinda sorry for them. Generally, they worked hard at home, not a lot of chance to work outside the home and were pretty much ignored by workaholic husbands. Sometimes I kind of feel like they deserve some sort of empowerment after years of being a doormat. But they can be so damn irritating.

And I think it's the perfect irony that they act that way overseas when they complain of foreigners being the same way over here. Ha!
on May 16, 2007
Oops, sorry..Canadian not American.

on May 16, 2007
Oops, sorry..Canadian not American.

lol... but I got what you meant.