Monday, March 06, 2006

The Eyes!

Hello, this will be a short entry mostly to let you know I am alive, and to make sure everyone keeps checking in on me from time to time and not abandon me as 'that japan girl' ^_~

Here in Tokyo, where you are constantly being shoved against people at much tighter quarters than one would deem reasonable, people have developed a sort of self-preservation technique of non-confrontation. It is very rare to see someone tapping another person on the shoulder, and saying, "would you mind turning that racket down? I can hear your music through your headphones from across the bus!" After that, just make some quip about their poor taste in music, add some swearing, and that would be the typical american solution to an annoying person in your immediate vicinity.

Not so here. Some people will go on and on about 'japanese self-restraint' or whatever, but when you live here, you know that the average person is just as short tempered and ready to bust out the bad words as a new yorker. They just don't because they're on the train... squished like sardines!

Honestly, the trains in the morning are terrible. I suddenly understand the train perverts. I personally have been squeezed against other men and women tight enough to make you think it was Saturnalia. It is a very unplesent feeling when your hands are stuck, quite firmly, between two peoples butts. I know, because I an an accidental chikan = (translation: train pervert)! *weeps in shame*.
This makes me think chikans had their first few gropes entirely by accident, and became.. addicted. (They should have a billboard by the train station reading:, "the first grope's always free on Tokyo metro!" )

Anyways, think sardines.
If someone's headphones are playing really loud in your ear, you CANT use your hands to tap them on the shoulder. You can't talk to them because they can't hear you. Besides, you don't want to attract the attention of the 50 million people in your car. So what you use are your EYES!!!

Tokyoites have become master of the GLARE. The evil glare of death that makes you shudder. Old ladies are the best, but anyone can do it. Da stinkeye has become the weapon of choice in this crowded urban jungle, and it is nothing to scoff at.

Japan has a lot of 'manners' billboards, trying to convince people to be polite to each other, not to smoke while walking, not to run onto the train, not to throw garbage out your window... they are always really cute cartoony slogans, and they are EVERYWHERE. But anyways, this particular one caught my attention, because it captured the EYES so well. about 40 people are all surrounding at a jerky looking guy, poking some guy with his backpack. And they all have: the GLARE.
It isn't cute or cartoony, but it sure sells its message:
"Wearing your backpack on the train is punishable by the LOOK OF DEATH. You have been warned".

Luckily for the guy in the poster, he seems to be wearing sunglasses and headphones, so he is immune to the ill affects. I reccommend this technique to anyone riding the trains in rushhour. The backpack may even be worth the risk because of the buffer zone it makes between you and possible perverts. me...*sob*

Happy riding! ^_~


Anonymous Sarad D in Oita shi said...

Hey! I'm just popping into your blog to say hello and osashiburi! Question to a fellow gaijin: what's a good Japanese book to read when you have only passed the JLPT yon kyu and know about 300 kanji. Any recommendations? Take care!

5:27 AM  
Blogger Kyra said...

yeah, I'm reading this cute series for nine year olds called "Fairy Realm" which has four books out now. The first book is called The charm bracelet. The books are by Emily Rodda. I think if you say "フェーリ・レルム”(作者(さくしゃ)は「エミリ・ロッダー」)they can find it for you.
Tell me if you find anything better, I'm kid-book hunting too ^_^

7:41 AM  

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