Monday 5 July 2010

The "dame" sign

really really really pisses me off. When using it to teach English, love it. When communicating with a small child or animal, love it. But what I don't love is the dame sign when it is being used towards me with an undertone of "fucking foreigner isn't going to understand me so I'll make a huge X mark with my arms to get my point across."

I'll admit though, when I first arrived in Japan, the X sign was very useful, no language and gestures are a lovely combo, but I feel I've gained a few gold stars in the old language department that it really is uncalled for now.

I was accosted with the X arms this morning as I parked my bike, and fair enough, I knew I wasn't supposed to stop there, but it was bastard bloody hot and I was just nipping into the bank for a few minutes, and there were other bikes there too. So as a Japanese bird is pulling out, I parked but was promptly greeted by the old dude in the yellow coat making the obnoxious X sign. No words, just the sign.
I immediately got my gaijin racism radar going and was going to quiz him on why he didn't tell the J-bird off but I knew I was possibly jumping to conclusions and that he had possibly said something before I arrived (unlikely though). Now I can just imagine if Ryota had been there, he would have told the old dude to fuck off and that if the police took his bike away he'd worry about it then, but alas, I'm just not that strong. So I gave a big, pissed off sigh and asked him where I could actually park, he seemed a bit surprised at my gutter Japanese accent and told me I could park underground, but you know, who can be fucked going underground?

So I left and parked round the corner out of his sight, surprised he didn't follow me gesturing crazily though. Just as I was parking and going into 'fuck off Japan and your rules' mode, I knocked the bike next to me and caught it just in time before the bike domino effect started, but then I was in a bind, holding on to my bike and the one next to me, the banking crap and my bag. As I was pondering my next move in the tricky game of bike maneuvering, an older lady came and saved me, grabbing my bike so I could get the other one. She was so sweet, telling me she always made the domino effect and that "it sucked dogs ball eh"!? (rough translation!) and waited until all the bikes were set right before she went off. So the X sign gesture old bugger soured my mood but the nice lady quickly restored my faith in humans all over the world!

I find Japan is so like that, things piss you off soooo fucking much but then something happens like you leave your wallet full of money and cards in a bar when you're blind drunk and go back the next day to find someone handed it in. Err, just an example there, I would never get that drunk and be that stupid...

I always bitch about people standing by and not helping here but there are times when people really do surprise me. Another example was the other day on the way home from kindy, there is a mother fucker of all bastard hills, it's not that long, but about 100 metres of pure hell. I'll try and take a photo today when I pick Ash up, but I'm sure it won't do it justice. It also is made much worse by Ash's odd 15kg lardy arse plus his kindy bags which have enough clothes and general shite in them to keep a small country going for a year.
I ALWAYS dread this hill, like every day, and the other day was particularly hot and sticky, as I was panting and puffing my gaijin arse up the hill, a guy from behind asked me if I needed him to push the bike. I was a little shocked at first and considered saying yes but then I remembered the lady who asked to hold a woman's baby and ended up breaking the baby's legs because she was mental and I had images of this perfectly normal good Samaritan wheeling Ash down the hill into the shrine at the bottom and then laughing hysteriacally.

So I politely declined and joked that I needed to get in shape any way and it was good training for me. But seriously, what a nice offer! Very far and few between unfortunately, but I guess that makes it extra special when it happens.


  1. nice offer indeed. now if only my husband could get round to offering something nice ...

  2. I hate the "dame" sign too. Seriously, if someone made an x with their hands towards someone in Australia who they thought didn`t speak English there would be riots.

    It always seems to be those old guys protecting the bike parking who are the worst offenders too.

    I think it is probably a good thing you said no to the guy- recently had a nutter shake the front of Noah`s pram and shout at him about the stockmarket. WTF?

  3. Pardon me while I de-lurk myself to say I'm rather enamoured with the ol' dame sign! It's more the sentiment than the sign itself that's frustrating. Especially when someone's telling you off for being the rude / stupid gaijin. But the sign, it certainly does come in handy - be it in an English class, or when telling off one's husband from across the room!