Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Disgusted

There are lots of stereotypes about Japan, some of them more true than others. But the stereotype that Japanese people are polite, is not true. They may appear polite for things that they choose to show an image of being polite with, but on a basic level, they aren't. I already knew this, but it was demonstrated to me today on the most clear, basic, human level of manners there is.

Here's the scene: crowded shopping centre in Osaka, 10th floor. I'd waited patiently for at least 5 minutes at the doors of the disabled elevator. Let me clarify what qualifies you to ride the disabled elevator; you are in a wheelchair, have a physical disability, have a stroller and therefore can't ride the escalators safely, you are pregnant, or you have some other kind of physical disability that makes walking difficult. This is all written in Japanese, however there are also little cute pictures so any fucktard can work it out.

Now personally, if I'm by myself (and not heavily pregnant) I never ride the disabled elevators or sit on the seats on the train. It's just the way I was brought up, however I don't have a problem with people who aren't disabled using these facilities, provided there is enough space for people who really need to use them and they vacate if someone needs to use them. Is this not common sense?

So anyway, I got on the elevator and was crammed in with at least 10 other people who appeared to have no physical disabilities. There was also one other lady who had a stroller. It was a tight squeeze and my clearly swollen belly was grinding into the side railing, but it's just an elevator ride, I was fine. The elevator made its way down and the bell cheerily dinged and the doors slid open on the 9th floor with a sea of hopeful faces wanting to see some space for them. After their faces dropped at the realization that there was no chance of them squeezing in, the doors closed again and we began to go down again. The doors once again opened at the 8th floor and the only person waiting was a man in a wheelchair.

He smiled and said "oh it's all full!" as the doors started to slide closed and I just though " ummm what the fuck is going on here!?" this is when I stretched my long gaijin arms and smacked the 'open' button while saying (in Japanese ) "hang on, this is a disabled elevator!" I took Ash out with my finger still on the open button and told the man in the wheelchair to get on the elevator. Now this is where I expected someone to get off so we could get back on, and after it became apparent that nobody was, I saw fucking red. I saw more than red, I was filled with hatred and rage for the people on that elevator. Being pregnant doesn't help these situations I'm sure.
The man in the wheelchair was still saying thank you to me, but apart from that, every person on that elevator was looking at their fucking feet like slimy fucking cunts.

This is what I said (again in Japanese)

Is nobody going to get off?

Really...?

Can nobody read that sign in Japanese....? No? Only me?...

REALLY?! The only person who is willing together off this elevator is the one who is 8 months pregnant?! Nobody is ashamed of this?!

A woman actually had the fucking nerve to bow her ugly cunt of a head in something that she must have thought was an apology! I wish I'd smacked her hard enough to show her how much she should really bow. And as the doors closed, I was shaking my head and said in English "you slimy cunts"

This isn't the first time this has happened, in Osaka it is a frequent occurrence and I can't stand it. I don't want to live here with these people who spout filth about how polite they are and that they hate being lumped together with the rest of Asia, that Chinese people have no manners. Fuck it maybe they don't have good manners ,but at least they don't go around pretending to be something they're not.

I can't describe how angry this has made me, I don't want to live here anymore and before anyone says it, I know there are people like this in any place, but I think the thing that annoys me about it SO much in Japan, is the fact that these people are breaking a rule. Japanese people are ALL about the fucking rules in every other situation, but when it comes to the human decency of getting of your lazy arse and walking down an escalator to let someone who is less capable than you use a fucking elevator, nope, no following the rules here! I just don't get it!!!!


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

63 comments:

  1. Ive seen this exact same situation MANY a time in Japan and various variations of it! (Countless times actually) Ive also been enraged by it too - I think because ESPECIALLY how Japanese people are always tooting their horns about how they are so polite (as you said) but when in actual fact the general population are extremely selfish and inconsiderate/rude. They lap it up when foreigners tell them 'Japanese people are so polite', yet all of us long term residents know that its actually totally false (visitors to Japan usually mistake the good customer service here as a sign that the general population must be like that too).
    It can get really frustrating. I totally understand and sympathize with how you feel. Your post is a mirror image of what Ive encountered during my pregnancies here also.
    Totally sympathize babe!!!

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  2. Exactly. Aussies can be really rude and ill mannered but we don't go around pretending otherwise. Actually, living in the outer suburbs of Melbourne with all the bogans, I saw more people jump up to offer their seats or help with prams etc.

    Also, if Japanese ppl are so polite, why do they always pick their noses in public?

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    1. Yeah, or stuff tissue paper up their noses to mop up snot! Like wtf is that about. Or clean their ears with their reusable earpick at their desks. Yeah, so polite.

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  3. I totally sympathize with how you feel - Ive seen the exact SAME things here myself (or variations of it) and it really enrages me too - I think especially because the Japanese people ARE always tooting their horns about how polite they are and they LAP IT UP when foreigners reinforce this thought , yet all us long term foreign residents know that in actual fact the general population here are extremely rude and selfish in these kind of situations. Visitors to Japan see the high quality customer service here and mistake it that Japanese people as a whole are like that too when we know that's not the case.
    Ive been involved in situations exactly like what you went through many, many a time during my pregnancies here in Japan and totally sympathize with how you feel.
    Totally understand babe!!!!

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  4. I read this on FB this morning and I was appalled but not surprised. Happened to me SO many times in Kags and what always annoyed me is that it invariably happened in a place where there were other lifts, people were just too lazy to go to them.I can't believe that no-one moved even after you shamed them. What a bunch of twats.

    People in London can be quite "blind" when it comes to pregnant women/women with buggies etc, especially when it comes to giving up seats on the tube but I have NEVER seen anyone completely ignore someone in a wheelchair needing to get in a lift/in need of help in some way. You regularly see random people stop and offer to guide the blind/sigh-impaired people wandering around the tube/train stations with their canes. Whenever I see that kind of thing it reminds me why I am happy to be here and not in Japan.

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    1. I'd never give my seat up to small kids or mothers with kids, cos they are polluting the planet with disposable diapers and kids suck on the whole, noisy fcking gits, but I would give up my seat for a disabled person. ;) Thai whiskey makes me speak more of my mind than usual. ;) The lifeboat rules on the Titanic were all wrong.

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    2. Haha as a mother I'm very appreciative when people give up a seat for having small kids, but I agree, having kids is not the same as being disabled!
      Although the priority seats on the train, the sign specifically says "people with small children" and again, I don't get how Japanese people chose to ignore this rule but follow every other. If its a rule, fucking follow them all or don't follow any in my opinion!

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    3. Hey 222, how about us mothers who use reusable diapers?

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  5. Good on you for having a damn go at them, most of us would have thought it but not had the bollocks to say anything. I can't believe not one person stepped out!!

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  6. Amen.

    It hacks me off if we're out with the buggy and the lift's full of people who are just too lazy to use the escalators. Not the stairs, the escalators.

    Even then, it was our choice to have a kid, and all the inconvenience that entails. I could take him out of the chair and carry them both down the stairs myself if it was that urgent. No choice if you're in a wheelchair. Good on you for giving them an earful.

    Politeness only matters if you're part of the 'in' group, the size of which fluctuates according to how xenophobic or selfish people are feeling at any given time. I'm glad you don't get it. Start to worry when you do.

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  7. Not surprised. While my wife was pregnant, she had almost no success in getting a priority seat. We now have a little 3 month old daughter with a stroller, and someone always gives up their seat. It seems as if pregnant women are never given a seat on the train. I've seen this time and time again. Just yesterday, though, there were 8 occupied priority seats in the train, 6 were young people, 2 were elderly. Who gave up their seat for my wife? The old man. Not one young person had the decency to give up their seat. It is disgusting, isn't it?

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  8. I have to laugh that it is this post is getting me to de-lurk and comment but I agree with you completely! The whole 'Japan is so polite, so kind' thing really starts to grate once you've had the chance to witness (usually) old people pushing in in line, people ignoring women struggling with prams and of course wheelchairs. I once found myself standing up for one half of an old couple on the train while the young guy sitting next to me tried to pretend that the other half didn't need his seat too. When the couple thanked me I was so pissed off that I ended up saying 'that's ok, and this kind young man here is going to stand up for you too, aren't you oniisan'! He was so shocked that he ended up leaping to his feet immediately!

    I don't have any kids yet but I'm fairly certain that if/when I find myself pregnant in Tokyo I will be yelling my way into some priority seats as needed, having learned from a friend of mine with early onset arthritis who used to 'accidentally' whack people on the legs with her crutch when they didn't stand up for her on the train.

    And I agree with Kathryn, I see more people being genuinly helpful and friendly when I'm back in Australia than I ever do here, and from your post today I see that it isn't just a Tokyo thing to be cold an uncaring as people often claim.

    Love your blog by the way!

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  9. I encountered so many helpful people while I was in the UK lugging my suitcase all over the place Midori. And I too thought that it wouldn't happen in Japan. Plenty of very good things do happen here though.

    I can't believe that nobody moved when you called them out Corrine. I think I would have taken it a step further and told people to get off. In fact I probably would have stayed in the lift, kept my finger on the open doors button and called out for those who were able to walk normally to get off!

    You are well within your rights to be pissed. The number of people that sit on trains when a 70 year old is standing never fails to astound me.

    Deb

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  10. Good on you! Sometimes it's hard to do the right thing in the midst of a mob.
    One of my students who had lived in England for a bit said a similar thing, about his own country folk being very rude. Not sure if it was living overseas that opened his eyes to what real politeness is, but I suspect so. A lot of Japanese people who have never travelled probably can't/don't distinguish between formalities and true courtesy.

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  11. Good for you! The whole life thing annoys me. Half the time, it's faster on the escalator anyway because you don't waste hours faffing about people getting in and out of the life and manouevering to fit everyone in. Grrr

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  12. Yep, yep, yep, I know the scenario and good on you to take a stand, those people deserved to hear it... I just hope some of them had the decency to feel ashamed (but that might be a futile wish...)

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  13. Finally a kindred spirit! haha My (Japanese) husband just doesn't understand why I get so upset about the exact same thing after we moved to Tokyo. One time when I was coming home, I saw a young man who was obviously very upset and I'm pretty sure had some level of mental retardation(My cousin has Aspergers syndrome, so I'm quite familiar), and was standing by the doors kicking them a bit and pacing around. I wanted to help him but my language level is so low, I figured that would do more harm than good. So when I got off at my station, I went straight to the attendant to ask if someone would help that man and you know what he told me? "Oh, we've been told about...him. The nuisance." He even had the gall to use "meiwaku" to describe the young man. I damn near felt all my blood boiling.

    I'm glad to hear I'm not alone in speaking out! Even if it's just in English (for me haha).

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  14. Fucking awesome rant, girl! I totally concur with you and would have done the same thing. You go girl!! And yes, I agree, at least the Chinese don't pretend to be something they are not.

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  15. De-lurking from Tokyo. I know exactly where you're coming from, 40wks preggers today and what I had to do to get a priority seat sometimes...

    Three incidents spring to mind: (1) About two weeks ago I whacked a JHS student hard on the legs as he and a mate were sprawled over three seats and I really needed to sit. (2) A 20-something woman once pushed me out of the way so she could sit in the priority seat... to apply her makeup. I ended up getting another seat, but gave her an earful when I arrived at my stop and said she was probably a parasite single. But my worst episode was similar to yours, but I wasn't pregnant at the time. (3) A blind man (non-J, FWIW) got on the train and no-one sitting in the priority seats would get up for him. Some people had no right being there. I ended up shaming a young guy to give the man his seat, and was glad the blind guy couldn't understand Japanese. I really let loose I was so incensed.

    Japan's being banging on about kizuna since March 11 but generally speaking, I'm yet to witness much of this when it comes to decency and manners on the trains, in lifts, etc. It could be because I'm older, but I've been here on and off for years and this problem is getting worse.

    On a more positive note, love your blog.

    From another Aussie gal with a J-husband.

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  16. Sad that they don't share decent values and display some consideration that come naturally to normal people. This is what happens when it's rules and not empathy or actual kindness that shape the people. Cos when no ones looking, they show you their true colors and it can be downright ugly...in this case, they were all guilty of being lazy and inconsiderate bastards, so they changed the rules - selfish bastards are in, kind decent pregnant lady and child are out ...literally :( When these things happen, I just resolve to bring up my kids to be nothing like that. Seen similar things happen too many times to bother wasting my energy on getting upset or angry. Take care and don't get too upset if you can help it. They're not worth your energy.
    May.

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  17. そりゃ、Civility の違いで、あたりまえでしょ。
    highly civilised 外人様の国々と Japanistan が違うなんて常識でしょ。僕らJappersも外人様の国に行けば、財布なんか落としても全然心配しないもんね。必ず戻ってくるから。

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    1. A co-worker dropped her purse in a shopping centre in Aomori-shi. (She had it on her way in, then realised she didn't have it once inside.) It had months of savings that she'd just withdrawn from the bank, because she was about to leave the country.) Nobody returned it. Shall we pretend it was another 外人様 who pocketed it? Soooo many of those swarming round Aomori.
      There are dickheads in every country, as I think has been mentioned many times, but the point is, a lot of Japanese people like to think they're superior to the barbarian outsiders. That's what's so frustrating to people who've lived here a long time.

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    2. Yeah it's funny too how this country pretends to be superior but at the me time have this whole victim complex...which they loooove to remind us gaijin-samas about.
      However, judging by the amount of implied sarcasm and words like japanistan etc, thrown in I would venture a guess that this is a fellow gaijin sama pretending to be Japanese tho.

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    3. Anon has a point. Personal anecdotes are not nearly as telling as general truths. There are many good things about living here. There is a cultural difference thing going on here. As distasteful as that may sound. Deb

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  18. In the UK things like this happen alot too and I always get pissed off whenever riding the bus but I went to Vietnam for a month to visit family with my son (who was 14months old at the time and in stroller) and the same signs on the lift in the shopping centre too here, and also this shopping centre had only 3 floors and escalators, I was first waiting for the lift then when it came aload of other people had come to wait (NONE had stroller or wheelchair), then when it open all the people who got there after me even were pushing me out of the way to get on, omggg I was so fucking pissed off.

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  19. Wow, most people would be embarrassed if they were in a similar position as those tards looking away. I pretend not to hear people when I dont want to do something, but if somebody preggo or in a wheelchair wanted to get by me or use something that they need more than I do, then I step out of the way and wave them by.

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  20. I've had a lot of friends with disabilities and I think it's so important to treat the disabled as the human beings they are. Good on you for making room for that man and telling the people on the lift off. That meiwaku thing is very rude in my opinion. I also find it annoying with the whole superiority complex thing - all of the people in my country are the politest and all of them are the smartest and all of them are the healthiest. It kinda puts down people from other countries as well as the people from own country who don't match the stereotype.

    On the other hand, my Ex Japanese Boyfriend, I guess, could be considered disabled. He looked very healthy and buff but as a muscle in his back had been torn and scarred he couldn't seem to walk more than 15 minutes and would be in a lot of pain just with a 20 min bus ride. He'd get mean looks by some in the GC when he sat in the disabled seat even though he was kinda disabled and no one else needed it... Thought I'd put that out there...sometimes it's hard to tell if someone is disabled.

    I know that some highschools in Japan do encourage students to stand up on the trains for other people, though. Both of mine did. On a side note, the school shoes are uncomfortable and eat into the skin when you walk or stand. I'd have blood in the bottom of my socks each day so I can empathise with why some students would want to sit down.

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  21. @ Anonymous

    I guess you didn't like this post so much, hey???
    Fair enough. I prob wouldn't be too happy if this was written about me.

    I don't like it how you use the word Gaijin sama though. It sounds condescending...

    ~

    I get your point about how being civilized/polite is a different thing in different countries...but I think courtesy has a different meaning. It's more about using common sense and empathy to be kind to fellow human beings ~ including those who are disabled. Of course, it's a courtesy to return someone's wallet if they've left it behind too.

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  22. Great post but it kinda contradicts your previous post about glorifying the whole gaman and sho ga nai mentality in this country

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    1. This irony is not lost! I was thinking about it as I wrote this post yesterday, I haven't and probably never will be able to gaman to the point where I could be up to the j-levels! This is a good thing I guess, I'm willing to adapt but things like this will never be ok with me!

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  23. If (most not all! :) ) Japanese people weren't so stuck up their own arses with how superior they are to other Asian countries about how civilized they are it wouldn't make me so angry. I can guarantee that any Japanese person who I talked to about this would react with "oh I'm sorry, I'm so ashamed to be Japanese! Manners are getting worse, terrible!" but when actually put in that situation, who knows how they would react, it's all about the image but actions speak louder than words and the fact that not one person got off that elevator showed me a good enough sample to have the right to generalize.

    We went to yakiniku the other night and had a long wait ahead of us, the seats available were all full and I stood for about 5 minutes before a woman offered me her seat, she was one of about 20 people who could have, so all hope is not lost, but this was in the semi-inaka, the big cities are all about lost I'm afraid.

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    1. Most Japanese people I know (in Tokyo), would say it's because they are from Osaka. It seems to be the hierarchy - someone is being rude = they must be Chinese or Korean. If not, they are from Osaka.

      On the positive side, a blind man got on my train the other day and about 5 people jumped up straightaway to offer him a seat.

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  24. Hmm, I get the feeling that the anon in japanese above isn't even a Japanese person. I'm willing to bet he/she is just another apologist japanophile.

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  25. Yeah, my Okasan was a special person like that. Just geniunely kind <3

    Hopefully the people in the elevator learnt something from you and will accomodate a person in a wheel chair next time.

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  26. I think every culture has these kinds of failings - in the sense that they have them very badly in some respects.

    I completely agree that the rudeness in Japan can be very hypocritical. Hell, it extends to the whole vicious capitalist boxing-in of everyone but the filthy rich while everyone somehow keeps pretending they're all...'middle class'.

    But, and for me as a nonwhite this is a big but, on balance, I take these failings over those in my own country and other Western countries like it. I don't blame you guys for not noticing in that you're white so it simply doesn't target you - but ugly, outright, brutal racism is something that is increasingly common. It's easy not to notice when you;re white how scary the EDL makes life for people who aren't. And NZ...man, when I lived in Christchurch it was horrif, rank, horrid. 'Chink' catcalls from little kids - kids! Degrading beyond belief...And in my native Canada, where I sell things on Kijiji as a part-time job...I get called a Chink and other nasty epithets by random people when I politely refuse their lowballing offers.

    See, when I lived in Japan, in Tokyo and then the inaka of all inakas in Aomori, these things didn't exist. The pettiness and rudeness and outright 'stupid racism', sure. But hostile, make-you-feel-unsafe bigotry? No. Japanese people never give pregnant women seats. Aussies chucked rocks at schoolbuses after 9/11.

    Not that I'm saying this applies to you...if you're white Oz/NZ/UK et al are great places to be, and I don't blame anyone for being white and enjoying life in white countries. But, do know that when it comes to minorities, Japan just feels more safe.

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    1. Christchurch is my home town and I completely understand what you're saying. I often felt genuinely worried about my Japanese husband when we lived there. In reality he never really had much bother ... someone flipped him the bird while he was waiting at a bus stop once and I think someone else yelled "go home" at him. It would be true to say that I have copped more flak here than he did in NZ. But I have never felt unsafe and I often felt that on his behalf! Christchurch is very white and pretty backwards! Deb

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    2. Murasaki beauty berry2 May 2012 at 20:05

      That kind of thing pissed me off soooo much living in Japan - I was pregnant there too. One of the reasons I'm hesitant to move back, because it makes my blood boil. However, I'm in Australia and manners in public are shocking. Disgusting! I guess it happens everywhere. A little bit unrelated, but today two of my Brazilian uni students were on the bus and were speaking Portuguese to each other. An elderly lady (around 75-ish, they said)told them to either "Speak English or fuck off back to where you came from". Charming.

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    3. Replying to Ame Otoko's comment about kids in NZ catcalling, I'm a white woman in Japan and I get racial catcalls by kids here quite frequently.

      Separate from the usual catcalls Ive also had kids say 'kowai! gaijin!' occasionally, which I think is extremely rude (Ive got 2 half kids of my own and its been said to me by total randoms when my kids have been there) and when Ive been by myself .
      Extremely racist, rude and degrading beyond belief.

      Japanese kids have also told me my blue eyes are 'kowai'. Extremely racist and rude I think.
      What do they want me to do? Wear brown contact lenses?


      I also have a half girl friend who grew up in inaka Japan. The other kids used to throw rocks at her on her way to school. This is just the tip of the iceberg of stories that I've got about racial bullying in Japan.

      Mayby if your Asian and living in Japan you don't get it so much but violent bullying and frequent racial verbal abuse DOES obviously happen in Japan (just as what can happen in Auz or NZ or Canada).

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    4. I'm an American-born female of Asian persuasion, and perhaps I understand what Ame Otoko is talking about. When I was in Japan, I was part of the majority for the first time in my life. People didn't make assumptions based upon my appearance as some do here in the US ("Where do you come from? When did youlearn to speak English?). Nor did I worry that someone would try to injure me based solely upon my looks (Believe me, it's not fun having a knife thrown at you and being told to "go back home"). So perhaps it is the lot of the "minority" to have to deal with ignorance. But in any case, people should MOVE for the elderly and diabled!

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    5. @ Anonymous from 3 May

      If all you get are 'kowai' comments from clueless children unused to other races.....you really have nothing to complain about. They are not being outright bigoted and *hateful* as they have - and this is vital - mimicked from their parents. I'm sorry for the rocks thrown at your friend, but you and I both know this is atypical, as is the 'violent' racism you claim is so common. No, it really isn't.

      This is about the difference between hatred and blithe ignorance (for children) and 'stupid' racism *adults. Outright bigotry and these mass movements of the population to the far-right screaming 'Evil Immigrants! Evil Muuzzzlims!' en masse _simply doe snot exist in Japan.

      You don't understand - Japan is an oasis in this sense. It's a world apart. Give me stupid petty rudeness and inconsideration anyday over Stephen Harper, Drones R' Us Obama, the EDL/BNP, Geert Wilders, Abu Hamzah, the other one-hooked idiot - Japan is another planet, yo.

      Which brings me to another point - the myth of Japan being group-tastic, and the West individualist. It's the othetr way round. In Japan everyone keeps to themselves and is selfishly individual. It's in the West where dangerous groupthink leading to death and murder and war happens. Not Japan.

      Japan anyday please, petty evil elevator bastards and all. You know, there's a reason why Asian independence leaders like Sun Yat Sen lived in Japan, not the West. Because no one was trying to kill them for their slanted eyes or brown skin in Japan.

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  27. Good on you for taking a stand! More of us need to call people out on this kind of bad behavior.

    My J husband has made it his mission to do just that but it actually has me worried he is going to get stabbed or something one day...! One valuable realization he had when I was pregnant and could never get a seat was this though:

    If you really want someone to give up their seat for you, hanging out by the priority seats is pointless. They are filled with people who either deserve to sit there or are losers who pretend to be asleep, etc. and would NEVER give up their seat for anyone. You are much more likely to get a seat if you go and stand in front of the normal people sitting in the normal seats!!! I had much more luck once we realized this!

    Sarah

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  28. I definitely believe there are cultural differences when it comes to manners and politeness. I read this post http://thenomadsland.tumblr.com/post/13853071890/on-kindess-and-culture-a-long-winded-ramble a while back and I agree with her. There are certain things that we expect from people.
    Jen (Osaka)

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  29. Delurking here because this is such an interesting post! I understand the frustration and the disgust you're describing about the hypocrisy you've experienced. I think it particularly leaves a nasty feeling because it's kind of like the honne and tatemae culture where the behavior is of duty rather than genuine kindness and the gap between honne/tatemae can be huuuuge; the elevator thing is totally the honne of everyone on the elevator without saying a word! "Me First, because I'm more deserving than the disabled and elderly!" or "Why should I give up my rightful spot? My mom/neighbor/husband's coworker/boss isn't here..." I felt your post is about the strange acceptance of this warped hear-no-evil-see-no-evil-speak-no-evil-so-I-did-no-harm culture. But like others, I think this type of hypocrisy exists in every culture regardless of the level of civility.

    As an American, I would compare it to the way Americans tout "equality." We are proud of equality, yet there are many who can't stand seeing a multi-racial, black President. We talk about the importance of equality, yet when a woman runs for Presidential candidacy, they are somehow labeled as a "witch" or not as smart as the "Big Boys."

    Can't win all the time, but we can only change ignorance one action at a time. It's wonderful your little babies have a courageous mom to learn from. I hope your courage and initiative in doing the right thing would catch on like "paying it forward." Good luck! - Amy

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  30. I wish I was able to express myself in Japanese like that. I always come across choppy and ignorant (when I get angry I can't translate my thoughts well). But I have backed men off of the elevator pretending I was getting off for the person who needs it (I was pregnant at the time, not being lazy). Heck I kept ramming a 20 something girl with my gigantic stroller until she got off the elevator so I could fit.

    Well done for showing Ash how to be polite (and to fight) :)

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  31. I've heard that Japanese people are high in etiquette but have zero curtsey. The distinction is important. One means good customer service, but the other one means people bashing into you all the time to get what they want.

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    1. 頑張って,maybe soon your comprehension will be good enough to understand what people are really trying to say here.

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    2. Swear to god...I had a comment but you are sitting right above the comment box and seeing an anonymous person vomiting up some passive aggressive crap is nauseating. You get what "everyone is trying to say here"....really?

      **polite golf clap for the fucking mind reader over here**

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    3. I had a bad taste in my mouth as I was posting that comment, but Sarcastic Bitch was more the tone I was aiming for.
      I've already taken up too much space on this comment thread, but, just to be clear, the part I think I get is the White Hot Rage bit. When I've felt it back home in Australia (with obnoxious Australians, of whom there are many, many), I've usually had it out with someone on the spot, which I think is generally healthier than suppressing the feeling and letting it fester.
      I didn't want to post a negative comment on the Gaman post, and I think someone already mentioned this, but maybe too much Gaman-ing is what makes people snap in spectacular ways.
      I'll stop taking the bait and back away from the computer so that I don't piss off anybody else now.
      Corinne, your blog is an excellent read, and the links to other blogs that tell when they're updated is really good. Thanks!

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  32. You know what gets me most about your post and others' is that everyone has gotten themselves in a huge twist over their own expectations about what the 'rules' are in this country and how Japanese 'should' be based on myths. Anyone who lives here long enough usually gets that the perceived social harmony is all for 'face' and nothing more, which means it's a waste of time and energy to shake fists, and try to 'shame' people for not living up to some construction, because it simply comes to nothing. Support your right to blog about it, tho, and your writing style is entertaining and refreshing.

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    1. My beef isn't with the expectations though, it's with the fact that I'm forced to follow every other rule in this country, and I make a special effort to try and do that, so if I follow the rules I only expect others to do the same. Plus I feel if this awful trend of bad manners isn't spoken about it will never change, they may or may not remember the big angry gaijin, but I had to say my piece if for nobody but myself.

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    2. It was a disabled lift. No one got off for you or the disabled man who needed to use the lift. You had the right to say something.

      I think you get strung with some annoying people though. Like my Ex Boyfriend kept telling me about how Japanese Women all do this and that. I knew it was rubbish because I've lived with six families of Japanese Women all up. Some people use culture to get other people to do what they like.

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    3. I can only imagine how hard it is to stomach the rule-following irony while 8 months pregnant. Your actions are admirable, to say the least.

      Pictures are a lovely way of sharing those 'forever moments' in life with others - at least, that's kind of the thought behind the Ultimate Parking Challenge (a blog). If you ever are tempted to visit Osaka again, before your delivery, a crowded elevator photo with a wheelchair in front would be extra special.

      Either way, thanks for putting this post up.

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    4. Yes, copywrite, she had a right to say it. but was it effective? Did it accomplish anything other than wheel spinning and aggro? No. My theory is this is where you either have to gain more fluency in the art of shaming others (figure out how to play that game, lol), or just decide it's not worth it and gaman.

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  33. I disagree that Japanese Culture is all face. There are people who do nice things just for the sake of it. And, I disagree that Australians are all more courteous. Some woman spat in my hair and told me to go back to where I came from in Darwin (I was born in Darwin so that's going to be a bit tricky). I get that a bit because people look at me and think I'm part Asian or French or whatever else. But, I think that women on the bus was a bit Scitzophrenic.

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    1. Ha ha copywrite - Darwin is nutso central, as I've found out in the three years that I've been living here. Followed closely by Brisbane. Anyhoo. I will just say that i agree with you about Australians. In the three years I've been living in the country again, I'm in shock about how rude they are. And they are baby haters. They love their own kids but hate everyone else's. You take a kid to a restaurant, it's like pulling teeth to even get a highchair. Then you will be studiously ignored. If you ask for a little consideration because you have a toddler and a baby, you are sneered at and accused of being 'entitled'. Heck there are people who think that parents are 'entitled' because they choose to take a kid to a cafe for a meal! It's a horrible insidious culture here. The grass is definitely not greener. Every country I've been to - whether in Europe, Asia - and even the UK - people are far more accommodating of children than they are in Australia.

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  34. Maybe you expect too much out of people? When I visit a foreign country, as long as the people there don't scam me out of too much money, I don't get extorted by the police, and I don't get physically attacked for being a foreigner I would consider the people there to be nice.

    Basically as long as there's no physical damage, and the financial damage isn't too bad, where's the harm? (I know, I have such low standards, I'm happy to just be alive and have all my kidneys :-)

    Japan is becoming a more individualist society, which means they will lose social solidarity. The ultimate endpoint of this is Wall Street mentality, which is pretty frightening. You end up with a society where rules are not to be followed, but gamed. Screwing over other people who are not in a position to retaliate is a sport. BTW, be thankful you are in Japan and the group of teen girls you yelled at didn't attack you. Nothing creates group bonding better than attacking helpless outsiders. As a pregnant foreign woman you would be the perfect victim of a group beating.

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  35. I've spent a cumulative total of about 7 weeks of my life in Japan (over three separate trips) and even I noticed this in Tokyo on my last trip.. We had a stroller and the concierge lady in the elevator didn't tell any of the lazy idiots to get off the elevator to let us on to shop. Drove me FUCKING NUTS. I think I may have muttered obscenities at them in english. If it's any consolation, it also happens all the time in Oz (when I'm in a real city with real shops that are big enough to warrant an elevator) and also happened all the time in Singapore on our recent trip there. Honestly I don't know why people bother - it's quicker to go up the escalator than to find the elevator, wait for it, and then wait through every level to get to the one you want!

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  36. Well, I've never been pregnant (male), but I have gotten up so often while others won't. Some will: school-age children often, or middle-aged women sometimes. 'Men' (notice quotation marks) won't even when the woman they are with has gotten up. How many times have I seen a guy take a seat leaving his female partner none, or cycle into the wind with her in the lead, or let her carry more packages than him, etc.? These aren't men.

    Anyway, as I put it: the Japanese are mannered, not polite - they ain't the same thing.

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    1. Well said last sentence.

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  37. My J-wife was saying shit in Japanese about the Toronto Caribbean neighbourhood we were taking transit through, until I pointed out to her that every time an older or pregnant woman had got on some young man had got right out of his seat, and then I asked her what would happen in Tokyo.

    She looked at the floor.

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  38. Ἀντισθένης, I used to think the pictures like these http://www32.atpages.jp/bobart066/womenonly.html
    reflects the actual reality in the land of supreme sun goddess Amaterasu, where women's life expectancy is so long (possibly by far the longest in the world). Doesn't your japanese wife take away ALL your earnings (complete, unconditional control of purse strings) and live like a lady of leisure ?

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  39. i experience the same.
    everyday on the train on my way to osaka-shi.
    obviously pregnant women, 90 y.o. people standing in front of the handicapped seats in the crowded train, where healthy, young men are sitting.

    nobody ever stands up. they just ognore the elderly or pregannt person completely by staring on their keitais, although they saw them stnadin in front of them.

    everytime it was JUST me who stood up (from a non-handicapped, normal seat) and offered my seat to them. and everytime they said arigatou gozaimasu, i could see the shame in the people`s faces around me. and i was perfectly lucky in this moment!

    andre

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