Thursday 18 July 2013

Nicer things

I haven't talked to dog fucker since our fight, I haven't even really seen her since she doesn't leave the house, although I had to talk to MIL and when I went in to the house she started slamming things around in obvious anger and then slammed the front door shut that I'd left a bit open saying "HIDOI!" So she's looking for a fight, but I'm not going to give it to her for the sake of it, if she starts I'll go, but until then, ignore city.

So this morning, I was at the supermarket at 9am sharp as I am every day (especially in summer). I got my basket full of housewifely goodness to prepare dinner with and lined up behind an old man at the register. Now when you go to the supermarket every day at the same time you get to know the regulars, but this guy I'd never seen before, and as soon as he spied me, I knew he was the type who would definitely say something to me purely because I'm foreign. I kind of like these old men though, they're rarely nasty and at worst annoying.

He didn't look homeless, but he wasn't a generic old man either, for a start he was buying things at the supermarket himself which means more than likely he wasn't married. His purchases were quite telling too, he was buying a 6 pack of beer and 4 ice creams. Gossip session with his buddies in the park or just getting tanked on his own, whatever, they were quality buys for this time of year!

So he said to the register lady "Ooooo this girl is more Japanese than me!!" I'm not quite sure what he meant by it, but he had a big grin on his face so I grinned back and said, "Yup, that's actually probably true!" He then made chit chat with the register lady about how 'sugoi' it was that I was... here..? I'm not quite sure and the register lady was pretty embarrassed but trying to be polite.

So it got to paying time and she said the price and he said "Hmmm I wonder if I have it...?" and emptied his pockets with all his change. He came up short and said, "Take one of the ice creams off!" He didn't seem at all embarrassed (he really wasn't that Japanese) and my first reaction was to just put the 25 yen for him, because really, it's 25 fucking yen. But I've been in Japan way too long because I totally hesitated, thoughts flashed through my head of him getting angry at me for assuming he was poor or him going and killin himself after losing face in front of everyone. But then I just put the money there while the register lady was all "Ohhh nooo madam, you don't have to...!" But she trailed off then realising she should just stay out of it. I glanced up at the old man and he was all teary eyed!! I don't know if he was having a rough time of it, or if he was just surprised, but he said in a cracked voice to the register lady, "See I told you she was a good person!" to which the horribly uncomfortable register lady replied, "Oh yes.. foreigners...." in her traily-off way.

As he left he gave me a big bow and in English, "Sankyou!"

Living in Japan as a foreigner can be awful sometimes, full of segregation, uneasiness and the desperate need to fit in. But sometimes I'm glad I'm foreign and I'm here.


  1. I love stories like that. My friend and I got lost on one of the islands near here the other day, because I suck at directions and promised my friend it was a small island (she is new here, and doesn't speak much Japanese yet, so put me in charge, rookie error!). A total stranger got her daughter to drive us to the festival we were going to, and was just so sweet! It was a stinking hot day, and we'd been merrily walking for hours. I was just so touched, but we agreed we wouldn't have been offered a lift if we weren't foreign, and we wouldn't have accepted if we were anywhere else in the world!

  2. Who knows, maybe the old guy had 4 grandkids and all hell would've erupted if he'd come home with 4 icecreams! Although if that was the case, he could've put the beer back...

  3. "I haven't talked to dog fucker since our fight..."

    Every cloud has a sliver lining, eh?

    Anyway, random acts of human kindness. Good job. Been a while since I've been subject to any, more's the pity, but then I've barely left the groove I've worn between home and work for the last year or so. Actually, don't talk to me about the outside world and how it can be nice, at least if I think it's an unremitting hell hole I don't worry about missing out... ;)