If I had to compare Japanese people to an animal, it would definitely be snakes. Some are misunderstood, they all try to blend in unnoticed in their environment, most are harmless, and some slither along the ground hunting for some poor innocent mouse only to consume it whole and then slink away soundlessly.
OK, not all people are snakes, but I swear to fucking God most Japanese people (even the ones near and dear to me) are always slinking away from something. Holding something back, or putting on a fake skin only to shed it later and leave you fucking not believing what kind of person you thought they were.
A classic example, is in my business. I have an English school and when you open your own school and are the main teacher, it's kind of hard to not take it personally when a student suddenly quits. In the beginning I really did take it personally, but I've not only learnt not to take it personally but I've learnt that it's such a cycle, you get just as many new students as ones that quit. So if students tell me they're quitting, I'm totally fine with it, happy for them, invite them to school parties even after they've stopped taking lessons, I'm all good with it. Problem is, students NEVER say they're quitting, they say "I think I'm going to take a bit of time off..." But that's cool, they're being nice. The snakes that fuck me off, are the ones that flat out lie because they don't want to feel bad (but maybe they justify their horrible behaviour by trying to save my feelings??). I've had two this year, kids. The first girl had been coming for about 2 years, seemed to be enjoying herself, and then her mum said that she didn't get on with one of the boys in her class.
Now group lessons mean stiff fucking biccies if you can't get on with the boy, deal with it. However, I like this girl, so I juggled around all the classes to change her from her 4 o clock lesson to 5 o clock where she would be with 3 nice girls. This was quite a fuck around though due to several admin factors, but I did it anyway. 2 WEEKS after she'd changed classes, her mum came up to me and mumbled "Ummm, M-chan won't be coming next month..." And I almost didn't get what she was saying, she couldn't look at me and scurried away so quickly I just had time to nod.
The next was even MORE sneaky, the little boy who M-chan couldn't get on with, H-kun. He had been coming for a year and was one of those kids who pisses everyone off because he's an arrogant, mouthy little shit, but he's smart so he can back up his arrogance. I actually quite liked him, his mum spoke quite good English too so we often chatted if she came to pick him up. So I get a mail out of the blue from H-kun's mum saying he'd be quitting due to a "family crisis" to which I sent back a concerned mail (half knowing it was bullshit) to which I got no reply. She then sent a jar of jam with H-kun for me on his last day and I sent her a thank you mail and also got no reply. And then H-kun, being mouthy like he is, said "Yeah I'm quitting to go to cram school."
So why the fuck wouldn't his mum just say that?! I don't really give a fuck what he's doing, just don't fucking lie about it to make yourself feel better?!
AND THEN I saw H-kun and his family last night on the way home from the local festival, and H-kun screamed out "CCOOORRRRRIIINNNNEEEE SSSEEENNNSSEEEEIIIII!!!!!" and ran over to me, his mum looked mortified and hurried along the road, I said Hello to her and she literally did a rushed bow and SCURRIED away. I could not fucking believe it, does she really think her business is that important to me?? There are a lot of obnoxious little H-kuns to take his place, she needn't worry...
And even my Japanese friends, I can never completely trust them, because they're always just that little bit sneaky. I feel like a big awkward blond bear in a field of snakes sometimes.