Thursday, August 28, 2008

Not from around here

As I was returning late this evening from some rather nasty business in a small, nearly deserted town called Fuchinobe, I was shocked by a very unusual young fellow who got on the train at Shin-Yokohama.

I had just gotten out of my seat because I knew that there would be a sardine-packing event at Shin-Yokohama station as 432,551 people would try to fit into each car. Since I needed to get off at the next station after Shin-Yokohama, I had to be somewhere near the exit and not sitting in my seat to be blocked in for the next 10 stations.

I got to the front of the train against the wall just as the insane rush started. I was somewhat fortunate this evening as I was able to become involved in a very intimate threesome between a guy and his girlfriend. Although this was not ideal, it was better than being caught between a couple of semi-sober, coughing, cigarette smoking, garlic breathing, perspiring, barcode-headed old geezers.

Then something very, very weird happened. A young guy whom I assumed to be Japanese--I mean he fit my vision of a stereotypical native Japanese, as unreliable as that has proven to be--began pushing his way on just like everyone else. Then he began to repeatedly say something so out of place and unusual that it immediately attracted my attention. There are signs on the train which ask us to report any suspicious or unclaimed people, but what could I do at the time? I was involved in a menage a trois.

It was not only that the weirdo was saying it, but that he was saying it in a very polite way: "Moshiwakegozaimasen" "Moshiwakegozaimasen." He must have said it 4 or 5 times. I can only assume that he is a new guy here. Cannot be from Tokyo. Maybe not even from Japan. These words are never uttered in this type of situation. Oh, occasionally I hear a "sumimasen" or "gomen nasai." but even that is rare. This is the first time that I have ever heard anyone excuse themselves in such polite language on a train. Even more unbelievable, he appeared to really mean it.

My god, what is this country coming to? Apologizing for pushing and shoving on a train! What's next? Using a handkerchief or tissue when one has a runny nose?

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