Communication in Japan Weblog

{December 8, 2008}   Back to Train Experiences!

So over the weekend, as I was going back to Hirakatashi, my friend and I encountered drunking businessmen (I guess they just got back from a nomikai – they still wore their business suits…).  Well, it was late at night, and we were on the JR line, so there were seats.  It was just two of us and we had a four-seater seat thingy (we took the pair of seats at the end, but then the guy on the other side of us went and flip the seat thingy so that an extra pair of seats faced us, so then we have a four-seater…)… In the next stop, these two drunken businessmen came in.  We didn’t realize they were drunk until we smell the alcohol on their breath when they asked if they could sit there (or something like that… it was in Japanese, and they were slurring… they just plopped down anyway, so I guess our responses doesn’t matter…).

It was kind of a funny situation to observe.  Both of them were slouching, and talking in a ‘hush hush’ way.  (We can still hear their conversation even if we don’t understand, and the alcohol on their breath is so strong…) The guy sitting directly in front of me then stretched out his legs and it looked like he was falling.  His feet were all in my space!!  I was quite uncomfortable, but didn’t want to disturb him.  Our stop was also coming up, so I didn’t want to say anything.  My friend suggested that I should “accidentally” drop my bag so that the guy would move his feet, but I felt guilty.  Poor little old guys, you know.  Still, it was funny when the other guy was doing all the talk as this guy was falling asleep.  I guess it was interesting because it was the first time either of us encountered old drunken Japanese businessmen.  Gee, since both of us are business majors, I wonder if we would be in the same situation in the future… O_o


{November 20, 2008}   And more train experiences

I don’t know why, but I keep on noticing things in the train lately…

Anyway, we all (well, at least I think we all) know that the Japanese girls (maybe guys??? who knows… it’s Japan, but so far I’ve only seen girls) can put on their make-up as the train is moving.  This one time, as the train was moving, a Japanese girl was standing without leaning on anything, and was putting on her make-up!!  I thought that was so cool!  I mean, putting on foundation, eye-liner, eye-shadow, lipstick, etc… like “Whoa!”  Well, foundation is ok, but still, eye-liner??!! Now I think that takes some skill.  (Well, I don’t often use make-up, so I don’t really know…)

Ok, guess what I found out Japanese guys do in trains this morning?  They SHAVE!!!!  (Well, not all guys shave in the train, just as not all girls put on make-up in the train… so yeah)  Whoa!!!  This guy had this automatic shaving thingy and was just rolling the machine around his chin.  Well, I didn’t ask him what he was doing because I don’t know that much Japanese (and wouldn’t it be strange to randomly approach someone sitting and shaving??)  But, it still looked like the guy was shaving.  I thought it was different, so I decided to share that bit of information ^_~.

{November 18, 2008}   More train experiences

Over the weekend, on the way back to Hirakatashi, these two Japanese girls entered the train with shopping bags and a luggage.  It was kind of late going back to Hirakatashi, and since we were in the sub-express, there were plenty of room.  Well, my friend was… how should I say… surprised (??) by the fact that the girls just opened the luggage to put in the items that they just bought.  I mean, it’s normal, I guess… maybe?? Well, I have to admit that it is a pretty smart way to go about carrying items…. but my friend told me that it is strange.  The luggage was empty, from what we can tell, and they *did* purchase a lot of items, so I thought stuffing the items in the luggage is pretty smart.  However, having to carry that empty luggage around while shopping must be annoying. 

On a reflective note, I didn’t pay attention to whether that luggage was new.  hmmm… it could be that the girls bought the luggage and wanted to stuff the items in so that it would be easier for them to carry later… o well, who knows, nee?

{November 12, 2008}   Dyed-hair

Whoa!!!  At the train ride home yesterday, I saw this old lady (50s-70s??) with her hair dyed purple (well, lavender-ish)!!!  Wowzer!!!  Many people in Japan, especially the younger generations, dye their hair.   It is mostly brown-ish though, so it is neutral, I guess.  My host sister said that the Japanese dye their hair so that it is easier for them to style it.  But wow, this lady, purple hair??? She could have been in a play or some sort of performance, but still… purple hair?  Imagine, old lady, between 50-70, with purple hair.  She had a hat on though, but we can still see her hair on the side, and the hair looked like it was attached to her head… I don’t know, I was *very* surprised. 

<<< This shade-ish

{November 10, 2008}   Train

Whoa, going back home last night was … I don’t know… strange???  Well, I had to ride the train back, and since the train just arrived, I get a seat ^__^ (ureshii).  Anyways, as I was waiting for the train to leave, this lady and her son came in (at least I think they were mother and son).  The boy was at least 15 or so, and the mom looks like she’s in her late 30s – mid-40s.  So, the mom (who is skinny -like a typical Japanese person) entered with all the grocery bags (2-3), and this boy (who is kind of on the heavy side) carried nothing.  I thought that was rude (yes, I was bored and had nothing to do so I just stared at the people coming his, with a book on my lap… but still…).  I mean, the son *should* be nice and help his mom, right?  Well, as they were walking right in front of me, the son turned around and said “dame” (“no”)with his hand right in front of his mom.   I was like “what?” but I didn’t say anything (well, I didn’t know the language… so yeah…).  He then walk onto the other side of the bench I was seating on.  What really surprised me was that the mom did exactly as told and stayed where she was at.  My gosh… I was like, “Are you serious.”  I wonder what that means….

There was this other incident where this mom and two baby boys were sitting in the train next to me.  I was also waiting for the train to depart at that time.  One of the boys looks like he was around 4-5 and the mom was carrying the other on her lap- that boy looks around 1-2.  Well, the 4yr old boy was causing a raucous in the train, and the mom couldn’t seem to quiet him down.  He calmed down as soon as the train moved though.  The mom and the boy started to talk in Japanese, but then the boy got annoyed or something, so he hit his 2yr old brother, and so the 2yr old started to cry.  The mom didn’t say anything to the 4yr old boy… and tried to calm the 2yr old one (like wowzer…)  Well, luckily, around that time, the boy turned to look at me, and so I just glared at him and he sat back on his sit and was quiet until I left… hehe… Well, he wasn’t exactly all quiet since he was talking to his friend, but he wasn’t loud ^__^

{October 22, 2008}   Approaching a Japanese

When I first had to take the train back to my home stay family, I was seating next to this high school boy. That train was kind of crowded, and I was sitting at the end of the bench, and since this guy was squished next to me, I felt kind of awkward. I didn’t know what to do. When I glanced over to see what the high school kid was reading, I saw that he was studying for TOFEL or something like that, so I started talking to him in English. I think he was surprised that I was talking to him… He kind of started talking to me, but the kid looked so nervous, I was happy that my stop came.

I didn’t really talk to any random strangers after that. Instead, I go home with one of my friends. When she’s not with me, I would borrow books from the library and read them in the train. Makes me feel secluded, but o well…

et cetera