Londoner in Tokyo

In japan, travelling on February 10, 2010 at 10:53 pm

Whilst I’ve been here the, in Japan, the polite Japanese have given me sidelong glances, double takes, surreptitious stares, hard glares (generally from old

men), the long considered appraisal and amazed looks from kids – who stare directly at you and when you stare back hold your gaze before looking away and looking back moments later when they think your not looking.

I’ve had worse and spending time in Newcastle in the early 90’s kinda inures you to that sort of thing. I’d be more surprised if no one was staring, to be honest.

And on a similar path, the only ones who have deemed me interesting enough to have a conversation with are some old men who have spoken to me about my bike, or seen that I’m obviously not from Japan and decided for better or worse, that I’m the one who they should practice their English on. Now I don’t mind passing ten or fifteen minutes talking about the specialist subject that is me, but I do wonder about the younger generation, friend told me that the old men will speak to you because they have spoken English in their business/working lives so are more comfortable with it, whereas the young who have a better grasp of western culture, and are taught to read and write English at school, won’t speak to you, because they are afraid to get it wrong. As I say everywhere I go, your English is so so so much better than my approximation of your language you have nothing to be frightened/ashamed/embarrassed about.

  1. For some reason I decided just before going to a small mountain town in Minas Gerais, Brasil was the perfect time to shave out the front of my bangs, spike up the rest, and oh yeah, it’s red with blonde bits at the bottom back, when everyone there is most definitely NOT like that. Though I did spot 2 true redheads there. Being stared at makes you feel so weird!

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