Sidewalk rage?

Author: mirai  //  Category: All Posts, Life in general, Rants and Raves, Work Related

In the States, road rage -when people in cars take their stress and frustrations out on other drivers on the road, is pretty common.  There are a lot verbal and non-verbal obsenities exchanged, a lot of horn honking, a lot of cut offs, and other things people consider road rage.  However in a society such as Japan, where people depend more on public transportation to get to and from work, there is no such thing as road rage.  It’s more like sidewalk rage.

Rush hour in Japan is pretty intense.  Luckily for me my work hours allow me to avoid the peak hours just enough so that I don’t get too stressed out from the commute.  However, for many people, commuting to work daily can be a source of severe stress, enough to resort to sidewalk rage.

So what is sidewalk rage? Actually there is no such phrase or idiom, not that I know of anyways.  It’s something I coined myself to describe the hostilities that take place during rush hour commute in Japan.  However, sidewalk rage is much more subtle than road rage in the States. There’s very little if no obsenities exchange.  As matter of fact, most of the time, there isn’t even any eye contact exchanged.  I experience sidewalk rage almost on a daily basis, and it usually consists of either being shoved or pushed aside, stepped on (usually the feet), cut in front of (in lines etc.), hit with objects such as brief cases or umbrellas, or just being completely ignored when excusing myself while trying to get off of a train or a bus.  About 90% of the time, there are no apologies or “excuse me’s”, at most there is just a gentle nod if you’re lucky.

 Another form of sidewalk rage I’ve never experienced personally but quite common, is not being able to get a seat in the courtesy seat area.  Courtesy seats on buses and trains are usually free for anyone to use, but should be yielded to senior citizens, pregnant women, or passengers with disabilities.  But often times, I see perfectly healthy people sitting in these seats when there are people with special needs standing close by.  Sometimes these people are obviously aware of the special needs passengers, but tend to ignore them or pretend that that they are asleep or unaware.

One time, on the way home on the train I saw an elderly woman board the train. It was quite crowded and it would have been difficult for even a young person to stand let alone an elderly person.  I wanted to give her my seat, but she was quite a distance away, and I couldn’t quite get to her.  When we approached the next station, which was my stop, I stood up and rushed over to the lady and told her she could have my seat (even though I was not in a courtesy seat. ) As we walk back to my seat, I saw a very young guy, probably in his early 20’s, preparing to sit in the seat that I had just got up from.  I sort of stopped him and said Could you please yield this seat to this lady? to which he responded by giving me a dirty look and sort of a grunt, and then he then sat down anyways.  I was so upset, I was just grab him by his shirt and yank him out of the seat, but just at that moment another lady behind us yielded her seat to the lady, and she was able to sit down.  I gave the guy a dirty look and told him he was the scum of society, and I left the train.

Finally, this morning, I saw a sidewalk rage of a different sort.  I saw a lady who looked to be in her late 40’s to mid-50’s.  She boarded the train and had a very mean and upset look on her face, and she was mumbling to herself.  I couldn’t quite hear or understand what she was mumbling.  At first I thought she was talking (ranting) to the person seated in front of her, but that person was reading a book and didn’t even make eye contact with her. 

She continued to ramble to herself for several minutes, obviously very upset about something.  I didn’t mean to stare but I couldn’t help it because her mumbling was within earshot of several people around her including me.  The train continued to become more and more crowded as more people boarded from the different stations, which caused people to be inadvertantly pushed into the already mad woman.  This apparently outraged her even more, and she started to rummage through her purse, which she had been holding very tightly to her body, and pulled out a pink hand mirror.  It was the last object that I had expect her to pull out.

Not knowing quite to make of this, I continued to watch her to see what she was going to do with the mirror.  She pulled her purse tightly to her body once again as if the person next to her was trying to steal something (which he wasn’t), held the pink hand mirror very close to her face and proceeded to mumble even louder.  She would occassionally look at herself in the mirror, play with her bangs, give herself a very mean look, and then hold the mirror very close to her face and mumble again.  It was almost comical, but no one was laughing.  Some were even a bit concerned or frightened by this odd behavior.

She continued to mumble and hold her pink mirror to her face, while grasping her purse tightly to her body for several minutes.  At one point she must have noticed me looking at her because she gave be a very angry and ugly glare, and blocked me out with her mirror.

As we approached the terminal station, she put her mirror back in her purse, and began to non-dicriminantly shove anyone in the way of her and the train exit out of the way.  As I got off of the train, I noticed that the mad lady was walking closely behind me.  She then started running, passed me, and ran toward the station exit.  As a younger woman was trying to exit the station ticket gate, the mad woman grabbed her from behind, shoved her aside and shouted GET OUT OF MY WAY! and continued to run at mad speeds.

I didn’t know quite to make of it other than she was either having a really bad day, or she was mentally ill.  But that was the first for me and a start of an interesting day 😀

‘Cocaine’ is a ride…and apparently a new energy drink too!

Author: mirai  //  Category: All Posts, Rants and Raves

Every morning before I go to work, I usually browse the CNN website for the latest news.  I usually skip the headlines -because they’re almost always about grim news about Iraq and how many more soldiers died over this pointless war -and I usually read the bizarre news first. 

cocaine

Today I found this aritcle about how the US FDA are pulling ‘Cocaine’, a new energy drink, off the shelves because of the distasteful nature of it’s name.  My initial impression was, who cares?  It’s just a name, and a pretty funny one. But as I read on and saw the product slogan: Speed in a Can, Liquid Cocaine and Cocaine — Instant Rush  I was pretty surprised that the product made it on the shelves in the first place.  On top of that, the company stated that it’s marketed as a legal alternative to the drug cocaine.  This statement alone implies that the soft drink has similar if not the same intoxicating effects as the drug, but legal which kind of begs the question, how do they (the marketing folks in this company) know what being on cocaine is like? Hmmmm….  Guilt by self admission?

 Moreover, the article went on quoting a company representative as saying, Of course, we intended for Cocaine energy drink to be a legal alternative the same way that celibacy is an alternative to premarital sex :D.  I almost died laughing reading this statement.  Not quite sure where this person’s mind is at, but its clearly not too far away from the gutter with the rest of the junkies and addicts.

I Don’t Get It….And Either Do They..

Author: mirai  //  Category: All Posts, Rants and Raves

Last week, I left work abit earlier since almost everyone in the office for Golden Week.  On the way home, I decided to stop off at Subway to grab a bite to eat.

Since it was a holiday, the place was pretty empty so I decided to eat in.  I grabbed a table near the wall.  On the table was a little non-smoking sign, so I was satisfied that I would not be disturbed by cigarette smoke. There was a lady sitting a couple tables away reading a book while drinking coffee.  And across the way, by the window, there was a younger girl who was tapping away on her cell phone.As I sat down and got ready to eat my Cajun chicken sandwich, a distinct odor of cigarette smoke polluted my air space.  I looked around to see who the culprit was, and it immediately caught my eye.  The girl tapping the text message on her cell phone had a cigarette in the other hand.

I was somewhat irritated that this person lacked the manners to smoke in a non-smoking area.  I had the choice of going over to her and politely asking her to put out her cigarette. or simply moving to another table.  I looked around the tiny sandwich shop for a table where the smoke would not reach me but the furtherst table was only 4 meters away, which was not far enough to avoid the disgusting odor of the cigarette that was engulfing the nice clean air.  Hmm no choice, I thought, I’m not going to let this poor mannered customer ruin my lunch.

As I stood up, I noticed that the tables on the other sid of the room didn’t have the non smoking signs on them.  It quickly dawned on me that the girl wasn’t breaking and restaurant policies.  She was in the smoking section.  It was another case of management not understanding the reason why non-smoking sections exist.  A lot of people here seem to think that by simply just putting non-smoking signs on a few tables inside the restaurant, that it would satisfy those who want to sit in a non-smoking area.  Its pretty irritating sometimes and it tells me that the restauarant management is most likely either a smoker who doesn’t care about those who don’t smoke, or they’re really dense and totally miss the point of having a REAL non-smoking section.

The non smoking sign on my table with the smoking girl in the background

In this picture, you can see that my table is clearly marked as a non-smoking table.

same picture closer up

Golden Week

Author: mirai  //  Category: All Posts, Life in general, Work Related

Its Golden Week and most people in Japan are on holiday.  This year, I’ve decided not to take the two in between days off, and go to work like a good samaritan. This is partially due to the fact that there isn’t really much to do.  I went Okinawa last month so taking another trip is financially not feasible.  The other reason is that I do have some work to tidy up, so instead of squeezing it in next week, it’d be better to do it when there is very little to do.

Health:

For the past couple of weeks or so, I have been feeling a very dull pain on the right side of my chest.  It doesn’t hurt that much.  Its just a really faint dull pain, and it feels as if its coming more from my back.  I blame it on having to carry a bag on my shoulder everyday to work.  So for now, unless it gets worse, I’m not going to worry too much about it.

The doctor tells me that my cholesterol level is a tad high. About 151 to be exact, which is about 22 points higher than what is considered the normal range.  So I have been walking to and from the station to work which is a bit less than 1 km one-way.  On top of that, I have been taking walks during my lunch.  Not much, but its a start.

I’ve also been cutting down on snacks.  I only eat “healthy” snacks now like nuts and fruits, and nothing with too much cholesterol.  Other than that, I’ve been feeling fine.  But if this whole diet/ cholesterol thing gets to be a pain, I think I will get a membership at a gym.