Friday, December 9, 2011

Won't Miss #396 - up the down and down the up

I've written before that context really matters in digesting experiences in Japan and I find it incredibly irksome when people break rules in Japan compared to back home. Part of the reason for this is the insistence by both Japanese and foreigners that the Japanese are so lawful and obedient. Another reason is that I get called on any tiny infraction of the rules, spoken or otherwise. I once got attacked by an old man who tried to shove me off my bike and the excuse some apologist made was "maybe you were riding on the wrong side of the sidewalk". There isn't even a rule about which side to ride on (though left is generally preferred), but this absurd reason was offered. And, you know, physical violence is definitely the proper response if someone is on the "wrong side", right? So, when Japanese people blithely ignore a rule and it means I'm put out, it gets on my wick.

Nowhere is it more common for Japanese folks to ignore the written rules than on the steps leading to and from train platforms. There are always arrows on the steps telling you which side is for ascending and descending traffic (as well as signs like the one above), but people constantly ignore them and then stand there blocking me if I refuse to move and accommodate their going in through the out door. I guess I should knock them down the steps because that is what is to be done when people are on the side you don't like if I follow the logic of apologists, but that's really not my way.

 I won't miss the way people consistently ignore which way is up and which is down on the train and subway steps.