Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Will Miss #438 - business minding

I knew when I returned to America that a lot of things I'd never thought of when I was living in Japan would come to mind in terms of what I would and would not miss. One of the things that I never dreamed of being something I'd miss is the way in which Japanese people tended not to stick their nose in my business when I was going about the city. On very rare occasions, someone would walk up and ask if we needed help when we looked at a map (we didn't, but they meant well), but mainly the "bothering" we got was focused upon trying to sponge free English lessons. In America, I wasn't here an hour before someone shoe-horned into a private conversation with my husband and I to offer advice on where and what to eat. After years of being left alone, it seems like people are relatively consistently striking up conversations, commenting on my actions, or adding something when they hear my husband and I speaking to one another. I thought that I'd see this as friendly and welcome, but I'm finding it intrusive and disconcerting. I'm finding that I prefer being left alone by strangers in public, and while I know people are trying to be nice, it makes me uncomfortable. 

I grew very accustomed to people minding their own business in Tokyo either because that is what they normally do or because I was a foreigner and they were too intimidated to do otherwise, and I miss it.