The People

The other day I had a bit of a mishap: I forgot my wallet at the supermarket. Yup, that's what I do. People who know me will now be like "classic Inkeri!" and then hopefully laugh because I really hope my absent-mindedness can be thought of as endearing or quirky. Anyway, I realized it the next morning and quickly bicycled back to the shop, my heart in my throat. Luckily, my wallet was there. I had some trouble understanding the very kind lady who fetched me my wallet, but I don't care, I have the wallet back. Money, credit cards and all intact.

I think this is pretty much what Japanese people are like. After googling the subject, I found it's very common to get back what you lose. All in all, I feel they are quite accommodating, though to them this is just a part of perhaps behaving honestly or being respectable.

Earlier this week, at the same shop, I was looking for oatmeal. Finally I gathered my courage and asked one of the employees. People usually don't know a lot of English here or if they do, they're too shy to speak it. I also know very little Japanese (and mostly stuff I've learned from anime, meaning words like "darkness" or "presence" and those aren't so useful) so mostly I'm going with GoogleTranslator and some weird gestures. In the end when I managed to explain "oatmeal", they didn't have any. The poor clerk was very sorry, bowing from the waist and repeating "sumimasen!" I was trying to explain that it's fine! But she was very sorry!

So after a while of loitering around (I love foreign supermarkets and food shops), I went to the check out and paid for my stuff. When I'm packing them up, this same lady shop clerk runs to me with a bag of oatmeal! She'd been looking for it the whole time and finally found it and brought it to me! It was the sweetest thing ever!

When I was biking back from the shop, this old police man at the police box waves me over. I was a bit scared of what I'd done wrong. The Japanese drive on the different side of the road then we do back home, so navigating the traffic can sometimes be a bit difficult. I think I'm always on the wrong side of the road, plus when you have those situations when two people are coming up against each other and try to avoid each other, I always try to go around the other person from the same side as the other person is trying to go around me. You know that situation? Where you end up just stepping in front of each other in like some strange dance because you both try to go around the other one from the same side, at the same time and if you're lucky you both end up laughing, or if you're unlucky you'll end up being spit on, like I once did back home. I've found this happens more with people who ride on the other side of the road, like in Japan and Ireland. I think it's because you're both used to turning to the different side. I instinctively go to the right, while Japanese and Irish will go the left and when standing opposite of each other, we'll crash. So that's what kept happening in Ireland last year and what keeps happening here.

Okay, got sidetracked. Anyways, the policeman only wanted to ask me where I was from, when I told him I was Finnish, he got all excited and talked to me about ice hockey and other stuff I couldn't really understand. But he was just being really cute! Then he high-fived me and told me "ganbatte!" It was the cutest! It's fun how in here, I'm really exotic when I'm from Finland. Everybody's always oohing and aahing at me, like oh, Finland! I've never been exotic before!

What I also really like here is the way the shop clerks don't hassle you. I think it's one of my pet peeves, shop clerks coming at you and trying to sell stuff. I know what I want to buy! Be quiet until I ask for your advice! In Finland, it's not the worst, but there are still shops where they will follow you and try to force you into buying something. I've been a shop clerk for a while and that's what I had to do. It was truly awful. I just tried to ask people if they needed help and I could see them running away from me and hiding behind the shelves. I felt horrible. But I'm super happy that they don't do it here in Japan.

(Pictures will sometimes be unrelated. These are just photos of people I've taken here, not the shop clerks I'm talking about etc)


0 kommenttia