20 May 2010 ~ 8 Comments

Rainy Days

It’s raining in Yokohama today (see pic). And, this morning’s commute reminded me of a post I wrote 2 years ago. Here it is (with a few minor edits):

Many Japanese, when walking towards me, have a tendency to (upon noticing me and while at the same time noticing that there is little room or little time to make a run for it) put a hand up to their faces, like one might do if the sun was in one’s eyes. Only, I’m the sun! And, since I’m not above them but ahead of them and oncoming, the hand goes between their eyes and me, as if to block out any hypnotic suggestion I might be trying to transmit  or worse, to blot me out of their world view. This is primarily done by men, but women do it, too. The women do it coyly, however, while the men more aggressively.

I call it the tic because it appears to be involuntary. I can walk past ten people in a row and 7 of them will perform this tic. It has other manifestations. Sometimes the arm between us swings up in an “I’m prepared to protect myself from you so don’t even think about trying anything” kind of gesture. The ones ashamed (I guess it’s shame) of this instinct catch themselves and try to make it seem like they suddenly had to know the time or check the sleeve of their suits for moth holes, elbow held high and defensively. These people piss me off, sometimes. I want to justify their fear so badly.

But, I don’t…not actively anyway.

That’s why I love rainy days in Japan. With an umbrella obscuring my features (and by features I mean me) from the oncoming pedestrians I’m just another human being trying not to get wet. I can be virtually anonymous. I don’t have to endure the daily onslaught of the tic, at least not on the streets.

However, I have to make sure that I have a colored umbrella. Sometimes, when the rain comes unexpectedly I’m forced to borrow a cheap umbrella from the collection of discarded umbrellas that sit in the umbrella rack in front of my school for just such an occasion, and most of them are the cheap umbrellas you can pick up in the convenience store for anywhere from 100 to 500 yen. Unfortunately, they are typically transparent. These umbrellas do not offer as much sanctuary.

It’s raining in Yokohama today. I’ve always been a big fan of rain. Long walks in the rain with a special someone always makes me feel closer to the person. Making love while it’s raining always seems more romantic and intense. I love water. Rivers, lakes, oceans, beaches, showers, baths, Crystal Geyser, onsens, and rain…something about water makes me feel in balance with and connected to the Universe.

Japan has given me a new reason to love the rain: Anonymity.

(pic from flamingo sketches)


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8 Responses to “Rainy Days”

  1. Jamaipanese 20 May 2010 at 5:47 pm Permalink

    wow those attached pictures are so awesome. Rain lover here myself, I like the sound of it.

  2. Chris B 20 May 2010 at 11:58 pm Permalink

    Your getting hijacked Loco…or this post which you know i would love to rant about it (a.k.a I got a fist “tick” for fuckers like you mentioned)

    Chapter 21, verses 52-54 “[Abraham] said to his father and his people: ‘What are these images to whose worship you cleave?’ They said: ‘We found our fathers worshipping them.’ He said: ‘Certainly you have been, you and your fathers, in manifest error.'”

    That’s it lady’s and gentz. No threats of violence for depicting the prophet. All praise be unto him.

    Most Christians don’t know what the word “Christ” means. It’s not his last fucking name yo!

    Many Buddhist don’t know who Siddhartha was.

    Now Muslims trippin’ cuz they haven’t read the book. Muhammad is the prophet. Allah is God. They weren’t worshiping the prophet in that verse they were worshiping God…or gods but NOT Allah. And it is not a point which calls for violence in any form.

    If you “Believe” in any book without question your already a “Fail” anyway.

    I got faith but not from some fucking book though I have read the Bible the Qur’an and Siddhartha Gautama. (I loved theology in University) Religious people tend to dislike academic questions since it goes against the basic tenet of “faith”.

    Check it….

    only G-O-D could be a king to me
    and if the G-O-D be in me, then the king I be

    (Run D-M-C “Down with the King”)

    That’s the best way it’s ever been put. Most Priests or Imam’s would tell you the same. Don’t believe the hype.

    (Just delete this Loco cuz I’m ranting at ignorance)

    Lady’s and gentlemen sign has been turned off so you may now freely roam the cabin. Please check yourselves if the “you too stupid” light is turned on again.

  3. Jeff 21 May 2010 at 12:45 am Permalink

    Wow, really? I can understand them looking the other way, but actually putting a hand to their face to block you from their view? That sounds so rude coming from such a polite-oriented society. This is a surprising post!

  4. SayJ 21 May 2010 at 2:24 am Permalink

    I like the rain, not for its anonymity… mainly for its smell ^_^

  5. Locohama 21 May 2010 at 10:22 am Permalink

    Hey jeff, thanks. Ill tell you like I've told others: Japanese politeness is to Japanese formality as friends are to siblings. With the former you have a choice…not so much with the latter.

    Secondly, the japanese you know are much different than the masses you don't and will never know. the ones i know are not so much polite as they are regular people…with all the variation that entails.

    Lastly, that formality is often not extended to foreigners…at least that has been my experience. can't speak for everyone here


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