21 May 2010 ~ 18 Comments

Ignorance isn’t always bliss

I was sitting in Doutor’s coffee shop in Yokohama yesterday drinking coffee, puffing a stogie, reading…and ignoring everyone. Sometimes it’s easy. I know what they’re doing. It never changes. It’s as predictable as the sunrise. I really have to shut down to have any peace of mind here and there’s nothing like Clavell to aid that process. As long as no one comes along and…


The table beside mine was empty in a cafe full of caffeine and nicotine junkies. Naturally it’s the last to be taken. Just then, the first taker came along. He put his tray on the table, and stared at me. I felt his eyes boring a hole in my head. Almost willing me to look at him so that he could time the turn of my head perfectly and by the time my eyes would reach where his eyes would be if he had any balls, I would just see the side of his face, his neck stretched to show that not only wasn’t he boring a hole in my head with his stare but that I wasn’t even worthy of a peripheral glance.

But, I didn’t need to see this…I’ve seen it a thousand times.

So, he continued standing, and boring into my skull, and scanning the cafe for a seat, or at least for someone approaching finishing their coffee and smoke. No one was moving. Woe was him. He was about to sit down, in the process of sitting down, still boring a hole, still scanning the room, still praying  for an opening, and then, like it had become too much for him, he springs back up and stomps away into the non-smoking section where there were several seats available.

I know it’s probably just me but it felt like he didn’t want to be ignored…refused to be ignored…went out of his way not to be ignored. He had to know I could see, peripherally, everything he was doing. It was as clear as day. Did he want me to know? I’ll never know, will I? And, even if he did want me to know how much he didn’t want to sit next to me, so what? Just another asshole, right?

Anyway, just wanted to let y’all know that the effort to ignore people like him remains an ongoing challenge.


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18 Responses to “Ignorance isn’t always bliss”

  1. Chris B 22 May 2010 at 12:17 am Permalink

    Other than those who attend this School and a select few I have been successfully ignoring people for my entire duration here. Unless they act dumb. I give just alittle more slack to guys with their women cuz making them look weak infront of their own lady seems beyond what is necessary but I go there too if I gotta.

    • Locohama 24 May 2010 at 10:45 pm Permalink

      Hey Chris. yeah, in front of their old ladies is when a lot of them like to show their asses though. They see me and pull their woman away from me, or on the train they see me and switich positions so that they are inbetween their girl and danger…that danger being me. So sometimes I can't help but clock them so that they feel justified next time in doing such a thing. A sharp elbow to the head usually informs them that they'd made the right call…I mean, if their girl had been standing where they were then she would have been injured (they think), but since their head is harder they'd believe they made the right call. Sometimes I serve up an extra elbow on the way out just in case they thought it was an accident the first time.
      Just depends on my mood, I guess. Haven't done that in…well I didn't do it today anyway (-:
      Thanks for the shout yo

  2. WC 22 May 2010 at 5:22 am Permalink

    Heh. I can't think I'd ignore them… I would take great pleasure in being a big, scary gaijin. (And I'm bigger than average, even in America.)

    • Locohama 24 May 2010 at 10:48 pm Permalink

      Hey WC
      It's ignore or they win i think. And it gives me no pleasure scaring them. If it did I'd have nothing to say here. I'd be a pig in shit. I'd be like a fat rat in a cheese factory. I'd be….well you get the picture. lol
      thanks for the shout

  3. Andy 23 May 2010 at 3:30 am Permalink

    Great post (as usual). Depressing to know that knobheads like that exist, and, unfortunately, in such numbers.

    • Locohama 24 May 2010 at 10:50 pm Permalink

      hey Andy, yeah you got that right. Hidoi to the Nth degree! thanks for the shout

  4. Fusion 23 May 2010 at 8:02 am Permalink

    I remember reading your post on this subject a while ago regarding riding the train. I am still puzzled…is the source of this behavior "fear of gainjin?" Or something else in your opinion?

    • Locohama 24 May 2010 at 10:51 pm Permalink

      I don't know what the source of their behavior is, Fusion, but as you know and my readers know from reading my blog,i have my theories. Hard to say what an individual is thinking. I can only deduce from evidence.
      thanks for the shout Fusion san

  5. Billy W 23 May 2010 at 10:34 pm Permalink

    Ignoring things here is difficult sometimes, but sometimes I go out of my way to make myself unignorable (not a real word, I think) to Japanese people. Especially on the train. I'm sure some of the people I ride the train with regularly see me coming and think, "Oh no, I hope he doesn't tell someone off again." Haha. I secretly hope they're happy I stand up for them, but knowing Japanese people, they'd probably rather take a ration of shit then have someone cause a commotion about defending their honor. I swatted this guy's newspaper 3 fucking times the other day because he kept jamming it into the head of the girl in front of him, one time even resting it there. I said "watch your goddamn paper!" twice and he just smiled and nodded as if to say 'sumimasen asshole'.

    Oh well…

    • Locohama 24 May 2010 at 10:35 pm Permalink

      hey billy, yeah I know what you mean. I used to intervene when I saw chikan doing their thing or people like that asshole with the newspaper…believe it or not, sometimes in their effort to be cavalier around me, to show that they unfazed by me, some Japanese actually do shit like that to me. It's so shocking when it happens that I usually find myself flabbergasted. Like the other day this one HS kid who must have been desensitized to foreigners or something was leaning his cellphone against me like it was the most natural thing. My first reaction, as you might imagine, was gratitude. Japanese do this shit to one another all the fucking time so I was happy that he was treating me just like anybody else. It's so friggin rare though. Then, I don't know…I remembered that I'm not one of them, will never be one of them, have no desire to be one of them, nor did I have any desire to have this MOFO resting his celly on me. So, I turned and gave him a look like "do I look like a fucking phone booth?" He got the message. (^:
      Thanks for the shout Billy-san

  6. Glenn in Hawaii 24 May 2010 at 3:06 pm Permalink

    I've been reading your posts periodically & wanted to ask if you've ever tried the "killing them with kindness" approach? In the coffee shop or train scenario: after you start getting that "boring a hole in your head" feeling & without looking up or making eye contact, I wonder what would happen if you said (in a voice loud enough for people around you to hear but not so loud as to alarm anyone)"dozo, this seat/table is available"? I would think you would be putting the Japanese person in a no-win situtation b/c as a people they are extremely conscious of how other Japanese view & react to them. If he/she ignores you & walks away they will look like an asshole to the other Japanese around them for rejecting your graciousness. If they accept your offer & sit down, I guarentee they will be uncomfortable & miserable & you will have the pleasure of basking in their misery beside you.

  7. Locohama 24 May 2010 at 7:10 pm Permalink

    Thanks for the shout Glenn…

    If you're not here in Japan, it must be difficult for you to see the picture. The cafe is filed with people who bypassed this seat. Virtually everyone. It's like musical chairs, but instead of there being no seat for the loser, it's the seat beside me that the loser has to sit in. So, no one is going to judge him an asshole for thinking once, twice, three times about taking a seat, and no one is going to fault him for ignoring me if i speak to him, even in nihongo, because they will sympathize with him for having to endure the unenviable (if my understanding of Japanese is right)Graciousness is something only Japanese are capable of extending and responding to properly here in Japan. Anything I do that appears gracious will be treated like a fluke or totally ignored. (this is from experience…I have tried what you said dozens of times and still do from time to time) Also I receive no pleasure from making people uncomfortable unfortuantely. I don't bask in Japanese misery. It's unfortunate because I make them uncomfortable unintentioanlly everywhere I go every day here in japan. It is one of the most predictable things about life here: that wherever i go people will be made uncomfortable and show it in a couple dozen ways. But thanks for being solution oriented in your response.

  8. Jerry Manitopyes 11 June 2010 at 11:50 am Permalink

    Hey man!….interesting site here…yer stories are an almost exact replay of what happens to me on a daily basis here. Being an American Indian(full-blooded, none of that "my grandma's sister's brothers cousin was cherokee" stuff.) Im actually from Canada, living in fujigaoka, yokohama for a lil' spell now. due back in august. Most people here dont believe in Native, I get Tongan, mexican, whatever…..but what strikes me is that the stares i get (blatent) when im on the train….havent you seen an Indian before?…lol…

    • Locohama 11 June 2010 at 5:48 pm Permalink

      Thanks Jerry-san, and thanks for the shout! ganbarimasyou ne (-;

  9. The Bum 31 July 2013 at 10:32 pm Permalink

    It’s because you were “puffing a stogie.” Even cig smokers think those smell like shit.

    • Locohama 3 August 2013 at 2:40 pm Permalink

      Thanks for the enlightenment, Bum

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