Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Human moments

It can be somewhat lonely to be a foreigner in Japan--walking down the street, most people do not make eye contact or appear to acknowledge me as we pass.  For my part, I do try to make eye contact, smile and nod--I figure that this is my privilege as a gaijin: it might be in violation of Japanese social norms for me to do this, but it's a relatively minor norm, and it's my way of trying to be friendly and not appear arrogant or stand-offish (after all, I am representing a missionary school, if not Christians in general to the people who I pass by).  Sometimes, I get acknowledgment in return, sometimes I don't.

Sometimes, cool human moments just happen.  Like tonight: I was biking back from Seiyu, having bought some ingredients for dinner.  It was starting to rain pretty hard.  As luck would have it, I got to the train crossing just as the gates closed.  A guy pulled up on a scooter just a few feet away from me--he looked like he was my age or maybe a little older.  I did what I always do, tried to make eye contact and nod, but he was resolutely staring ahead.  Then, all of a sudden, a huge bolt of lightning flashed across the sky, illuminating the tracks and the streets around us.  And two seconds later, the loud crash of thunder.  The guy on the scooter looked at me and we exchanged a nod that roughly translated to "Dude... that was CRAZY!"

Some things are just universal.  I love moments like that.

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