Tuesday, May 17, 2005
TOKYO'S 'THE STUDY GROUP RELATING TO THE PREVENTION OF BEHAVIOR THAT CAUSES DISCOMFORT AMONG NUMEROUS PEOPLE IN PUBLIC PLACES' BEARS ITS FANGS
Neo-impoliteness is making steady headway in Japan, the land of perhaps the greatest degree of social politeness in history, with the exception of World War II. I remember when I first arrived here, seeing two drivers - whose automobiles had just collided - bowing deeply to each other at the roadside over the unpardonable offence each had just committed against the other. Their insurance agents probably sent each other a couple of those $300 melons.
As to the nether extremes of this rampant courtesy, the complete lack of decent swearwords in Japanese has frequently been a drawback to my own efforts at appropriate social engagement in the Land of Wa. English swearwords, no matter how powerful, simply fall dead to the ground like songbirds hit a plate glass window. That's how polite it can get here.
Used to get, that is; for now, in the face of the staggering impoliteness currently spreading throughout the archipelago like a barbarian invasion in the form of such feckless behavior as using strong perfume, carrying large bags, kissing, infants crying, sitting on the floor, eating in public, using an umbrella to practice golf swings and that vexing bugaboo, taking up too much room with one’s newspaper -- the list of extreme social violations is a long one. Whether these would make the cut in NYC is another matter altogether.
But not to worry; the STUDY GROUP RELATING TO THE PREVENTION OF BEHAVIOR THAT CAUSES DISCOMFORT AMONG NUMEROUS PEOPLE IN PUBLIC PLACES (SGRTTPOBTCDANPIPP) will find the answer.
Now I wonder if there’s also a STUDY GROUP RELATING TO THE INVENTION OF WORDS THAT CAUSE DISCOMFORT AMONG NUMEROUS PEOPLE IN PUBLIC PLACES. One needs something effective to say to all these impolite people.
Posted by Robert Brady on Tuesday, May 17, 2005