Gaijin Smash

I Go By Train

Posted in Blog by gaijinsmashnet on May 2, 2006

I was coming home from Osaka late one night. It was actually the last train back home. As such, there weren’t too many people on it. But before the doors closed and the train rolled out of the station, a guy came and plopped down right next to me. And then proceeded to stare at me. Not normal staring mind you, but the staring where you have to physically turn your body so you can get the best possible look.
Now, I get stared at a lot. More than you can possibly imagine. Especially on the trains, which are a hotbed of staring. What I’m not used to however, is for someone sitting right next to me to physically turn around so they can stare right at me. Every fiber in my body said “Get up. Get up, go, move, switch seats, get in a whole ‘nother train car.” And yet, I didn’t. I can’t say why I didn’t, only that I’m a stupid, stupid man.
The train tumbled along, with my friend continuing to gaze lovingly into my chocolate features. After five minutes or so, he finally worked up the courage to speak. “Where you going?” he blurts out in badly slurred Japanese. He was obviously blasted – his breath smelled of wine and cranberries. Don’t ask me why cranberries, I don’t know, I don’t want to know.
But aha! He spoke to me in Japanese! I can now use the Gaijin Ultimate Defense – “I don’t know Japanese.” It’s a wonderful little phrase that gets you out of almost anything here. Mixups at the train station, run-ins with the police, and especially the guy from public TV to collect money for the boring stupid TV channel you’re not watching anyway. It doesn’t however work against the Japanese Jehovah’s Witnesses (yes, they do exist), who either speak fluent English (how the fuck does this work?) or just happen to be carrying pamphlets in every language that exists on Earth, not just English. Ain’t that some dedication? “Ok, got my leaflets in Japanese, English, Spanish, French, German, Italian, Arabic, Klingon, Binary, Smoke Signals, and Swahili Tongue-Clicks, just in case.”
So anyway, I use my Gaijin Ultimate Defense here.
Him: (badly slurred Japanese) Where you going?
Me: (English): I don’t understand.
Him: (badly slurred Japanese): I said, where you going?
Me: (English): I don’t know what you are saying.
Him: (badly slurred Japanese): Where you going?
Me: (English) I don’t know Japanese.
Him: (badly slurred Japanese): Where? You? Going?