Before I explain, let me just say that I love Japan, and I love living there. I find that my life is far more interesting and fulfilling than it was in Canada. However, there are some people around the world who seem to hold Japan in high regards as the most ideal place to be (I’m looking at you, Japanophiles and foreign anime otaku). Japan is just like any other country. It has social problems (suicide, public drunkenness, crime, racism, etc) just like any other country.
Last night, I had a pretty negative experience in Tokyo. I won’t go into too much detail, but I’ll outline what happened. On a train platform, a man was talking on his phone and backing up, nearly running into me. I made a remark in English that people should be careful about walking backwards, as this was the second time that day that someone did that. He must have overheard me because around 30 seconds later, he came up behind me and pushed me toward the tracks and started yelling at me. Then he kneed me in the leg and yelled at me some more. He was either drunk or thought I’d be an easy target as I’m a foreigner in Japan. Well, he didn’t push or hit very hard, as I never experienced any pain. He was just trying to intimidate me, rather than hurt me, I think. But in any case, what he did was physical assault. Since I’m a calm person, I just walked away and never saw him again. Inside, I was furious at him.
This was an isolated incident, and was just the act of an idiot. It coincided with the 65th anniversary of the end of the Pacific War of World War II, so maybe he was one of those nationalist extremists in Japan. Who knows? But if he tries this again with someone who isn’t as calm as I am, he may run into a lot of trouble and a lot of hurt.
There are idiots everywhere in the world.