Manners? What manners? Old people don’t need manners.

Have you ever been on the train and hear a phone ring?  You’d probably be thinking some young punk or some mini-skirt wearing, makeup-applying teenager didn’t switch their phone to manner mode (aka silent mode).  But when you look up, you see that it’s an elderly woman.  Probably 9 times out of 10, it’s an elderly woman who doesn’t switch to manner mode.  To make things worse, she answers the phone and begins to talk loudly on it.  Everyone on the train looks at her, but says nothing.  We have to respect the elderly.  But what about the elderly respecting others?  I think there’s a common attitude among some of the senior citizens that they can do whatever they want.

Here’s another example.  It also takes place on a train.  A teenager was walking down the train, minding his own business, when he encountered an older man who was walking in the opposite direction.  The teenager moved to the side, so he could walk past the older man who stayed in the middle.  After they passed each other, almost in front of me, the older man turned around and started shouting at the teenager.  “Watch where you’re going!” he yelled at him.  But the teenager didn’t even touch him.  He was innocent.  The older man was a rude old fart who liked to verbally abuse the young, I guessed.

Elderly men also like to make rude noises wherever they are.  Usually, they make sounds like they’re trying to suck something out of their teeth.  They do this over and over again, then start smacking their lips repeatedly and loudly.  It sounds disgusting and extremely rude.

Whenever I get stared at on the train, it’s almost always elderly men doing it.  I challenge them to a staring contest, which they usually accept, because they think staring at a foreigner is perfectly acceptable.  Children stare, too, but they stare at everything and anyone.  Elderly men should know better.

Last weekend, there was a man sitting in the middle of two seats on the train, and on a third seat, he had his backpack.  He was probably in his 50s, and it looked like he may have been hiking.  Now, this wouldn’t be a problem normally, except this was a packed train in the heart of Tokyo.  He had his shoes off and was massaging his feet.  There were elderly people who wanted seats and my pregnant fiancee also wanted a seat.  However, he wouldn’t do a thing about it.  He occupied those 3 seats like he owned them.  I kept staring at him and talking about it with my fiancee, and the man sitting near where we were standing kept looking at us and back at the rude man.  I guess he understood what we were talking about.

These days, it seems that many older people complain about young people being rude and inconsiderate.  I find that it’s the opposite.  Many high school students seem to be much more polite than the elderly, particularly in the area of Japan I live in.  I think some elderly need to evaluate their own behaviour.  I’m not saying all elderly people are rude and all young people are polite, but I find that most rude people are older.

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20 Comments

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20 responses to “Manners? What manners? Old people don’t need manners.

  1. I completely agree with you. Good post!

  2. I’ve honestly found this to be true as well for some reason… particularly the old ladies; they’re ruthless sometimes! I even got smacked by one on a train once (she wanted me to move so she and her 3 friends could sit down, and honestly I wouldn’t even have had a chance to move on my own accord before it happened, since I usually do move for the elderly). I’ve also had them throw bags over my head to snag seats. Or they never move standing in aisles at the store, and my pregnant abdomen is so huge now that I can’t really sneak by like I usually do.

    That said, like you said, there are plenty of polite people as well. I’ve met many very lovely, kind, polite older women, so I never classify them all together, but this notion of all Japanese people being polite is just a myth. People are rude and nice just as they are anywhere else in the world.

    • Exactly. This isn’t a Japan only thing, it’s a people thing. When people think that Japan is always polite, they’re most likely tourists and not people who live here. But I agree, it’s not a large number that are rude, it’s just that a handful of rude people can prove to be noisier than the majority of nice people.

  3. It’s such the opposite here in California where more and more I see and experience younger people just not caring about anyone but themselves and acting that way. But I’ve been in Japan and while never had any experience with rude people, that I was aware of, I have noticed it’s some of the much older people do tend to stare more.

    The one thing to remember though, is sometimes as we age our brains can begin to fail and that might be a reason why some loose their ability to keep their temper in check. Some of the behaviors you have observed might not be something they even know they are doing. Which is sad.

    Overall though, my experiences in Japan have always been much better than here in Calif. That’s from experience not based on what others have said.

    • To be fair, and I will just do this as a reply instead of trying to edit my comment, I have also seen more middle aged people here in Calif. act like jerks over the last couple of years. Sometimes to the point it’s scary. It’s a big reason why I’m planning on not living here any more.

      • Middle aged people should be smart enough to know that rude behaviour gets you nowhere. Unfortunately, that’s not how it happens. It’s probably mostly the fault of their parents, being rich (money goes to their head) or being poor (they feel like crap, so they give it back to anyone they can).

    • In Canada, it’s much the same as California. Younger people are getting rude. Any time I go back to Canada, I see it. Teenagers are quite often very rude, while elderly people are kind.

      Many of the rude people I have seen are not so old that their brains are failing. Many are in their 50s or 60s, which is still young enough to have a sharp mind. A lot of it is experience. The younger people are more likely to have experience with foreigners than older people. There are foreign assistant language teachers in public schools in Japan, so kids get to see and speak with a foreigner quite regularly. But that doesn’t have much to do with being more polite. In Japan, it’s more like you must listen to what the elderly have to say and don’t talk back. They’re older, wiser, and deserve all the respect we can give them. However, many elderly people have forgotten that respect goes both ways. I’m thankful that many of my elderly students are kind and very respectful.

  4. mbfitzmahan

    Stereotypes and ageism?

  5. I don’t think I’ve ever seen an old person talking on their phone on the train but have seen many pushy old ladies. I don’t mind it so much – they are old and I’d give them my seat anyway but the pushy salarymen shit me. WTF dudes, you’ve been sitting at a desk all day, you don’t really need that seat.

  6. You shoulda moved the backback and forced him to verbally state he was gonna ignore a pregnant women so his backpack can be comfy.

    I would love to have flung that backpack down the aisle.

    • We would have asked him to move it, but we weren’t on the train long. Later in the pregnancy, I would have insisted that we tell him to move it, but she’s more or less still looking and feeling non-pregnant. But the way I was talking, I had other people looking at him. Anyway, being with my fiancee, I really didn’t need to stir anything up.

      • My friend was on a train back home and dude had his briefcase on the only empty seat. Second dude comes along and says “who’s briefcase is this?” No one answered so second dude threw it out the train window. Dude jumps up screaming and second dude was like … well I asked who’s it was!

        That’s the advantage of having train windows that open I guess.

  7. S Fraser

    Great post, Can’t say I have noticed it here in Oz but I don’t catch alot of public transport.

  8. Jason

    I agree 100%. The baby boomers are the new elderly – not the prim WWII generation. As a result, I increasingly see old people behaving like entitled slobs – talking loudly in public, not waiting their turn, etc. I’ve seen this all over the US, Europe and Japan.

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