In America, if you were in public - let’s say a shopping plaza parking lot - it wouldn’t be shocking to have a stranger approach you and say hello. You may grab your keys or put out a dirty look because you’re an a$$hole, but you’d understand at some point in time.
Well in Japan, it’s different. They just don’t say ‘konnichiwa.’ In fact, they utter so many mannerly gestures, I swear that I must have lent them money. These vocal welcoming gestures though are all in Nihongo (Japanese). However, there is a group that opens its heart to say “Hello.”
But it’s not the little children; they adorably stare and smile. It’s not the women; they’re afraid or mentally self-inducing their privates to your gaijin (foreigner) appearance. It’s not the old folks either; they’re too busy turning their back to you, or fetching some free vegetables as a welcoming present. Night and day I tell ya. Instead it’s the adolescents. Boys to be precise.
Out of the shadows will emerge a boy spattering his best rendition of “Hello.” Sometimes they even throw in a “How are you?” Before I can answer, they’ve already chuckled 50 miles away with their friends. So at first I’m thinking, ‘oh that’s nice, they’re practicing their English.” But then I said to myself, “wait a minute……..those f****ers are making fun of me.” Just like I would have done if I saw a Mexican ride into town on his lawn mower. Yep, I’m a foreigner, and little bastards make fun of me. And...I LOVE IT! Someone has to be the target for adolescent humor, and I’m more than happy to lace up the converse for the cause!