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Monday, January 19, 2009

The Peeping Jap

I think the usual readers of my blog, if myself included could count up to an impressive figure like five know that I live and work in Japan. The Land of the Rising Sun. The place where raw-fish eating, small eyed fellas live. And probably you also know that I travel by train, that is apart from the times I walk. Not all the way to the work of course, but like a couple of minutes to the station. And then from the station I travel by train. Well of course that's where you go to if you want to catch a train, but I just thought I'd tell you anyway.

Now, this morning train ride of mine is a bit long one. It includes two transfers of trains and like a hour and fifteen minutes altogether. And I travel alone as well. So there's no real need to say that it is quite boring to keep staring out of a window all that time - that is if you are near a window of course. Otherwise you have to stare into a face of the Jap next to you, usually which is at a distance a little less than few millimeters. Therefore, my iPod, this little beauty accompanies me everyday to and back from work.

Today was no exception, and I was standing in a corner leaning against a window and listening to some music. The train was crowded to the point of exploding as usual and there was a Jap next to me. Well more than one of course, as is the case in a crowded train. But there was this particular guy as well. I had my iPod in my jacket pocket (that rhymes, doesn't it?) and a playlist was loaded. Occasionally I would come across a song which I don't particularly like, or a one that I don't like at all, for that matter. "Why do you have the songs which you don't like in your iPod?", you might ask. Fair enough. But I'm too lazy to go through them all and add only the favorites, so I just loaded the whole MP3 folder in my computer to it. Even fairer enough, don't you think so?

Back to the topic.

So, whenever a song that I didn't like came up, I'd take it out of my pocket - not the song, the iPod I mean - and move to the next one. Not moving the iPod to the other pocket, just move to the next song. Now, I think you should know that iPod Touch is the coolest iPod of them all. And I'm not boasting here at all. I'm merely stating the facts, I promise you. The problem was, whenever I took it out, the Jap who was next to me, the one I was talking about earlier, would peep into it. To be honest, I was proudly annoyed, if there is such a term. Who wouldn't, when a Jap is gazing into your stuff, which doesn't happen all the time, I assure you. In fact, this could be the first time in the history of mankind - or should I say the Japanesekind? - that it happened. They never do that. They always mind their own business when they are on a train and don't give a shit about what the others do. And they give even less shit about the trendy iPods your neighbors might have because they are like day to day stuff for them. Still, I was annoyed. Not because he was doing it, but because he was doing it being a Jap. It is a thing only the Paradise-Islanders would do. How can this Jap do it?

So, I covered it and turned a little sideways. And since my MP3 folder has like close to a thousand songs, and obviously I don't like them all, I had to change the song again, soon. And the Jap peeped into it again. A couple of minutes later, well, like ten minutes later I think, the same happened. By now I was officially pissed. I looked at him and tried to give him one of those mean stares. Like the one Brett Lee gives the batsman when he bowls one at his head and misses. Obviously Brett wouldn't be able to stare at the batsman if he hits him because then the guy would be down flat on the pitch. Anyway, I gave him such a stare and he smiled back at me. Like Murali would do when he's batting.

DARN, I thought. I can't even scare the shit out of a Jap.

I was wondering whether I should repeat the attempt and scare away the 'Mr-Peeping-Tom' or totally abandon the attempt and accept the defeat when he went like "Are you a Sri Lankan?" In English too.

And my jaw dropped.

Not to the floor of course, but you know the phrase right? I carefully glanced at me. No I wasn't wearing my Sri Lanka Cricket T-Shirt and I didn't have a label across my forehead saying that I'm a Sri Lankan either. My confusion grew with the fact that he spoke in English - pretty good English too - because normally Japs pretty much suck at English. And I was still staring at him. Not the mean one this time, but rather the "what-the-fuck" stare.

Finally I managed to put a few words together in my head, and then speak them too.

"Err... how did you... I mean..."
Not really a good job of putting words together, was it? Still I managed to convey my idea to him, and a loads better than if I spoke in Japanese, I'm pretty sure.

"Oh sorry, I saw the songs you were listening to and some of them were Sinhala songs"

My jaw dropped again. Oh sorry if I forgot to mention but I managed to pull it back after it happened the earlier time. So it didn't drop twice the amount as it would normally, just the normal amount though it might depend on the occasion.

"Ah yes, I lived in Sri Lanka a few years back. And I recognized some of the songs you were listening to. I have a few albums with me here in Japan too. I Like some of the stuff. Do you have new ones too? Because I returned back in 2005"

So much for my proud annoyance.


1 comment:

  1. Now you know why he was peeping - the Sri Lankan Influence of course!

    Nice post - nicely written.