Waltzing Mathildas

IMG_6982.jpgIt is no secret that Japan is renowned for their train system and how positively congested it can be.

I am originally from Cleveland. We also have a train system colloquially known as “The Rapid”. The Rapid connects the outer rim suburbs/cities with central Cleveland, or as the locals refer to it, Downtown. And that’s as far as it goes because riding the train in the States? No one does that anymore.

It feels a bit strange to think of it now but some of my happiest memories involved the Rapid. Baseball games with my father, countless concerts (one of them being Kiss and distinctly remembering:

  1. How packed the car was. And,
  2. A “gentleman” cosplaying as a member of Kiss joking with his colleagues about how if you stuck a cherry lifesaver ins his armpit (because he was standing), it would “taste exactly like a puss”),

my wife and I taking our son who was four at the time, and obsessed with trains on his first Rapid ride…

Cleveland wouldn’t be the same without the rapid.

Be that as it may, the JR (Japanese Railway) is far superior to the Rapid, in that:

  1. It connects the entire country of Japan. And,
  2. Full cars, while a bit of a nuisance if you’re traveling long distances, ain’t no thang.

“Really? A full car of people ‘ain’t no thang’?” You’re no doubt wondering.

Japanese people are unfailingly polite. Doubly so when they are stuck together in close quarters. It also helps that no one farts in a packed car.

IMG_6980.jpgAdditionally, seating in Japanese train cars is at a premium. Older citizens have priority. As well they should. They kick the ass off of American elderly as easily as you scanning (instead of reading) what I wrote. Point of fact? There’s an automated announcement in English and Japanese, that politely reminds you to give up your seat to the aged.

And yes, I do this rather routinely.

What I don’t do routinely is wear a mask in public.

While I haven’t seen this in print, it is generally agreed upon that the Japanese people wear surgical masks because:

  1. They know that they live in an over populated country and they don’t want to fuck with pollutants or allergens.
  2. They, themselves, are sick and are therefore being courteous by not infecting ¬†other’s with their germs.
  3. Other people around them are sick and they don’t want any of that juju.

Once upon a time, I was sick and I had the thought that I, too, should wear a mask because I had some place to be. I had a good amount of facial bracken at the time.

When I was done adjusting the mask, I took one look at the area that the mask was covering and said out loud to no one because I was alone at the time “That looks like a fresh diaper on a fat, hairy ass.”

I took the mask off, threw it in the trash, and left the house determined to infect everyone I came into contact with.