During the Japan Open golf tournament held in mid-October, 18-year-old pro golf prodigy Ryo Ishikawa botched his swing on a bunker shot for a double bogey.
It may have been shutter noise emitted from the cell phone cameras brandished by the horde of adoring spectators that interfered with his concentration. Subsequent to that, staff at the country club went into the crowd to plead that spectators refrain from picture-taking. But ring tones and shutter noises continued right up to the final hole.
To add insult to injury, some spectators appeared to be viewing "one-segment" broadcasts on their phones as well.
"If you warn them, they'll act surprised, saying 'Huh? Is it prohibited?' They haven't a clue that they're disturbing the play," sighs a spokesperson for the pro golfers' association.
But this kind of thoughtless behavior, grumbles Shukan Gendai (Nov 7), is becoming endemic, and the weekly backs up its assertion with several pages of anecdotes about how mindlessly self-centered Japanese are becoming.
In the delicatessen counter of a supermarket in Chiba, shoppers were aghast to see a mother who permitted her primary school-age child to wolf down the merchandise as if it were a restaurant buffet.
"There's the kid, chomping away on breaded fried prawns and croquettes, and dropping crumbs all over," an eyewitness relates. "Did her mother scold her? No -- she was eating the stuff too! The customers were too intimidated by such extreme behavior to tell her off."
A certain Ms A and her female friend women were partaking a meal in an upscale Italian restaurant when she noticed the couple at the neighboring table using a cell phone camera to shoot pictures of their food -- probably to post on his blog. The boyfriend looked over at the dish "A" was eating and said, "Wow, that really looks tasty," and then without warning approached her table and snapped photos of her meal.
"I was too shocked to say anything, but thinking about it afterwards, I really felt humiliated," she tells the magazine.
But it's not only the younger generation that's lacking in manners. An employee of a private railway in Kansai tells Shukan Gendai that recently it has become increasingly common for hard-of-hearing seniors to converse on their mobile phones in loud voices. When warned that they are annoying others, some will issue a stream of curses. "There have even been cases of them whacking people with their canes," he says.
Rakugo (traditional comic monologue) artist Danshi Tatekawa is occasionally aggravated by ringing cell phones during a stage performance.
"There I am, in the middle of an Edo-period tale, and I'm abruptly yanked back to Heisei by the sound of somebody's phone," he mutters. "It ruins the whole atmosphere. But these are paying customers, so I can't pick a fight with them."
"Actually once when I was on stage giving a performance, my own phone rang," Tatekawa admits.
Thinking quickly, he made it part of his act. "I had the character I was portraying say, 'Hey, your phone is ringing,'" he chuckles to Shukan Gendai. "But ring tones cause some performers' routines to turn weepy. It's a real problem."© Japan Today