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What are some of the weirdest things or people's behavior you have seen in Japan?

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Several years ago, I would often run into the same middle-aged foreign woman at my favourite bakery.

With a really sour expression on her flushed reddened face, she was usually muttering angrily at this poor young woman behind the counter, who was probably just following her training rules which insisted she pack each item of baked goods into individual bags before securing each one with a piece of tape.

"Calm down, dear", I eventually said to the woman."Honestly, choose your battles. Is this really worth getting so annoyed about, and rattling and unnerving this minimum-wage worker who just wants to make enough money to pay for a nice blouse and her university education? Just reuse the baggies for something at home, like sink trash and cat litter."

The sweaty woman in the mirror just stared back at me, the bloody weirdo.

Haven't seen her for a while now, fortunately.

14 ( +15 / -1 )

I`m used to it now (sad, I suppose)...but seeing drunk office workers (seemingly mature adults) passed out in the station, on the platform and on the train on a Monday or Tuesday night, sometimes as early as 7pm, occasionally decorated with liquid evidence of their last meal, was surprising to me many years ago.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

@Maria

Ha! Nicely put. I used to meet an English bloke like your middle-aged woman every day. Always moaning about life here, too. He disappeared right about the time I turned forty....

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Most of the weird stuff I have seen has occurred on trains or train platforms, often people shouting to no one in particular, or walking to and fro on the platform, pacing in circles, as if they are about to explode.

Other than that, you could probably fill a book on the subject. Certainly, the bizarre English usage, the crazy antics on Japanese variety TV programs, not to mention weird inventions.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I saw someone give up the priority seat for someone in need once.

I'm serious.

21 ( +25 / -4 )

Two months ago, One evening I dropped by the conbini nearby. I've already forgotten what I had to buy, but to get it I had to pass by the stacks with magazines. When I headed that way, I just noticed that the high school student standing there and looking at a magazine was....excuse me...masturbating. It was only me in the conbini, there wasn't anyone behind the counter at that time, and I wasn't frightened, but certainly disgusted.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

The other day on the Mita Line, an unkempt older guy was walking up to each door and licking the advertising stickers, virtually French-kissing the ones with faces. The horrified looks on the other passengers' faces were priceless. I have not touched a subway door since then.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Now that I've started...the place I used to live when I was still a student was crazy. A lady who lived on the same floor used to blast her music at 2-3 AM, and used to steal electricity by plugging her appliances into the outlets in the corridor or in the empty rooms. Another of my neighbors was bosozoku, and when they eventually threw him out, he left a s...t in front of the door. Another funny story was, when I was waiting in line in a drug store, some guy approached, flashed a camera in my face and took off.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

They tend to talk to themselves all the time. Also, everyone says yosh when they have to get up and get going. I`m wondering why everyone has to say the same it. Also, when a Japanese salesstaff says sorry to you for some reason they all use that high babytalk voice.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

I stepped out of the office with the intent of being gone an hour or so. A couple minutes later, I remembered that I had forgotten something from my bag, and when I came back to the office to get it, a coworker has happily rummaging through my bag, tossing its contents all over my desk. It took the coworker a few moments to realize I was behind them, when they looked up and saw everyone else in the room staring at me. I pardoned myself, reached over and retrieved the forgotten item from the pile and headed back out the door, telling myself this was just a natural cultural thing in Japan, that the coworker was trying to familiarize their self to me.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

I find it most curious when people bow to no one apparent while talking on their keitais.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Foreigners complaining about things that are the same back home, as though the problem is somehow unique to Japan.

Escalators going downwards at train stations where there's a wide staircase next to them (which means there's plenty of room for people to walk up and down). Not a biggie but can't comprehend why.

The occasional person who insists in speaking English when it's obvious I speak Japanese. I don't mind if they want to practice but I was a clinic once and they insisted in reading from the cards they had prepared. Only happened once, never went back.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

In Machida, on the Yokohama line, there was a guy who would stand on the train platform, listen to his mp3 player and sing and dance... in the highest falsetto voice I have ever heard. I mean it, think of a mouse imitating Michael Jackson. He kept his eyes closed, and never got on the train, he just waited at the platform. I've got a video of it somewhere.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

The odd guy in the onsen, drying 'that' hair with the common use hairdryer?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Visited Fukuoka once, and no one was sitting in the priority seats on the train. Same trip, at a surfing beach, wife got carried out really far by the tide, I swam out but was exhausted and couldn't fight it. Surfer saved us by pulling us back. Thank you surfer guy!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I've never had to convince others that I'm Scandinavian anywhere in the world. But twice I've had to in Japan, both times to Australians. So at the English or maybe Irish pub? In Hiroo right by the station by Hiroo crossing. I have a random conversation to some random Australian.

" So where are you from?" I'm Scandinavian. " you're not Scandinavian" Oh yes, I am. " I understand a little Swedish, why don't you speak it"

So I ended up speaking in order to prove to them that I in fact was Scandinavian. The they say.

" you don't look Scandinavian" and I say. You don't look Australian. Then they say. " Australia is a multi cultural country"

That was some seriously weird behavior I witnessed there.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Now I don't think twice about it, but when I first came here and saw everyone wearing surgical masks in public, I thought that was pretty weird.

The beer, sake, cigarette, porn vending machines on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere, and wondering why hadn't been broken into with all the contents stolen was also interesting.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Face masks. I can understand if you have a cold, but it's becoming a national obsession.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

Actually, come to think of it, something blew me away the other day. It was my neighbour's birthday the other day and she uploaded some photos of her birthday cake on to facebook. Along with the cake photos was a very strange looking "cake" made by her 4 year old daughter. The centrepiece was the woman's vibrator and various attachments "decorated" around the side. Umm, I had to think hard before pressing "like" for that one.

Very strange indeed.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Parents driving safely buckled up in their seats while their kids run amok in the back seats, heads out of the car.

12 ( +13 / -1 )

Uyoku dantai. The way they scream and rant and everyone just ignores them, at least they used to.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I used to visit the local Mr Donut's fairly regularly. Every couple of weeks or so, there would be a bloke sat at the counter nursing a coffee. He must have been in his early forties, a tad overweight and with very tanned skin. He was always dressed in a perfectly-pressed sailor suit with a knee-length skirt, white socks and with pretty sky-blue ribbons in his hair.

The weirdest part was the way nobody batted an eyelid; he was just another customer.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

I think we have all seen most of the above, or very similar, from time to time but I can add to the list: After 15 years of driving in Japan last week, for the first time, I saw a cyclist give a hand signal indicating that they were going to make a turn.

Onsen stories? Let me start the ball rolling:- Just starting to get undressed in the locker room when a youngish Japanese guy arrived next to me to use the adjacent locker. Pleasant looking chap, he looked like a Japanese Harry Potter, the sort you wouldn't mind your daughter bringing home. Then he took his clothes off; he had the full set of tattoos front and back, neck to elbows and right down to his knees. He saw my surprise and said in perfect English "you look surprised". I said "well, yes,just a little". He said "I know the owners and most of the customers here. In Japan you can never know for sure, always remember that" and went on his way.

Another time, another onsen, I had just returned to the locker room when a very old Japanese man followed by what looked like his son and grandson came in. He spotted me and called out "hello, are you American?". I said "Hello. No, I'm British". "Ah so" he said "I fought against the British in the war, you were very good". "Thank you" I said "I'm glad you survived". He laughed and pointed to the other two saying "they wouldn't be here if I hadn't". He translated for them and they went on their way laughing and bowing.

And finally, in yet another onsen, I had noticed this one other gaijin and then didn't see him again until I went back into the locker room where he had the locker almost next to mine. Both naked and pink from the hot water, we formally introduced ourselves and shook hands much to the amusement of the Japanese patrons.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

I don't think I could limit it to 20 pages. Some would definitely fit into the 'good' sense of weird, but most would not, and even then, it's just my impression. The grunts for 'yes' on the phone or in coversation, the "eeeEEEHHHH?" when you say the littlest things, the "Yossha!" when someone has to make the effort to stand up, and the constant suggestion you use chopsticks well are among a few things that are odd, in the negative sense.

Harry: "After 15 years of driving in Japan last week, for the first time, I saw a cyclist give a hand signal indicating that they were going to make a turn."

Awesome. I thought I was literally the only one in Japan who does hand signals, feel like a bit of a moron for doing them and watching people laugh, and know most Japanese do not know them, so I'm glad to hear it.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Awesome. I thought I was literally the only one in Japan who does hand signals, feel like a bit of a moron for doing them and watching people laugh, and know most Japanese do not know them, so I'm glad to hear it.

I'm pretty sure it wasn't you but am glad to hear that you do, you'll live longer that way.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Harry: "I'm pretty sure it wasn't you but am glad to hear that you do, you'll live longer that way."

Definitely was not me. I'm whiter than Casper the Ghost, despite the sunburn as of late, so you'd know. I'm just happy to know some other people make the signals. As to how much safer it makes me, it depends on if drivers know what it means, but I think it's like the axe-chopping gesture when you're going to cut through the line of people who should be using the stairs instead of the escalator blocking them -- they might know you're cutting through, or trying, so you may well be correct.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

A homeless guy with his pants around his ankles taking a dump in the middle of a busy street right around lunchtime.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Japanese talents clapping their hands while laughing on some variety programs.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

people using there hazard lights when parking on side of the road, even if theres a 2km traffic jam behind them. and when you beep your horn at them as you pass in frustration, they look at you bowing thinking your somebody then know or are beeping at them in a polite guesture, excuse me. LOL

1 ( +1 / -0 )

When I first came to Japan, out of curiosity I checked out a couple of adult video ( VHS at the time ) shops - holy schmoly, some of the hentai stuff is just really weird...

Maria ( first post ) - Har!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@ultradarkmelvin im surprised you dont get more, "where is Scandinavian, is that a country?"

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

There was a guy I saw a few times in Akihabara and around East Tokyo/Chiba a few years who looked like a man from the top upwards, kind of YMCAish but with a thick, black, bushy beard, big chest, rucksack, leather jacket, but from the waist down was a woman, spindly black panty type things, most cleanly shaven tanned long legs I've ever seen and big black high heels. I never saw him bat an eyelid at everyone staring at him.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Nothing is any longer weird for me because of the long time I have been here. It would be weird if they do not do those things. Now if you say annoying, then I can point out the horrible squeaking voice use thinking that it is cute. Some sound like mice. Some just whisper and sound like Sylvester the cat with their ZZZ.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Definitely one thing: the pride of the salarymen to say they are tired all day long and the wide acceptance of sleeping deep (literally snoring) in meetings even with senior management attendance.

This is THE piece of the japanese corporate culture that is miles beyond what I can understand.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Opening puking in public. In 11 years in Seattle I saw that happen no more than 2-3 times and I was younger and going out on weekends much more often then. I see it in Japan nearly every Thursday-Saturday that I am out in the city, and by out I mean just commuting home around 8 or 9pm.

Wobble Head - That is her head moving or not moment that somehow Japan has encouraged women to do to be "kawaii". That slowly wobbling head that is a toned down version of the dashboard bobble head applied to real human beings.

Duck Lips - Another effort at cute that just looks silly.

Watering the Pavement - I know people think this makes for a cooler environment but in 30 degree heat and 98% humidity this does NOTHING. It is just wasting water for an empty psychological benefit. Please people the world is losing fresh water and you guys are watering sidewalks? Knock it off!

Working late for no apparent reason. I have often seen people working on the same page of an Excel sheet for 4-5 hours and going home at 11pm. Non productive time lost from their lives in order to appear busy and to be able to have their colleagues see them as Gambaro workers. Go home and have a life. The economy and your health depend on this.
0 ( +5 / -5 )

There could be a whole category for weird behavior of pet owners. Top of the list for me was when I witnessed a man taking his dog for a walk, bending over with a tissue, and wiping the dog's ass.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

ultradarkmelvin: "I've never had to convince others that I'm Scandinavian anywhere in the world. But twice I've had to in Japan, both times to Australians"

I don't know a single Swede who identifies him or herself as a Scandinavian. In fact, the Swedes I know resent the national anthem because it literally says "Scandinavia" in it and they don't want to consider themselves as a part of that group instead of a proud, independent nation. So, my apologies for thinking you're not a Swede. In any case, don't blame your identity troubles on Aussies.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

I know a Canadian who has lived in Japan for more than 10 years and he doesn´t speak a single word of Japanese. It takes remarkable talent to not be able to string a sentence in Japanese after ten tears in this country. He still says, "how much" instead of "ikura".

6 ( +7 / -1 )

When I see a family riding in a car, the mother is sitting in the backseat with her child. Is there a fear the kid will die if the mom sits up front with the dad?

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Women in particularly during the warm months in Japan, saying "ATSUiiiii NEEeeeee" and they actually have so much clothing on, I mean, c,mon man.........

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

@John Occupythemoon Daly

In Machida, on the Yokohama line, there was a guy who would stand on the train platform, listen to his mp3 player and sing and dance... in the highest falsetto voice I have ever heard. I mean it, think of a mouse imitating Michael Jackson. He kept his eyes closed, and never got on the train, he just waited at the platform. I've got a video of it somewhere.

That guy is still there. I have a friend who lives on the Yokohama line. That guy is usually at Kobuchi station, one up from Machida. He sings idol songs and dances to them. This dude on Twitter has seen him too: https://twitter.com/osugy_tsuyoshi/status/294033147488788480

0 ( +0 / -0 )

yamakaji, hotaru = guys lighting up their pubes at nomikai

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I remember seeing a youngish guy on the train picking the dry skin on his face and then preceding to tuck into it. True story.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Duck lips are cute. Way bosses treat staff in large companies.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

@Harry

I think we have all seen most of the above, or very similar, from time to time but I can add to the list: After 15 years of driving in Japan last week, for the first time, I saw a cyclist give a hand signal indicating that they were going to make a turn.

Not doubting you but I used to go cycling with various clubs here. We always gave hand signals. As for your average mama chari rider, I'd agree that's photo material. Seems a lot more people (Not 100%) use their lights at night which is a good thing.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I met a woman earning over ¥200,000 a month the other day. Surreal.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

fds....... :-O no....really?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I don't have a problem with maids handing out flyers in Akihabara, in fact it seems normal (to me) but when those maids have large bunny ears I start to think it's weird. I can't remember the name of the cafe they were promoting but to me that was weird.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Besides everything of the above,here's another one..,when putting out the trash. They use the basket in the supermarket to cover their yellow bags also to avoid being messed around by crows, but wouldn't it be better if they use a proper trash can with a lid?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

"I know a Canadian who has lived in Japan more than 10 years and he doesn't speak a single world of Japanese"

Heck, why should he, all Japanese speak English, ha ha!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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