[The American Years]

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Greetings from Japan. Day 3. I'm cheating by posting on Saturday, your time. Don't tell anyone.

A short note today about elevator protocols. The rule of thumb of course in America is that women get off the elevator first while the the men wait or hold the door or whatever. Not so in Japan.

It's more of a free-for-all here, but there is a rule of thumb. I think it's more of a free-for-all because the Japanese are train riders from way back. Between when the doors open and when they close there is not a lot of time, so efficiency trumps etiquette. People get out quickly, then people get in quickly.

The rule of thumb that is practiced when smaller crowds allow is that men are to exit first. I think the image is that the warrior must go first to make sure that it is safe for the maiden. Something like that.

Early in this stay in Japan I was in an elevator with another American man and a Japanese woman. All of us strangers. We were on our way to the ground floor. When the doors open there were people ready to board the elevator, but none of us were moving to get off. The other man and I were pausing to allow the woman to go first. She was pausing to let us go first. For about 2 seconds, nobody moved. So then the people waiting to get on weren't going to wait any longer, and they started to board. Pandemonium.


Below is the prototypical Japanese work truck. No, somehow the Chevy Silverado V12 Crew Cab Super-Manly Possum-Squasher Edition with optional Testosterone Coolant never caught on over here.

These little trucks are... little. I should have put my shoe next to it for reference. (But if I had, you wouldn't have been able to see the truck.) You can get any color you want, as long as it's white.

Until tomorrow (your time).

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