The Empty Seat Phenomenon

I noticed that when I am on a bus or on a train, people (meaning, Japanese people) tend to sit away from me. In fact, if the seat beside me was the only one left empty, they’d rather stand and hold that handle…

Is it because I am a curly-haired, dark eyed, brunette gaijin, not as pleasant as the much anticipated blonde gaijins around? Or is it because Japanese people are so polite that they want to give me some extra personal space?


4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Dahlia
    Sep 24, 2010 @ 01:50:22

    Are you sure you don’t smell?


  2. Dina
    Sep 24, 2010 @ 08:01:30

    According to my Japanese shower gel, I should smell like “blueberries tornado”…


  3. Dahlia
    Sep 24, 2010 @ 15:33:40

    But that’s very bad to hear really, I mean should it mean they are a little tiny bit xenophobic ?


  4. Dina
    Sep 24, 2010 @ 15:52:24

    Yes and no.

    I mean, Japan is one of the most homogenous countries in the world (if not THE most) with only 2% of non-Japanese residents (most of them are Chinese/Korean… you get the picture) so that makes it kind of “justifiable” to feel uneasy about foreigners. At the same time, some Japanese would like to mingle with foreigners more than anything else, at the most random places; stations grocery stores, etc…

    My point is, if you’re looking for assimilation, Japan is not the place for you. Unless you’re planning to look Japanese one day…


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