Generally speaking, I found that Japanese people keep to themselves and don’t try to initiate conversation with gaijin like myself (and no, this did not upset me). There was one notable exception to this general rule, however. At least two dozen or so times I had small children—normally part of some sort of school group—either pass me by or walk over to me and say “Hello, how are you?” Some of those instances were part of school projects they were completing (see my Origami Crane post from last month) but other times they didn’t seem to have any agenda. These kids didn’t know enough English to actually carry a conversation and our little chat usually ended after I gave them a reply. Perhaps they haven’t been fully trained in Japanese societal norms yet, perhaps they wanted to practice what little English they knew, or perhaps they found some sort of humor in speaking with me. As a bumbling gaijin idiot, I certainly can’t discount that last possibility.

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