I wrote 3 months ago about some strange stuff I saw one day. I've since seen much more pornographic sandwich board advertising and have even seen more of the little Michael Jackson impersonator. But until today I hadn't seen much more strange subway stuff.
I was riding home from school practicing Japanese and two Japanese girls sat down beside me. I didn't give them much thought and went back to trying to learn 3000 kanji so I can read a Japanese book (only ~2850 to go!).
A few stops after the girls got on the train I noticed a guy shoving himself through what was now a crowded subway car. He wasn't excusing himself as he pushed his way from one end to the other. He was making for the other end of the car but when he was perpendicular to the girl two spots to the right of me he made an abrupt turn toward her and pushed his way past a couple more people to stand in front of her. He grabbed two of the rings hanging from the ceiling and then leaned in, bringing his face about 4 centimeters from hers.
From the moment I noticed this asshole shoving himself through the crowd to the point where he leaned into this girl's face was about 10 seconds. At first I thought he was just a rude asshole; then I thought that this rude asshole must know this girl because he made an abrupt turn toward her. But he didn't.
Immediately after leaning into her personal space he repeatedly shouted "Sumimasen! Sumimasen!" ("Excuse me! Excuse me!"). He shouted for about five seconds and then, disgusted that the girl didn't acknowledge him, resumed pushing his way through the crowd to the other end of the train car.
I was totally fixated on this guy: from the moment I noticed him pushing his way through the crowd, to when he was shouting at the girl, to when he stormed off in anger, I didn't take my eyes off of him. And I was the only one. Not a single person cared that he was pushing his way through the crowd; not a single person cared that he was shouting at some girl; and not a single person cared when he resumed shoving his way through the crowd. The strangest part was that the girl he was shouting at didn't bat an eyelash while he shouted at her.
When the screamer exited the car I looked over at the girl and she was gorgeous - and very composed. Her beauty explained why the guy took an interest in her but I wasn't able to figure out how she remained totally serene. It bothered me more than it did her that she got screamed at by this guy. She acted as if he hadn't existed. Maybe she's adjusted to these kinds of things the same way women in North American adjust to being hooted and hollered at?
If I spoke better Japanese I would have loved to talk to her about the whole episode. If I ever see her again I'll have a leg up on the competition, too - I'll know not to break the ice with a "Sumimasen."