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Burglars (Imagined) and Taxi Drivers

Posted on 2006/10/04 14:14:53 (October 2006).

[Tuesday 3rd October]
Somehow I ended up quite unintentionally kicking off this week with two nights out in a row. Another guy from the office (a fellow gaijin) suggested going for a drink, and I'm always very loathed to turn down opportunities for socialising like that whenever they arise. Again we just went out in the area around the office - a different izakaya to last night though this time. It was very nice though - we had a long chat ranging over a number of themes, including, of course, the trials and tribulations (as well as some of the positive aspects) of living and working in Japan.

The evening was interrupted part way through with me having to go back home suddenly - I got a call from Chie saying the door to our apartment was open (not wide open, just not locked). She was worried we might have been burgled, and didn't want to go in by herself. It was, of course, a false alarm - obviously I'd just rather stupidly forgotten to lock it on my way out in the morning (hey, these things happen - I'm only human!).

As it was only just after 8 at that point I was determined not to just call it a night, so I actually went back to the station near where I work (about a 40 minute trip each way). The guys from the office were still at the izakaya, and so I resumed the night out from then on.

It actually ended up being rather a late one - somehow or other we lost track of time, or were just too lazy to get up and go home. I missed the last train (by about two hours!), and so I had to get a taxi back home instead.

I've taken taxis by myself quite a few times now in Japan, almost always on the way home after a night out. I've developed a habit of always trying to make conversation with the driver - a kind of etiquette I assume (perhaps naively) to be fairly irrespective of which country I'm in. I wish I could record some of these conversations, as they're often quite amusing (to me at least) - what with my broken Japanese and everything. Last night we commenced somehow or other talking about sport - like I can even maintain a conversation on that subject in English!

Then after a while we both fell silent, which I considered to be really letting the side down a bit. So I racked my brains for a "topical issue" to discuss. The best I could manage for a conversation starter was "Abe-san wa dou desu ka?" - what do you think of Mr. Abe (the new Japanese prime minister). To my relief, the driver then launched into a long spiel, which I didn't fully understand, but it seemed very much like I wasn't required to participate, which suited me fine. The small bits of political insight that I was able to pick up include such fine morsels as: "Koizumi-san (the outgoing prime minister) is older, but Abe-san takes his job a lot more seriously". I will almost certainly regurgitate this little nugget verbatim next time I am required to voice a political opinion, as though it were my own. The likelihood is that such a scenario will occur next time I take a taxi, so I only hope I don't somehow end up with the same driver.

Comment 1

And you could probably adapt this phrase for almost any country you are in!

Posted by Mum at 2006/10/04 15:49:12.

Comment 2

do japanese burglers exist? do they break in, do a bit up tidying and do the washing-up before politely leaving?

Posted by kev at 2006/10/04 21:52:02.

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