Oct 262010
 

As I have mentioned before, there is a rumour on the internet that Japanese people will refuse to sit next to obvious foreigners on trains, even when the train is very crowded. As I have also mentioned before, I see no evidence that this is true. Today, I wish to report further evidence.

Japanese people are perfectly happy to sit next to foreigners even when the foreigner is throwing up.

Well, strictly speaking it was Mayuki who was throwing up, and she has dual citizenship, so she isn’t a foreigner. She’s also three, which probably makes a difference to the immediate reaction. Still, the high school girl sitting next to me and the woman sitting next to her were helpful, even though the girl got slightly splashed. There wasn’t a great deal I could do; I was holding Mayuki on my lap, and trying to make sure that she threw up on me, not anyone else. We were given a lot of pocket tissues, and the woman even gave us a handkerchief, which she didn’t want back once it had vomit on it.

Oh yes, there’s also the claim that Japanese people stare at foreigners. Well, walking through a crowded station being very foreign and covered in vomit, only one person gave me a noticeable second glance. On the other hand, father and small daughter, both covered in vomit: it doesn’t take Sherlock Holmes to work out the story behind that one.

Fortunately, I had a full change of clothes for Mayuki with me, and, using the handkerchief, I was able to clean myself up enough that we could enjoy the main purpose of the trip. That was a visit to a Thomas the Tank Engine theme park, where Mayuki went on the rollercoasters several times, and wasn’t sick at all.

On the one hand, this is a good candidate for “worst Japanese travel experience”. Not just a crowded rush hour train in Tokyo, but being thrown up on the middle of it. On the other, it showed the Japanese people around me in a very good light. A good experience overall, then.