I’m walking in a bright yellow raincoat when a bro in ray-bans leans out of a car and spits some chilled-out-bro slurs to the jacket and my manhood. While this is happening I squint at the sun and wonder: “Does this happen in Japan?”
It’s been on my mind lately: What small daily grievances have I assumed are universal that could be distinctly American?
Street graffiti – ‘penis’ scrawled in an illiterate penmanship on a mailbox – triggers Holden Caulfield-esque disappointment for me, which quickly becomes sociological bewilderment. Disturbing crime stories: triple homicides, random stabbings, biker gangs, ‘the highest number of sex-offenders per capita’, etc., have me jaded about lobster-and-lighthouse Maine, my idealized land of can-do New England pluck and down-home potato-charming rustic folk.
Of course Japan isn’t a land of sushi and cat-eared children delighting in social harmony and friendship. But I wonder what the new frustrations will be, and it’s a weird kind of excitement. It will be a relief to know that I chose that set of problems. Here, I don’t feel so empowered.