Whew! I made it to my train. I even had time to stop pick up two onigiri (rice balls) and a bottle of orange juice. The Tsukuba Express train smoothly pulled away from the Akihabara terminal. I wasn’t going to wait 45 minutes to eat, so broke out my trusty torigomomku (とり五目) rice ball and started noshing away. It was soooo good to be eating that rice ball! I was extremely hungry. As I was eating, the train made a sudden shift and l lost my balance, sending a chicken chunk from my rice ball directly into the man’s bag standing in front me. I could see the chicken and wanted to reach in and get it out. Being the only African-American in this particular train car, and knowing it would be hard to not look like a pickpocket…I decided against it.
I shifted my eyes to the right, away from the chicken piece I had just dropped. As I my eyes were moving, I caught a glimpse of something quite interesting, pictures of naked, Japanese women. The man to the right of “chicken man” was looking at naked lady pictures. Really??? Right here??? During rush hour??? He was totally in his own little world, just gazing away. There’s nothing wrong with admiring the female form, but I was a little shocked because I had never seen anyone, let alone a Japanese person, doing it so openly on the train. I just let him do his thing, and just stared off into space hoping that it would make the ride faster, but for some reason, I couldn’t zone out…
The day already seemed quite long because the English class schedule had to be re-arranged to fit in time for the undokai (運動会) or elementary school sports festival. I didn’t have a problem with the schedule change; I just went into every class and gave it the best I had. Immediately after work, though, I had to run…in more ways than one. First I had to high-tail it to Tokyo to make it to this potential gig, where I literally had to run short sprints. It wasn’t overly tiring work, but when you combine a full teaching day, with hustling to the station, with the park running on a nice warm day, I have to say I was smelling rather…well…ripe (I hate to admit it, but it’s true).
Because I was going home during the evening commuter rush, it meant no seats and train cars that were packed to the brim…standing room only. These most certainly aren’t the best conditions to be in if you don’t smell so fresh. I felt so bad, because I could smell myself!! If you can smell yourself, you can be [email protected] sure that the people around you can smell you, too (especially in an enclosed space). I wanted to curl up into a ball and just hide in the corner of the train car, but THERE WAS NO ROOM FOR THAT!! I just had to wait it out. You know what I found funny, though? I smelled so terrible, and I just happened to be standing in front of an advertisement for Kirin’s new drink called…get this…“Pungency.” I couldn’t help but laugh at the irony…how embarrassingly fitting.
It’s time to go home and take a much needed shower. In the words of that great, Atlanta poet, Andre 3000…
“Stank you smelly much.”
DO YOU HAVE ANY WEIRD JAPANESE TRAIN STORIES?
P.S.- GEEZ!! What is up with the train comedy this week? I was riding the train the following morning and two more interesting things happened. There was an older gentleman who had managed to pull off one of the most “unique” comb-overs I had ever seen, but there was this long tuft of hair hanging down . As the train was in motion I just watched this pendulum-like, long hair tuft just moving, swaying to and fro. I wanted to take grab the hair it and lay it across his head so badly…just to keep it from hanging there.
The other, more disgusting, thing that happened was that there was a man who sat next to me, who kept picking his nose and rolling whatever it was he was pulling out (because he was digging so much, I’m sure he was pulling out pieces of his own brain). I swear that out of my peripheral vision I saw him eat one!! I wanted to look over and ask “Oishikatta desu ka?” “Was it good?” I couldn’t keep myself from making an “eww” face at him. It was like an automatic reflex. He must’ve thought I was the stereotypical, angry black man, but bro, if you’re going to blatantly eat boogers sitting right next to me…dude you can think whatever you want. I was just happy for a short ride, LOL.