Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Grump, grump, grump

'Japan is not reproducing' is all one ever hears. 'There is a dearth of children' they say.
This may well be the case, although Japan (as many small island nations) has a history of maintaining low population due to lack of livable area surface. However, I fear that this might be one of the reasons the 'children uber alles' attitude, currently extremely prevalent in most of the US and Europe, has made it here as well... darn it.

When I was first here, 5 years ago (dear lord, time flies) and then again in Kobe, it seemed to me that most parents in Japan do a pretty decent job of controlling and disciplining their children. Sure, sometimes kids will be kids, which is totally normal. However, recently the level of permissiveness seems to have gone through the roof.

Recently, while at the drugstore, a young kid was rushing around like mad, vaguely watched by his father. The child proceeds to careen around a corner and run over my toes. My bare, sandal clad toes. Which of course leads to me hopping up and down, squealing 'itai!'.

What does the guardian of the kid do?


No 'stop that right now'. No 'come back here and apologize'. In fact, no apology whatsoever (shocking for Japan!). Just shout at the kid, and not stop him at all. All I know is that if I had ever done that in front of my parents, I would have been told to apologize immediately and be given a severe talking-to about respecting others.

Next day, on the train, two kids are in the seats, squirming, shouting and generally being obstreperous. So be it. Eventually they quiet down, and prepare to leave the train.

I am answering an e-mail on my phone when suddenly I feel a pull on my bag. And there the boy was. Tugging hard on the lock. Of my beautiful. delicate. Furla. purse.

'What are you doing?'

The kid's mouth falls open, and he retreats to his little friend. A 30-something onlooker gives me a dirty look (a la 'but hes only a chiiiild'). The older lady in front of me gives me a 'well done' nod. (A HA! Generational divide!)

I truly hope this is only summer vacation hijinks... but others have confirmed this phenomenon as well.

And this is not a good week to annoy me. My training results have plateaued (so I am hungry 24/7, but have limited choices of food I can eat due to braces), have had to miss several Hashes due to work, and have to jump through visa-renewal hoops.

I do my best to remain pleasant. But. don't. touch. the bag.


  1. Yeeess! It's lovely to know that I'm not the only person thoroughly annoyed with the lack of discipline among some parents these days.

    And I wish I could say it's young parents, but based on what I saw from a lot of my former students (children's English school), the young moms were super tough (young being the 21-27 range). The mid-range moms were much more lax, and much more eager to blame anyone else but their child.

    This is also why I stopped shopping for groceries on weekends and afternoons. The baby cars and screaming toddlers are just too much DD:

    You keep reprimanding those brats! I do hope the rest of summer is problem free though :3

    1. Yes, it does seem like it is the 30-something set who are the worst offenders!

  2. I've observed this a number of times in trains: when youngsters (anything younger than 18) misbehave, the only people who actually reprimand them are old-timers. The individuals most oblivious to the bad behaviour are inevitably ... the parents.

    PS: Summer holidays are not my favourite time. Summer, yes. Summer holiday, no. Lock them back up in the schools, says I. :D

  3. Aren't those bags £300 - £500+? I don't like strangers (especially children) touching me or my things, so I probably would've freaked out and yelled out a stream of bad words in English or something.

    I wonder why the behaviour of children has changed so much recently? Some kids in England can get by with murder. I was in the supermarket the other day and a child of between 3 and 5 had a trolly/cart and was swinging it around and around in the middle of the aisle while her uninterested parent eyed pork products. Things like this happen all the time, children running and screaming. The (usually older, occasionally grandparent) parent gives me the "Well, kids will be kids" speech as their children fly by, knocking into me and other patrons.

    1. I agree, the UK was much worse. When I was in London doing my Masters I was really shocked by some of the language I heard from patents and children, not to mention rough treatment.

      I usually buy my Furla bags on sale, and this one just happened to be the only I ever bought without looking at the price tag, because I loved it so much...