Bizarre Foreign Experiences

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Bizarre Foreign Experiences

Post by spin13 » Tue 03.06.2007 1:47 am

I was working with some of the Air Corp members of the Japanese Self Defense Force (自衛隊) the other day and we were swapping stories about living in a foreign country. Now, these men, being pilots, aren't exactly your run of the mill Japanese. They're not exactly the firecrackers I've met in the US military's various flight programs, but they've got some good stories, some of which got me thinking.

One fellow's story went as such:
It was his first time in London and he was doing the standard tourist gig; Buckingham Palace, Big Ben - you know the drill. Sans camera and perhaps looking a little dazed and confused, a local approaches him in a rather friendly matter, camera dangling from his neck, and offers to take a photo of him. For just a few British Pounds the man offered to send a picture back home to Japan.

The fellow, being young and new to the land, thought a few moments and then reached for his wallet. He opens it up and, before he can do anything, the Englishman snatches up a few notes, counts them quickly, and says, "Yeah, I think that'll be enough." The pilot was a bit puzzled at the strange actions but was quickly distracted by a warm smile and instructions to pose.

Picture taken, he and the cameraman part ways and he wanders through the nearby sites. On his way back a short while later he sees the same man going through the same story with yet another Japanese tourist. "Kindness is one thing but this is getting fishy," he thinks. He approaches his countryman and, speaking Japanese, warns him that perhaps this man isn't all he says he is. Turning to the man they tell him his ruse is up and that he wont make a fool of two Japanese men today.

Hearing this the Englishman snaps, talking quick and fierce, full of anger. The Japanese men back away, quite startled, and start to walk off. They hadn't quite made disappeared into the crowd when they hear a yell and turn to see the Englishman charging them, camera bouncing this way and that around his neck, arms raised and more words about being ripped off. More than just startled they ran and ran only to be chased nearly a mile by their would-be con-man.

About a mile away and thoroughly lost the two men finally lose their pursuer. They stop to catch their breath and, wandering through the streets of London at dusk, trying to find their way home, they both agree that maybe foreign travel isn't everything it's cracked up to be.
While I could see the con from a mile away this story didn't end the way I expected. Neither did my night when the friendly, young salaryman I met in a bar and who had treated me to beers and pachinko and led me through the labyrinth of Ikebukuro's night spots turned out to be full-on yakuza.

What's your strangest story of spending time in a foreign country, particularly Japan? I'm not talking about, "Ooh, they eat fermented beans! Japan's so wierd!" What craziness have you experienced that goes beyond the stereotypes, beyond the typical? What truly bizarre things have happened to your Japanese friends in your country? Have these experiences made you think twice about living in Japan or some other foreign country?

Last edited by spin13 on Tue 03.06.2007 1:48 am, edited 1 time in total.

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RE: Bizarre Foreign Experiences

Post by PsychoSP » Tue 03.06.2007 11:18 am

One evening, an old man in approached me in the street and tried to hand me 2万円 in a gesture of friendship. He was so drunk I'm not sure he even knew what he was doing. I am sure he wasn't trying to con me, nor did he expect anything in return, apart from perhaps a friendly American face to talk to for a few minutes. Call me old-fashioned, but I told him to keep the cash until he was sober.

What's really strange is that it happened two more times, with different drunken sots and differing amounts of money.

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