Japan has a lot of elderly people. About a quarter of the population is 65 and over and with a declining birthrate there is a full-blown crisis happening. Living on a rural island amplifies this. I interact with the elderly almost as much as children – the trouble is 9.9 times out of 10 the elderly women are darlings while I mentally flip a coin each time I interact with an elderly man because half of them are pretty much crazy. Here is an example of an interaction.
Me: *walking pass an older Japanese man – probably around 70 years old*. Good Morning!
EJM: Hey you, where are you from? Why are you here? (all in impolite Japanese)
Me: My name is KB, I am the JHS and ES English teacher. Nice to meet you.
EJM: ENGLISH?!?!? This is Japan! We don’t need English. Go home, it’s okay, we don’t need you.
Me: Excuse me? Bye-bye!
I have had a lot of good experiences with some of the elderly males, like my air traffic controller pal and my boss. However, the crazy ones leave a long imprint on my memory – whether its the one that tried to run me off the road by clipping my rear-view mirror or the other one on the mainland who felt the need to physically inspect me on the train. What they all have in common though is that they are all elderly and angry/sad for whatever reason ( I actually think I know the reason) and I hope they can find happiness in their golden years. Ganbatte ne?