There are so many cultural differences in my way thinking compared to the Japanese. A recent one was brought to my attention two days in a row, so thought I would share it here. Japanese parents do not keep real close tabs on their kids. In their defense, it is a relatively safe country. In days gone by, I allowed my kids to go to the park, etc. as long as they stayed together. Everyone knew where the foreigners lived, so if there was a problem, I knew they would make it back home. Kidnappings are not an everyday occurrence here. Kids walk to school or take public transportation. It is all rather orderly and somewhat impressive. There is one thing, however, that REALLY bothers me.
I was at the mall yesterday trying to get my shoes repaired. As I waited for the repair to be finished, I decided to do a little looking around. I saw a young girl about 2 years old, looking frantically for her mother. She started calling out for her mama. She was no where to be seen. The little girl began to run down the aisle of the mall crying and calling out. No one came to her aid. I started to follow her to make sure she would be o.k. I didn’t approach her because I knew that one look at my foreign face would bring the screams. The girl ran the entire length of the mall crying. At the end of the aisle, her mother casually walked out of a store she was shopping in and called to her. I could tell it was her mother, because the girl stopped crying and ran to her mother. This all took well over five minutes and her mother did not seem the least bit disturbed that her very young child was not at her side for that length of time. I witnessed the same thing today at another place that I had to visit to run some errands. I.do.not.understand. But it is o.k., I don’t have to. The experiences of the Japanese are totally different from my experiences as an American. It doesn’t make one of us wrong and the other right. We are just different. My American blood makes me look out for these little ones, when no one else seems to. They aren’t aware that I am looking out for them, but I am!