Saturday, July 30, 2011
Hiding in plain sight...
Earlier this week I found myself on a business trip to the Kyoto area and as I was walking from the meeting venue during a short break I was quickly approached by a confused looking female tourist who had gotten lost and wanted to ask how to get to some temple in the area. Her relief in finding an English speaker was quite short lived though as I had no idea as to the location of the place she wanted to go (to add to the intial confusion, she was Asian-American and looked basically Japanese in my eyes). I didn't bother to explain that I wasn't Japanese, just that I "wasn't from the area".
Later in the day as I was heading home in the Shinkansen train I saw a quite confused looking tourist trying to find his seat and unsuccessfully trying to ask several passengers without really getting any help due to language problems. As I've myself many years ago also have been a tourist here without understanding much Japanese, I do make a small effort to help tourists on the basis that I would have appreciated the same.
So it's almost like having a secret identity that I hide and protect, but unfortunately I don't have any kind of special powers or anything noteworthy, but the secret identity can at least protect me from tourist related conversations which is not that bad in the end.