Wasabi Stories vol.38: “Don’t Avoid Troublesome”


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“Don’t avoid troublesome”

Today’s story teller is a scholar of French literature, Shigeru Kashima.

Being a man of French letters, he often stays in France, where he sometimes does things in Japanese way by out of habit.

At a supermarket for example, when he pays at a cashier’s counter, he has a habit of putting a basket with items inside on the counter.

It’s a natural way in Japan but in France, customers take items out from a basket and put on a belt conveyer.

Another habit at a cashier’s counter of him is that he passes the counter without saying anything.

Usually customers look at the cashier’s eyes and say “Bonjour!” but he unconsciously passes with no words in Japanese style.

So the cashier questioningly says “Bonjour?” as if to imply him to hello, and he realizes “oh right, I’m in France now!” and quickly replies to the cashier.

According to Kashima, in France, customers and store clerks usually exchange “Bonjour!” right away, which surprises the Japanese people who got used to be silent with store clerks.

By comparing these habits, Kashima realized something.


“In France, there is no such convenience store like ones in Japan which are 24hour and carrying everything. Even vending machines are hardly found.”


He reflected what mutual hello exchange and absence of convenience store in France mean.


“There must be strong wariness towards the human nature of ‘hating troublesome’ that would get excessive if it’s left alone.”

Kashima’s view is that the wariness seems to be clearly reflected by the Catholic percept that a man who avoids all troublesome will corrupt.

A former French coach of the Japan national football team, [W:Philippe Troussier] said when he leaves the team, as long as there are convenience stores and vending machines, Japan’s football doesn’t get strong.”

Kashima concludes, “’hating troublesome’ has been a Japan’s national motto after the war. It must be time that we took Troussier’s warning seriously.”


The NIKKEI May/19/2009 by Shigeru Kashima (Scholar of French Literature)


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