November 2014 Trip to Japan

Written by Lorna Shapiro

I knew I was in Japan when… the softly reassuring voice of the cabin attendant on ANA (All Nipon Airways) announced that the plane had landed at Haneda airport and we were now free to use our cellular devices… followed by “Of course we ask that you please refrain from talking on cell phones out of consideration for other passengers.” In Japan, talking on cell phones in any enclosed space, restaurant, train, in a line with other people, is considered pretty much the height of inconsiderate behaviour. Don’t you sometimes wish we had the same cultural norm? 

And I knew I had acclimated to Japan when… I was sitting in Haneda airport for my flight home and I was assaulted (that’s what it felt like) by one loud side of a cell phone conversation.  Suitably offended, I thought to myself “that certainly won’t be a Japanese person.”  I turned around to look and was shocked to find myself wrong… well, maybe she was a Japanese Canadian :-\