It was something I never anticipated witnessing in broad daylight or any day in my entire existence. This absurd experience happened one fine spring day this year. So absurd for me that it’s been playing in my mind month after month. I thought it would eventually fade in my memory after a month or so but here I am recalling and telling you about it. Perhaps this is going to be the first story among the many stories I’ll be putting out there.
The sun was shining but the breeze was refreshing. I figured it was a perfect time to try a different route. I decided to take my dog for a walk outside the neighborhood. Somewhere less shaded because I wanted to feel the warmth of the sun and the cool touch of the wind. Our house is situated not far from the main road that leads to one of the bridges connecting our city, Saitama and the neighboring Kawagoe city. Crossing the main road, there’s an outstretched hill that serves as a barrier in case Arakawa river overflows in stormy days. This 173-kilometre long river flows through Saitama Prefecture and Tokyo. Our city has a suburban pace but with more nature. That’s why seeing rice fields along the main roads isn’t an uncommon thing here.
That day, I went up the hill and walked down the other side instead of walking on it. A few minutes down the hill, a not so vast irrigated rice fields are peacefully set. The pathways in between are paved so you won’t get all muddy even on a wet day. It was a day where the grasses were trimmed so everything hidden was in plain sight. My dog got hyped up with all the flying and creeping creatures she saw and the interesting scents she picked up. As for me, I enjoyed looking up at the blue painted sky and following the free birds. We got to the part of the paddies where I spotted a guy wearing a white face mask and bright green jacket planted himself on the grassy slope along the fields. The distance between us was far enough for us not to recognize each other’s faces but near enough for me to make out what he was up to. I perceived him looking down at something which was impossible for me to identify from that distance. I had the feeling he noticed us walking closer and closer to where he was. It wasn’t my intention to put my nose in his business but the pathway that I was trying to go to was nearby his location.
I pretended I didn’t see him and he knew it. So he carried on with it until we were at a distance where he thought was not safe for him anymore. He got himself into an upright position and zipped up his pants as fast as he could. Then he moved along as if nothing ever happened. Unexpectedly, I didn’t experience the slightest unpleasant sense of fear because my dog was there and he didn’t really make the effort to approach us nor tried to do something aggressive. He left us alone alive and amused, particularly me. My dog didn’t give a damn about him at all because I reckon the guy was outside her danger radar. So it was just me who was trying to think of one or 5 ways to escape unscathed if something went out of hand. Thank God nothing happened to me and my little protector. As soon as he receded from my view, the cheeky side of me told me to go and investigate the scene of his dirty little secret.
Torn pages of a reading material were scattered in the area where he left a memory of him that I found funny and disgusting at the same time. The ripped magazine flaunted obscene images of Japanese women who looked younger than me. I laughed to myself as I finally figured out the thing he was fixing his eyes on the whole time he was basking in his little paradise. I’m not judging but what kind of grown-up man does a private act in the innocent rice fields while the sun is up and shining?
Well, maybe it’s different here. Sex-themed magazines used to be abundant in any convenience store in Japan which was hard for me to believe when I first arrived here. Sales of the said magazines might be back now that the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics are said to begin next year or once the big events are done. The demand remains strong especially for a certain group of shoppers. If that thing isn’t considered absurd here, maybe doing things like that guy publicly did isn’t a big deal here as long as you’re not recognized.
*The featured image isn’t the actual location.
Have you ever had an absurd experience living abroad? Care to share?
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