Friday, March 13, 2009

Seriously seething

It's probably not a good idea to be writing a blog post while I'm angry, but I can't seem to help myself. I won't give too many details because it'd be highly imprudent, but I think I can safely say that I had my worst experience of Japan tonight.

Given that I'm pretty much a non-drinker, I've never been particularly fond of the Japanese drinking culture, but after a year and a half I'm mostly OK with it. It definitely helps that basically all of the people that I see intoxicated on a regular/semi-regular basis are the type who just get happier, more chatty, or, at worst, slightly rowdy when drunk. I have no problem with that.

In fact, when I think more closely about it, I suspect that alcohol-inspired "friendliness/chattiness" probably goes a long way towards softening the rather off-putting effect of my natural reticence. That is to say, I seem to talk a lot more with people at events where alcohol is involved.

But I discovered tonight that I have no patience for people who become rude and obnoxious when drunk. It's been a long time since I gave myself a headache from sheer repressed rage (and the last time it happened it was from anger over an accumulation of small irritations built up over time), but it was pretty much an unavoidable consequence of being stuck in a vehicle listening to the loud, self-righteous complaints of a drunkard. For forty-five minutes I (and a handful of others) had to listen to this person complain about and criticize anything, everything, and everyone. Talk about being abused "past the endurance of a block!"

I'm usually a forgive-and-forget kind of person, but honestly, that's the kind of behaviour I can't simply dismiss as a mere drunken foible; it's a reflection on a person's character.



Baikdanbagus said...

Hi Melissa,
I understand what you mean and it good that you can spill out the anger on this page. Hope you are ok. Love dad. I will talk to you at the first opportunity after my surgery on this coming Friday. Take good care of yourself and see you in August.

S said...

I'm sorry to hear that you suffered from such a horrible experience.
I also personally dislike this kind of drinking parties where people get quite nasty and I can understand you felt extremely uncomfortable especially when you were sobar.

I think these troubles often come partly from cultural differences.

I have heard of a theory that in Japan, people often get rid of their daily stress (accumulated from work, family etc.) by drinking with their collegues or friends, grumbling to one another, no matter whether the other people are seriously listening to them or not. Their sharing of hard life stories consoles them and helps maintain their mental health. Hence, rude or shameful attitude is forgiven and forgotten to some(or sometimes much) extent.

Contrary to Japan, in North America such drinking culture doesn't exist and business people are always supposed to get control of themselves whenever they are with their collegues even at a pub after work. In North America, if they acted like the Japanese people on your article, they will be strongly advised to go to AA(Alcoholics Anonymous). In other words, North Americans have no option to get rid of their daily stress, and their stress is left in their minds until it starts to take its toll on them. In stead of getting rid of their stress by drinking and sharing complaints with their co-workers, North Americans often go to mental clinics and have professional mental therapists listen to their woes of life. In Japan, going to mental clinics is sometimes frowned upon and regarded something special, and people normally try to forget bad things and get rid of their stress with the aid of booze. (since no malifana or other drugs are allowed in Japan)

I don't know which culture is better. But please note that it is largely cultural differences.

I hope you will learn some techniques to avoid getting the short end of the stick and ending up as a "free counselor" for those drunk people.

1. You don't have to seriously listen to others grumbling in such drinking parties because they are just enjoying the atmosphere and what they talk doesn't really matter. They will forget what they said the next day.

2. You can simply switch seats or leave your seat by going to the toilet and come back a few minutes later and sit at a different seat, and that person would have already started talking to other people.

3. Or you can go home making an excuse(such as you feel sick or you have something tomorrow) if you feel very uncomfortable.

4. Personally I recommend you just take a seat at the corner(safest zone) and order dessert or meals you want to eat and enjoy them while others are dead drunk. :)

Many Japanese girls often use such tactics to get by. :)

So I hope everything'll be all right and take care. :)

S said...

Sorry I read your article again and I thought..maybe you weren't at a drinking party but maybe on a bus? Then that guy is a real nuisance to the would be a torture to be next to that person.
Anyway, hope you will feel better now.

Presea said...

Yes, I was indeed on a bus. Well, in a van provided by the hotel, actually, so it was a very small, confined space.

I'm not mad anymore (writing about it helped me to get over it), but I don't think I'm ever going to be able to look at that particular person with the same amount of respect as before.