Japanese people think they are very safe. They will remind you very often that, “Japan is very safety!” However, to be clear, I will tell you they think they are safe. It is true that people are overly concerned about safety on all manner of issues. For example, one time the tremendously undersized school slippers were digging into my heels, causing me great pain so I slipped out of them while lecturing. Some student mentioned it was against the rules and I explained it was hurting my feet. Some other students joined in and I explained that I have had injuries to my feet before and those injuries were being aggravated. A teacher then explained to me that the children were all concerned for my safety for there might be something dangerous on the floor. Yet, the opposite is very much true.
Examples abound, but a good one would be how, when I first moved here, I would regularly see kids hopping around in the front seat of moving cars. Tomorrow morning I may see another. I was invited to go tubing. Apparently this is a very American thing, so they want to do it in Japan. I agreed to go as I recalled images of floating down the guadeloupe with a cooler floating in the next tube and having water gun fights.
I was awakened from the reminiscing by a reading of the list of required equipment. Items like wet suit, helmet, gloves, aquasox, life vest, … made me fall into another memory of class 5 rapids in a raft on the Arkansas in Colorado. I was hoping that they were just being overprotective, but I think we will be hopping in tubes to shoot through a vicious stream. I’ll don the safety equipment to be conservative, and hope I will be disappointed by the river’s speed. More on that after I return. (and of course, I still owe you more about yesterday’s post…)