Comment on Catching the Rush-Hour Train- Sketches of Life in Japan

5 Sep

The text is a description of a part of Japanese society, the other side, told by Yuri Kageyama. Japan is portrayed as a culture that has predominant success, where everything is in order , as for Yuri, she has been trough tough times living her childhood in Japan, dealing with the chikan (men who grope women in the crowded subways) “My first encounter came in fifth grade. I was standing by the train door […] His hands ticklishly went up a down my arms, as though chivalrously helping me stand up on the rocks and starts of the rumbling train” (Kageyama, pp 67) which for me gets a little close to home, I also have encountered my shares of groping, not only in public transportation but in late afternoons coming back from school, I know how that feels, it’s anger mixed with disgust, not an easy feeling to bare, eventually as she mentions “ And as I grew older, even the chikan stopped.” (Kageyama, pp 69). Some how, we became immune to those situations. She also talks about that even though she left the city to live in the US with her mother, she could still remember her harsh experiences, yet she learned how to make the Japanese “part of the landscape” because she had returned to live there with her husband and son, both born in the US and seen as gaijin (foreigners) among the natives. For the family it was difficult, people just seem indifferent to them, her husband, who was a house husband, had it more difficult, “[…] while I worked full time, he was a category that did not exist in Japanese lexicon. He was a looser, extremely strange, possibly crazy, probably dangerous.” (Kageyama, pp 68) and her son also suffered from bad treatment, they were just outsiders trying to fit in a hermetic society, eventually Yuri’s family came back to the US. I would have done the same thing as her. Although the text gives a bad panorama of Japan I think that everyone has different experiences, we just have to learn how to adapt and not give in to those situations, but just try to live for our sake and not for the rest of humanity.


Catching the Rush-Hour Train- Sketches of Life in Japan

By Yuri Kageyama

Book Title: Multi America: Essays on Cultural Wars and Cultural Peace

Author: Ishmael Reed ( compilator)



2 Responses to “Comment on Catching the Rush-Hour Train- Sketches of Life in Japan”

  1. Yuri Kageyama September 13, 2008 at 12:13 am #

    Hi Thanks for your interest in my writing.
    I am touched by your observations.

    This is my blog

    Please link to it/drop a comment/ etc.

    I look forward to reading more of your poems and other writing.

  2. Yuri Kageyama September 13, 2008 at 12:17 am #

    I wasn’t sure if my previous comment was left successfully so just relaying my gratitude for your interest.

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