Thursday, September 23, 2004

Japanese hierarchy on the streets

While running errands today, I ran into a large group of Japanese people, men and women, all dressed up in business suits. The man in the front, clearly the head hancho, walked quickly, and as I followed them (by coincidence, not on purpose) I realized that if the blinking red light was flashing at a crosswalk, the head hancho would simply walk across the street at a leisurely pace, forcing those behind him to run across the street at high velocity through a red light, while cars honked impatiently.

For some reason, this reminded me of my time in Japan, and reassured me that despite stories of cultural change and rebellion in Japan, hierarchy lives on. These people were mostly young, and yet they paid the traditional deference to their boss that I had witnessed as a child.

It's nice to know that some things don't change.


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