Japanese people have a reputation for being polite and well-mannered, so the frequent sight of so many people, rather than giving up their seat as they should, suddenly becoming engrossed in their smartphones or pretending to sleep when a pregnant woman or elderly person boards always comes as a bit of a surprise to me.
Of course, there are still plenty of kind and courteous people who offer up their seat without fail. On such occasions, the elderly passenger will often decline the offer, either because they will be getting off in a couple stops, or because despite appearances they still feel young and genki enough to stand for the journey. One elderly man in particular, though, took offense at a young boy who kindly offered up his seat recently.
According to Japan’s Livedoor News, the man, who just turned 70 this year, still has a lot of youth in him. Apparently looking about five years younger than he is, he says he still feels like he’s in his 50s rather than being a pensioner. At his class reunions, he is often revered as the “man of eternal youth”.
Sure, getting old is a bit of a drag for all of us, and when you really are getting up there in years it can be a bit of a blow to be reminded of how old you really are, especially if you still feel so young.
But to a middle school-aged boy, you are still an elder, and if the boy had been taught any manners he would have learned to offer up his seat to you; which is what happened when the aforementioned 70-year-old and his wife got on the train.
Apparently, just as the man’s wife thanked the boy for his kindness and was about to sit down, her husband went off on the poor kid:
“Hey, kid! How old do you think I look? Huh?” he screamed. “What about me looks old, tell me!”
The boy reportedly apologized profusely as he ran off, much to the shock of his fellow passengers. And when the man’s wife pulled her husband into a different train car, probably to scold him for creating a scene, the couple got into a huge argument.
Let’s just hope that the poor kid hasn’t been scared off of offering his seat to another person who might need it (or at least someone who will graciously decline the offer).