Japanese smoking culture thwarts elderly gent’s gesture of courtesy in this sad tale from a ramen restaurant.
While the Western world has increasingly been embracing smoke-free environments for a while now, Japan is still firmly entrenched in a smoking culture that allows cigarette advertisements and smoking in public spaces, including restaurants. While more family-oriented establishments make perfunctory attempts to separate smokers and non-smokers with ineffectual glass screens, most places don’t bother. In fact, in some of Tokyo’s smokier bars and restaurants you’ll be lucky to taste or smell anything you’re eating through cancerous clouds of blue smoke.
That little pane of glass is about as much use as a chocolate teapot.
Image © RocketNews24
But even in Japan where there’s not such a big stigma around cigarettes, some smokers are still very conscientious about trying to keep their bad habits from affecting others. The trouble is, their courtesy often goes to waste. An incident at a ramen shop, documented by Twitter user @s_katsuragi got us thinking about the state of Japan’s smoking culture and whether courtesy on an individual level is able to make any difference at all. We’ll let the tweet speak for itself:
ラーメン屋で隣席に座ったダンディなオッサンが「タバコ良いですか？」と聞いてきた。もちろんOKと言った。 直後、逆隣に母子の親子連れが座った。 オッサンは何も言わずに、火をつけたばかりのタバコを消した。 格好良いオヤジだなぁ……と憧憬。 なお、直後に母親がタバコを吸い出した。—
かつらぎ (@s_katsuragi) January 02, 2015
“A dapper old gent sitting next to me at a ramen restaurant asked me if it was okay if he smoked. Of course I said OK.
But then, a mother and her child sat down on the other side of the old man.
The old man silently extinguished his just-lit cigarette.
I was very impressed by this gesture.
Seconds later, the mother started smoking.”
The incident in question actually occurred in January last year, but it’s been revived through recent internet discussion in Japan on the subject of smoking etiquette.
▼ “The end of the story sucked, but what a cool old gent!”
ヨーネル・ニャンダース (@NyandarsY) September 24, 2016
▼ “I bet the old dude was like ‘HEY! Seriously???!'”
隣の席に赤ちゃん連れの親子がいたのでタバコ控えてたら その親がバンバン吸い出すことがたまにある このおっさんも内心 「オイイイイ!!吸うんかい!!」とツッコんでるに違いない twitter.com/s_katsuragi/st…—
こうちゃん@7/16ゼーガペイン舞浜 (@wardog19110119) September 23, 2016
What do you think of this situation, and smoking in restaurants in general?