I’m having one of those days where my head is a bit foggy, and everything spins from time to time. I’m not sure what is causing the dizziness but Marty is also feeling a bit strange. Brain fogginess and dizziness are not a good combination. I discovered that today when I was swinging my legs wildly while trying to walk down the steps to the train station. If I had just been dizzy I would probably have sat down until the dizziness past but since my brain is moving slowly it took me much too long to realise that the lurching and leg swinging could have made me fall. My first thoughts were all about Monty Python and nothing about how strange it was for me to be behaving like that in public. It also never occurred to me that maybe I wasn’t well and that I should have turned round and went back home.
When I got to the train station I saw a older women stop at the top of a set of steps with a pram. There are steps everywhere in Tokyo and it’s really noticeable at the minute as most of the escalators have been turned off to save electricity. I walked up to her and said “would you like a hand?” and then proceeded to help lift the pram. In Northern Ireland this would have been a perfectly normal thing to do. But not here in Tokyo. For a start I completely forgot to speak in Japanese. I wasn’t thinking straight at all, I was just falling into a pattern of behaviour. For some reason people don’t stop to help people with prams or wheelchairs in Tokyo. I try to follow cultural rules but at times I just can’t help myself. I can’t see an elderly woman struggle with a shopping basket in the supermarket without wanting to help. I have been told that it can be seen as insulting to offer help, that I’m suggesting that the person isn’t capable, but I feel so rude when I don’t help. And I can’t see a women with a pram at the top of a set of stairs without wanting to help.
I have no idea what the women thought about my help. She told me that she was fine, and that she didn’t need help, but by that stage I had already lifted the pram . I set the pram down, she thanked me, and I climbed the steps into the train station. It was only when I got to the platform that I realised that I’d forgotten to speak in Japanese. I hadn’t even noticed when she spoke in Japanese to me because I completely understood what she was saying.
I managed to catch the train and get the shopping without anything else odd happening. But I will spend most of the afternoon sitting down as I really don’t like the spinning sensation when I stand up.