Interviewed & written by Isao Tokuhashi
Mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Jeffrey Hirsch (USA)
Police Department Officer of the railway company
We usually meet and talk with people who live in the Tokyo area. But Mr. Jeffry Hirsch lives in Los Angeles, US, not in Tokyo, nor even in Japan. Why is he in Japan? …You will see.
*Interview in Yokohama
A Spartan training
This is my fourth trip to Japan. On the first trip, I got a little bit confused because I had to get a bus from the Narita Airport to Yokohama Station by myself. So I was a little nervous. That was about three years ago. My wife didn’t pick me up at the airport.
(His wife, Nana: “That was a kind of a Spartan training!)
She told me I’d have to take the bus to Yokohama Station by myself. It was a training. When I arrived, I wanted a telephone. And I figured out how the phones are different here obviously those in America. I had a phone card so I put it in. I didn’t understand anything they said on the handset, but I dialed the number she gave me. It rang.
I told her I had arrived. She told me to look for the bus counter to Yokohama Air Terminal. There was nothing on the signs that I was able to figure out so didn’t know what to do. They didn’t speak any English at the counter. Very little English and they told me “Twelve”. I had to stand next to the pole 12.
I was pretty nervous in the beginning, but once I actually purchased the ticket, it was easy. I got on the bus and sat there for 90 minutes looking at Japan for the first time.
Waitresses don’t come to your table until you call them
I couldn’t understand anything what anybody said. I couldn’t read any signs. When I finally did get to Yokohama and my wife and mother-in-law met me there and we went to the restaurant. It was my first real experience of Japanese culture.
First thing I noticed is waiters and waitresses. They don’t come to your table until you call them. That’s entirely the opposite from where I am. Waiters continuously come and ask you in the U.S. Here they won’t bother you unless you call them to your table. I like it.
There are a lot of things I like better than in America. No tipping… that’s good. I’m anti-tip. I think people get paid to do the job so we should pay more to do the job. So I like here, too.
It seems Japanese people are proud to be Japanese. The sense of patriotism is kind of disappearing in America. A lot of Americans talk bad about the government. They are not proud of where they live. They don’t take care of where they live. They throw trash on the ground. On the other hand, you don’t really see that here in Japan. People are proud of their country. They try to take care of that.
Japanese women are like fashion models
Also I like the public transportation system. You don’t have to drive everywhere, figure out where the park is.
And Everything is on time. I’m working for a railroad company in America. If the train is delayed 15 minutes, that’s pretty good for us. People don’t get upset. Here, one minute. They try to be on time.
Everybody tries to dress well here, especially women. Almost like a fashion contest. Everybody’s trying to wear the new, best, expensive stuff. It seems really common. Stores have so much more variety on everything. You go to a store in America, like a shoe store, and you may have 30 or 40 different styles of shoes. You go to a shoe store here and you could have 150 different styles of shoes in the same store.
If I lived in Japan with my wife, I would start going crazy
Only real cultural trouble between my wife and I is, I think, maybe some of the food. She gets tired of eating American food. And I don’ t need anything that is not cooked. So sushi is not something I eat. It’s not cooked. That’s a kind of problem obviously. She likes sushi. Many times she gets tired of eating the type of food that I like.
I think I could live in Japan. Actually we’ve discussed living in Japan. She doesn’t really want to. She would rather live in the United States. But I wouldn’t mind living here. The thing that would bother me the most if I lived here is “too many people all the time”. It’s too difficult. Always people, always crowed. I think I would get tired of that if I was here a year, after a year, after a year.
Another thing is… my hobbies. I like outdoor hobbies. I have three motorcycles. I have a dirt motorcycle and a mountain bike, and I have a 4WD pick-up truck. I like going out and doing that. So I might have to change my hobbies, or I would start going crazy because I couldn’t do things I want to do. I don’t know if I would start to feel like Japan is too small for my hobbies. Or my hobbies would change… I don’t know. But I think I can live here at least for a while.
I’ve married her because I liked her
I think most of the guys that marrying Japanese women are looking for Japanese women. So they try to learn Japanese and they wanna become a part of Japan and get Japanese girls. I didn’t do that.
I’ve married her because I liked her, not because she is Japanese.
So I’m not trying to become Japanese.
I selected her because I liked her.
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