When I was at NWC, I used to quietly judge people who walked around campus with their headphones in their ears. I thought it was kind of rude. I thought they were closing themselves off from the rest of society. I felt bad saying "hi" or stopping them to have a conversation because they were absorbed in whatever they were listening to.

Since I've been in Japan, my opinion has changed. I now understand the appeal of wearing headphones everywhere-- I can feel immune to everything outside of me. I don't feel so out-of-place when I can hear familiar music. I don't feel so lonely. The constant staring doesn't even bother me as much when I'm listening to my music. If I can just walk along and jam to the RENT soundtrack, I don't have to get peeved at the kids pointing at me. I can pretend I don't hear the obnoxious high schoolers yelling "harro!" to see if I will react. I forget that I don't like my job, or even that it's effing cold and windy outside. The bottom line is this: when I'm listening to my own music, I can forget about all the external stuff that's bothering me for the half-hour walk home. I need that kind of release. And if someone wants to talk to me, I will take my headphones off and listen. As long as you don't interrupt me in the middle of a good song. ;)
written by Ruthie @ 9:21 PM  
4 thoughts:
  • At 2/28/2008 11:41 PM, Blogger aubrey said…

    Oh my, I TOTALLY get you. I have started doing the same thing this year and I am in significantly better moods because of it.

    I love you!!!

  • At 2/29/2008 9:27 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I agree on many points, but those kids are actually making an attempt to use their english. Say hello, back, ask them their names, ask them what school they go to. They will see you as a person then, and not just another foreigner who ignores them. You are their example of a foreigner, be nice.
    I always talk to the kids who yell Harro on my way to the station everyday and now they are far more polite.

    That said, sometimes a private listen to Queen really loud is called for!

  • At 3/01/2008 6:25 AM, Blogger Amanda said…

    I completely get this...since being in France, my iPod has become my best friend. Here, if you are listening to music people assume that you live here. If I were to walk around without headphones, I'd be pegged for a tourist and constantly stopped by people trying to get me to send money to some soviet satellite country, or to buy an ugly bracelet...or just bothered in general. My tunes keep me sane, and very often - especially on the metro, keep me out of quite a bit of trouble. It's not accepted to look at or talk to people on the street for more than a brief second here..headphones are the way to go.

  • At 4/08/2008 10:29 AM, Blogger Christine said…

    How things have changed in France in the last 30 years! Used to be, you could talk to ANYONE in Paris or anywhere else in France and Switzerland. Tant pis and c'est dommage!

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Name: Ruthie
Home: Japan
About Me: I want to know who God is and what his truth is. I love getting lost in beautiful music and cloudless star-filled skies, especially in the fall. I hate being bored. I like big cities. I want to travel the world.
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