Japans | Motivatie | Obatarian | Problemen | Studenten |

Een Jaar In Huis ten Bosch:
3. Obatarian

Although the students did not have to work, it was nice to lend a hand now and then, for example with the tulip festival. Dressed in Dutch costume we were expected to hand out tulips which we carried with us in a basket. Thorough as they are, the management planned a half-hour route for each student to walk through the village. Reality proved a bit different.

As soon as we put a foot outside the door and the Japanese saw us giving away flowers, we were completely surrounded by them, in thick circles, and hands would be stretched out towards us from all directions, mostly asking for flowers, but the famous 'obatarian' (a contraction of obasan, meaning old lady and batallion) would just grab them from the basket, denuding us of our flowers within three minutes.

That job was by no means arduous. But mostly upon seeing a Westerner the Japanese show no reaction at all. This disinterest is, as so many things in Japan, only outward, once one approaches them they cordially engage in conversation, and often one ends up with their address and the well-meant invitation to visit them sometime.

(Geen Nederlandse vertaling)