Wednesday, March 9, 2016

K.O. Outtake #2: The Last Supper

The following is an outtake from You Can't Spell Tokyo Without K.O.: A photo-essay dissecting the Japanese epidemic of passing out in public. This text was ultimately edited out of the final version for one reason or another (redundant, or didn't fit the book's tone, or distracted from the book's main themes, etc.), but I'm including it here because at least one beta reader mentioned that he or she found it worth reading.

The Last Supper

Like a dismembered limb twitching on its own, his right hand unconsciously clawed away at the empty basket, in search of the hamburger that was no more. His diagonal and unintuitive alignment with the table, with its pointed corner jabbing into his chest, suggests that his body had urgently shut down post-feast amidst his attempt to stand up and leave. Though he might have eaten his entire meal while seated this way, that seems unlikely because his chair partially blocked the walkway of this narrow restaurant, and the Japanese typically frown upon this sort of obtrusive public nuisance, even such a minor one.

Similar to the tight confines of economy-class airplane seating, most places in Japan afford patrons barely enough room to fit — or in the case of larger patrons, not nearly enough room to fit — with an unspoken understanding of common courtesy that one should avoid spilling over into a neighbor's seat, into the walkway, etc. In Japanese society an unambiguous line usually separates the acceptable (passing out in public) from the unacceptable (sprawling out in public).

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