Wednesday, March 23, 2016

K.O. Outtake #4: The Subscriber You Have Dialed Is Currently Unavailable

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.

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As an example of the blatant indifference with which the Japanese sometimes discard their personal effects, this gentleman's neglected mobile phone could have been snatched up so effortlessly that to some pickpockets it may seem too good to be true.

Before passing out, many Japanese people display considerable courtesy toward others by curling into a ball and tucking themselves into a nook somewhere out of the way. Others put forth seemingly little thought or effort toward courtesy and simply spread themselves into the most comfortable position available, flagrant and unapologetic.

Even on less crowded late-night trains, shamelessly sprawling out across five seats — especially with one's shoes on — would generally be considered uncouth, but this particular gentleman exhibited a curious inconsistency: despite his lack of etiquette, he extended the courtesy of setting his mobile phone to silent before banishing it from his sight, and it made not a sound other than the soft hum of occasional vibrations as it slid across the floor, one notification at a time.

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