Wibbly Wobbly, Timey Wimey

| Right | August 2, 2017

(I work for a ferry service. We have multiple trips every hour.)

Customer: *on the phone* “Hi. What are the times for the boat?”

Me: “Well, we run all day long. What time do you need to go?”

Customer: “Okay, just tell me the last time it leaves the city.”

Me: “The last time is 10 pm.”

Customer: “You don’t have any boats before that?”

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You’ll Pay For That Comparison

, , | Friendly | July 25, 2017

Me: “Hey, can I hitch a ride with you?”

Friends: *teasingly* “I’m not a taxi!”

Me: “I know. I’m not paying you, am I?”

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They’re Never Above Your Station

, , , , , , | Hopeless | July 24, 2017

(This happens a week or two after I have just arrived to Japan for a student exchange program. I have yet to have my phone connected to the Internet at this point, so I have to rely on memory to get around. This, coupled with my liking to walk rather than go by transport, results in me getting lost a lot. This time I’m trying to walk home from university, but end up in a different part of the town altogether, and it’s getting late so I decide to just find the nearest subway station. Luckily, I at least speak some Japanese.)

Me: *walks into a convenience shop* “Excuse me, could you tell me what the nearest train station is and how to get there?”

Clerk: “Well, it’s a 20-minute walk from here and it’s a little complicated… Hey, [Coworker #1], there is a foreign customer asking how to get to the train station. Can you explain to her?”

(Coworker #1, an extremely nice middle-aged lady, calls Coworker #2, a young man, and together they try to explain the way to me in half-English, half-Japanese. Unfortunately, I am not yet familiar with local landmarks and find my Japanese vocabulary significantly lacking for words such as “highway” and “T-crossing”. Eventually they draw me crude map and, having thanked them, I walk out with it. They had even offered to walk part of the way with me, but that seemed like an obnoxious thing to accept, so I refused. As I am trying to follow the hand-drawn map, I hear footsteps behind me, and see a young man dressed like a typical office worker trying to catch up.)

Young Man: “Excuse me! I heard you talking to the clerk in that convenience store, and was wondering if I could help you find the way? Where do you want to get?”

Me: “[Neighbourhood where my dorm is], but I’m fine with just finding the train station.”

Young Man: “Well, if you keep walking like this, you’ll end up in Nara!” *a town over 20 miles away in the opposite direction from where I need to get*

(He then walks with me to the train station, making polite conversation as we go. I assume he just needs to go in the same direction anyway. As we get to the station:)

Young Man: “Do you know which station you have to get off at? I can look up on my phone.”

Me: “Oh, thank you, but I know. It’s [Station].”

Young Man: “Than you just need to board the next train from [Platform]. Here, use my train pass.”

Me: “Oh, no, thank you. I have the money.”

Young Man: “Are you sure? It’s [fare]. My pass is unlimited, so it’s okay if you use it. My company pays for it anyway.”

Me: “No, no, but thank you. Thank you very much.”

(As I head to the ticket gate, I see him waving and turning to walk off.)

Me: “Aren’t you going?”

Young Man: “Me? Oh, no. I actually live in an opposite direction; this isn’t even the station I have to board from. I just wanted to make sure you were all right!”

(Young man, thank you so much for helping me get home that night! This encounter meant so much to me back then, especially since I was in the middle of adapting to the new country!)

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When It Came To Crunch Time, They Lost

, , , , , , | Friendly | July 7, 2017

I work on a market stall on a Saturday. My boss is great, a really nice bloke who I have known for years, but he won’t bend over backwards to help just anyone.

The stall is at the top of the street, and it means that cars cannot park there on a Saturday til six pm.

This man drives up in his car — quite a nice car (this is relevant). It is packing up time, but everyone still has a lot to do and there are vans and trucks all over the place. But this man WANTS to come down the street and park!

He doesn’t start well. He is very rude to a teenage boy on the opposite stall. The boy’s dad is a tough Irish man and he goes over to the man and has a quiet word. The man backs off without a murmur!

Then he starts on my boss. He wants my boss to move his van. my boss tells him that he will have to wait as he is in the middle of packing up. He has the flap down at the back of the van; it is quite obvious that it would be highly inconvenient for him to move it on demand.

This takes about five minutes. We are all watching this bloke because he is being such an idiot.

What he does next is extraordinary.

He drives his car through a small gap right next to my boss’s van. It isn’t big enough, and as I said the flap is down. The flap catches on the door of the car. It is made of tougher stuff than the car door, and there is an amazing crunching and tearing of metal as this man’s car door is totalled, but he just keeps going.

There is much clapping and laughing and some jeering, and my boss says “if you could have just waited!’. The man does not respond. He doesn’t look at anyone or say a single word.

Hands down the funniest 10 minutes I have ever had at work.

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Acting Like A Complete Ditch

, , | Right | July 3, 2017

(I don’t work at this pub, but my family like to go there a lot for food so we’re pretty friendly with the staff, even with the owner. It’s nice and quiet in this building despite being directly next to a busy road with high speed traffic. The building itself has a river around two sides. A woman and her family walk in loudly, her talking loudly to someone on speakerphone with the phone next to her ear. We can’t understand her, but she is shouting, and eventually the owner comes and sits with us at our table, head in hands.)

Mom: “Everything okay? You look like you could use a strong drink.”

Owner: “I wish I could. I’d honestly take a straight tequila right now.”

Mom: “Is it that family that just came in? They are being very loud… Does she not know she’s on loudspeaker and we can hear her even at the back here?”

Owner: “Yeah, it’s them. It’d be great if it was something as simple as that; I could handle that. No, they… They crashed their car into the river.”

Me: “What?! Is everyone okay?” *I know First Aid and would have offered assistance if needed*

Owner: “Yeah, they’re all fine. They came around the bend too fast and went in.”

(Before we can say anything else, the woman appears at the doorway the section we are in, snapping her fingers at the owner.)

Woman: “You! Manager! Come here!”

Owner: *gets up with a small sigh, turning to her* “Yes, ma’am? We’re just waiting for the ambulance to get here to make sure your family is okay.”

Woman: “That’s not important. I want to know how you’re going to compensate me!”

Owner: “I-I’m sorry…?”

Woman: “My family could have been killed because of the river on your property and now we’re stranded here! Where is my compensation?!”

Owner: *speechless*

(Although normally I don’t like confrontation, I decide to say something.)

Me: “I’m sorry; you want him to pay you for you crashing your car?”

Woman: *turns to me with a look that could kill* “Yes, that ditch—”

Me: *interrupting* “You already fully admitted to him that you were speeding, all of which would have been captured on there.” *pointing to CCTV above the bar* “At this point, I’d be grateful none of your family was killed or even hurt because of your stupidity, unlike a family I had to help last year after they crashed into a tree.” *I’m getting upset and raising my voice at this point, despite my mom trying to calm me down.* “Now please, be quiet until the ambulance and police arrive because the staff here does not deserve your abuse when they’re already doing their best to help!”

Woman: *sputters a little before quietly going back to her family, saying something in another language*

(We eventually left after giving our statements to the police, and after I calmed down. The woman was quiet for the rest of the time we were there. When we went outside we saw the car.It was flipped almost on its roof and police had completely swarmed around it. Turned out the driver was drunk and speeding, not seeing the edge of the ditch, and flipped it into the water.)

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