Friday, May 06, 2016

Respect Thy Neighbor

One of the things that I think I will miss most about Japan is respect.  In Japan, people are super respectful of space and others around them.

I love quiet!

I love considerate people!

A tradition in Japan is to bring neighbors gifts when you are moving into an apartment.  We were told this before we moved to Japan.  I got some cute little Peruvian knick-knack things to give to our future new neighbors in Japan.  Between the jetlag, starting a new job, trying to parent a crazy two year old and the massive language barrier, those little gifts remained in a closet for over a year and we never did formally introduce ourselves to our neighbors.

When we moved after about three years of living in Japan, I was more prepared and had a better understanding of the culture, so we brought cookies to our neighbor.  I wrangled the kids and sheepishly showed them a handwritten note (a friend graciously translated) to tell them who we were and to excuse our loud children.

Since then, we have had a few neighbors move in and out from around our apartment.  Tonight a new upstairs neighbor (note: we received a parting present from the neighbor who left a month ago) came by with her sons to deliver us a little gift with a note:
Between my broken Japanese and her broken English and with the help of introducing our similarly aged kids, we got through the formalities.

Unfortunately, I was unable to tell her we'll be moving out in a month... she'll figure it out when our shipping company commandeers the elevator or the teachers who are moving into our apartment in August awkwardly bring them a little gift.