Wednesday, 5 March 2008


If Britain is a nation of whingers, Japan is a nation of complainers. Complainers in the sense that it often seems the Japanese would rather resort to appeal to greater authority than sort out differences amicably and face-to-face. It is one of the their least becoming characteristics.

For example, tonight I was chatting to the local takoyaki guy, who sets up stall by the station every evening; as we were standing there a policeman approached and told him, brusquely, that he was going to have to pack up and move on somewhere else because somebody living in an apartment nearby had complained about noise.(Nevermind that this is right next to a busy train station.) That is, people would rather call the police to come and move a street salesman along, than go and talk to the guy face to face to see about coming to a mutually beneficial arrangement - like asking him to be as quiet as possible, or maybe move a hundred yards further down the street.

It seems a bit odd to me. As the takoyaki guy said, "When there's a firework display or a festival the people around here can't get enough takoyaki and we get on really well. But now they're complaining to the police. I don't understand it." Me neither; by going through the police whoever made the complaint has completely alienated the stall-holder and he might never bother coming back - whereas if they'd chatted to him amicably they could have smoothed everything over. And I would still have a cheap source of takoyaki, which is the main thing.


zero_zero_one said...

There have been complaints about noise levels from "The Raz" (a club that I am sure noisms has at least heard of), which is a nightclub that has existed for over twenty years on a street in Liverpool.

A few years ago a property developer built some luxury flats in the street behind it. Shortly afterwards, the complaints started. Despite defeating every legal challenge that has been made against it, The Raz continues to be the subject of complaints; a few weeks back, despite a review establishing that noise levels from The Raz were all within legal limits, Liverpool City Council went in one day and confiscated the sound equipment.

Now, I'm not part of the clientele of The Raz, but if you build apartments close to a nightclub you have to expect some noise?

Bilbo said...

This is a common thing in America, as well. People would rather call the police to complain about a noisy neighbor or a dog or whatever than actually walk next door and discuss the problem. I hope you find a new source of cheap takoyaki.

Amanda said...

I don't think I would be brave enough to confront the guy myself.....I think I'll fall into the category of complainers that calls the police. Or at least gets somebody else to do the dirty work :)