Momus’ first impressions from returning to Japan:
Some adorably cute kids, a boy and a girl, are slithering on steel rollbars by the airport window, pointing at the rain flecking the window. Their mother indulges them for a while, then calls them to her kindly. They respond with a loud ‘Hai!’, an obedience which is at once utter compliance and utter delight. Trained to question and resist and sullenly defy, I feel sadly post-Protestant in my grey NON NEIN NO t-shirt. It’s as if NON NEIN and NO are what my culture has trained me to say. Saying NON NEIN and NO makes me feel big and clever. I’m spiky, I take shit from no-one! I’m the boss, I’ll sue your ass! But when I see how charmingly they say YES here, I feel suddenly very small, silly, white and grey, like the anti-social individual using a cellphone, listening to loud music on headphones, or getting drunk and doing a stupid dance in the aisle.
Note for the new year: say YES