Item From the Past: Osaka Subway Kids
November 3, 1991
I was in my stride last week and the week before as an amateur tour guide, showing Steve around. My four-day work week left plenty of time for that pleasant task. The high points of his visit sometimes came unplanned, such as the two-station subway ride in Osaka with a swarm of elementary school kids.
Swarm is the right word. School field trips in Japan often aren't by bus, but by subway or train, if you can imagine that -- a whirlpool of little uniforms and monocolor caps and animated Japanese faces. Most of the time, I can dodge subway cars packed with such a group, but last week Steve and I walked unawares right into one. He became an instant celebrity among the kids when he decided to take a few pictures.
My own instant fame, because I could speak some Japanese to the kids, was only a little less. We focused those kids like iron filings to a north and south pole, but it didn't last long. We got off to change trains after a few minutes, while the kids continued on their field trip. Since it isn't really possible to acclimate yourself to the experience of Japanese-style mass humanity after only a week in country, Steve was a little flabbergasted by the moment. It was a good flabbergast, though.