Bang bang

Tokyo: September

As we get on our way, my driver asks “Do you mind if I talk to you? and I smile to myself thinking how I was hoping to have a conversation with a cab driver during my 3 night trip to Tokyo.

He asks where I’m from and then tells me that he once visited London just for one day while en-route to Munich. As far as I can gather he didn’t get much further than Heathrow. I ask what he was doing in Munich and it turns out he used to import luxury European cars into Japan – every year there was a big conference and trade fair in Munich, so it was his job to come over. He doesn’t speak any German though, only English which he practices whenever he can.

His next question flumoxes me “what do you think of Japan’s economy and politics?”. I don’t feel even remotely qualified to answer, so instead I tell him how excited I am to be in Tokyo – that it’s a city that I think of as being deeply cool, and how I’ve found it much less of a culture shock than I was expecting. He asks what I think of Japanese food and I’m on much more comfortable ground, enthusing about sushi, miso, yaki soba and don. After each food I mention he nods in encouragement and repeats the food back to me and this assurges my sense of guilt over being economically and politically ignorant.

The conversation turns to the approaching typhoon – which finally hit on my last night in Tokyo, and was the main topic of conversation with everyone I met – he tells me the latest reports and that in his view it shouldn’t cause a problem with my flight home.

Somehow we jump from this to his hobbies and interests. He’s a city dweller with a love of the grea outdoors he likes to sail, camp and do clay pigeon shooting in his spare time. I can’t help but giggle, it seems so incongruous sat in the back of a cab in the middle of Tokyo. I ask whether he’s a good shot and he turns rather coy, instead of answering he demonstrates his technique “bang, bang!”


7 responses to “Bang bang

  1. Nothing since October, Have you been made redundant?
    Shurely you have been out since then !
    Do tell

  2. So you quit talking to cab drivers? Or did you start a new blog elsewhere?

  3. I had a baby and pretty much stopped taking taxis. I have had a couple of conversations since the last one here. Perhaps I’ll see what I can remember and write them up.

  4. This is really cool. I’m glad you made a blog about communicating with taxi people. It’s understandable you have something more critical to tend to now. Check out my blog if you need some reading material while the baby’s asleep. If you ever hop in my cab in NYC, I promise to give you and yours a great tour.

  5. Cab drivers have an insight into society which is so colourful. It’s always enlightening to get a glimpse into someone elses life. I bet the city was tense on your last night I can’t imagine what it is like now.

  6. I haven’t driven a cab for a while now but when I did people used to say things like “As a cab driver you must meet some pretty interesting people.”
    My response was usually “I sure do, but most of them are other cab drivers…”

    I recently started a cab blog of my own from all of the stories that i collected over the 4 years or so that I drove. It’s more about my lifestyle, the company, and the fellow drivers.

    If you get a chance –

    I linked back to your site as well.


  7. I will have to remember henry’s reply about meeting interesting people. That has got to be the most asked question I get as a cab driver down here.
    Great blog!!.

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