Today is one of those days where I plaster a smile on my face but wish I could just be invisible and disappear. I wasn't ready for today.
I'm that foreigner who's dressed all wrong, but really can't put the blame on being a foreigner, I guess, I'm just out of the loop... I guess because I didn't ask; I didn't ask to be put into the loop, I didn't know the right questions to ask. But oh well. Gaijin smash. Think wrong things about me, OK, can't do anything about that...
But this morning's bus right to work was more interesting than usual. I hopped onto the bus, was thankful to grab an empty seat (because my legs are still pretty sore). By the time we reached that next stop, though, a (very) old man got onto the bus. I stood up to give him my seat because 1.) he's old and 2.) everyone single other person seated around me was hella old, too. No big deal.
So he sat down, and next thing you know, he and all the old people seated around him start clucking and twittering about how "mezurashii" (unique) I was for getting up for an elderly person. He insisted on carrying my backpack for me on his lap for the rest of the ride. They really just made the biggest deal out of me standing up for him. They asked me what stop I'd be getting off, asked if I'm a student, and so on... I explained that I am an American and an English teacher. "Wakaranakatta," one of the old ladies said. She didn't know I was a foreigner. That was oddly nice to hear, actually. I also hoped that it helped explain to her why I couldn't understand everything they were saying as they were clicking and clacking about me, though I doubt it did. They were crazy old.
And then I arrived at school and saw the same lady I see every day walking her dog. She said that she saw me eating ramen "near the station" the other day with a guy (Brian). Pretty crazy that this lady I don't really know recognizes me off the street like that. I greeted her dog and went the rest of the way to school.
Sigh, all these new people to meet today; my anxiety is abuzz with all the people who I want to make a good impression on.
I think my survival tactic will be to not care at all and just let them think whatever they want. And then hide at my desk and nestle myself in my little comfort nest.