Planet Hiker

The Big Dig, Tokyo, Japan 2009-12-26


After two and a half weeks of visiting Japan I am ready to claim the most impressive thing that I have seen since kindergarten. It happened when Naomi and I were riding a crowded metro. We were all standing shoulder to shoulder and on my left there was yet another black suited business man, indistinguishable from the ubiquitous masses other black suited businessman. With one hand the business man was hanging off of a strap handle and with the other, he was digging deep into one of his nostrils. He did have fairly thick fingers but with deliberate force and persistence he managed to jam the finger so deep that the fingernail wasnít even visible. Apparently he was drunk and partially asleep, since he was completely unaware of people standing all around him and me in particular staring at him in amazement.

night lights while backpacking in tokyo japan The metro cart shook and rolled side to side but that did not seemed to disturb the business man at all. He kept at churning his index finger, lost in a delicious bugger-land.

After satisfying his deepest itch, he finally pulled out a huge bugger, stuck on his happy finger. The bugger was smooth and had greenish and white tones to it. It was definitely bigger than the one I remember seeing in kindergarten when a friend of mine showed me what he could do (unfortunately I donít recall the kidís name). But to my disappointment, the business man did not proceed to eating it. Instead, he left it hanging there, demanding that all surrounding passengers pay close attention to him as the opportunity was knocking to rub it off on some innocent bystander.

The metro card shook again and pulled to one side in a turn that was a little too sharp for the speed that we were going at. Everyone rolled in the opposite direction, scrambling to hang on to something. Astonishingly, the business man stumbled a few steps but managed to hang no to the handle strap. I really have no idea how he managed to do it, since even the people who were not asleep had trouble maintaining their balance. But fact remains that he hung on throughout the turbulence, while being unaware of his own surroundings.

When the train finally completed the turn, the passengers bounced back to their original standings and discovered that the booger was no longer on business manís finger. I quickly checked if it found a new happy home on jacket, but to my relief, it wasnít there. As if asking for a second chance, the man, like a drowsy koala bear, slowly switched hands and started burrowing into his other nostril. I wish I could see to the end of this story but train pulled up to our designated station and Naomi insisted that we get off as there was more of Japan left to see.


Photo by Naomi H.

traveling in tokyo japan