Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Public Clipping

I’ve see Japanese students clip their fingernails in class. My nextdoor neighbour often stands out in the outdoor hallway to our rooms and cuts his nails into the flower bed. A couple of weeks ago U bought a little nail clipper at the 100 yen shop and, when I came out of the bathroom, I found him sitting on a bench in corner of the mall by the toilets, clipping his nails (ignoring the clippings that were falling to the ground). Recently a co-worker has started doing it at work – he’ll get up from his seat at the computer and either go to the garbage can behind my desk or, if he’s feeling generous, into the small kitchenette down the hall.

Given my reaction to both the public nail cutting and the littering of nail clippings, I doubt U will cut his nails in public again - at least when i'm around... but my friendly elderly neighbour is less easily influenced... sigh...

Has anybody else seen this happen? Am I the only one who finds this odd and/or disgusting?

Although really, I suppose I could be witnessing worse things - like the student plucking his nose hairs in class, or my next-next-door neighbour who likes saying goodnight and good morning to the entire neighbourhood with an enthusiastic long hacking up of lung on his balcony, or random old men peeing in public!

I just always thought that triming your nails was something you did in the privacy of your own home. But then again with all the girls putting on their make-up on the trains I guess the guys want to get in on the public grooming action? (and yes, all of the examples I mentioned ARE guys, but is that just because most of the girls are wearing fake nails and sparkly nail art?)


  1. Yuck yuck yuck! Fortunately S does his directly into the bin but the sound gives me the heebie jeebies. The amount of bodily function stuff that people do in public here really surprised me at first as you're always told before coming to japan that blowing your nose in public is a big no-no. However in the staffroom at the school I worked in I witnessed nail clipping, tooth brushing, ear cleaning with those big long stick thingies and expunging of lung butter into the sink. Maybe they see the office as an extention of home? Still though, not pleasant at all!

  2. Every now and again I have a violin student who decides to cut either his/her own nails or a childs nails right in the middle of my living room, letting the nails fall to the floor. It's disgusting. I try to be nice and tell them to do this at home before the lesson but the same ones do it week after week... It's disgusting! And that's here in Canada my dear

  3. Ugh ugh! I don't know if I should feel relieved or disgusted by the fact that I'm not the only one to witness public nail clipping and other stuff... ugh