I love watching people, looking at what they do, how they walk or sit, what they wear, what they carry, how they interact with others they are with... I will unashamedly eavesdrop on conversations I can understand (getting to that point in Japanese was a huge milestone for me!) and imagine those I can't. I will dream up situations or stories for the people I see, quite often convoluted and rather unrealistic.
My daily commute offers plenty of fodder, but I did myself finding the most interesting of people when I'm sitting in a coffee shop studying. Perhaps it is a highly refined procrastination technique, but I always seem to be surrounded by... characters!
There was the guy at the Shibuya coffee shop who sat down and started typing away on his large laptop. Then he stopped and pulled out an iPad. After tapping away at it for a minute or two he pulled out TWO iPods (one black and one white). After checking something on one and plugging the other in to the laptop he pulled out a regular cell phone and proceeded to make a call. Not only was his entire table full of electronics, but he was using almost all of them at the same time! Whoever said men can't multitask needed to see this guy!
There was the little old lady at the coffee shop near my station who announced to her young companion (granddaughter?) that she wanted a "snack," and came back loaded down with a tray of goodies to fill the stomachs of a dozen or so. Her bemused companion suggested they eat the ones with ice cream and have the others wrapped up to take home.
Or the young (very thin) woman beside me at the Roppongi green tea cafe today. She wolfed her matcha parfait down with such voracity that I thought she might start chewing on the earthenware cup it came in. She looked quite pleased with her indulgence, unlike the harried young mother who was not impressed when, half way through her parfait, a toddler clambered into the seat opposite, followed by hubby and a baby buggy with a slumbering infant. Needless to say the toddler finished off the parfait as mommy glared at daddy.
And, oddest of all, on the other side of the cafe, tucked into a corner a brown-haired foreigner read a thick Japanese tome on management theory in museums and scribbled notes in English into a black notebook.