Mzansi should catch a wake up to Land of the Rising Sun

The writer admires the ways of Japanese people, including the mysterious Geisha girls.
The writer admires the ways of Japanese people, including the mysterious Geisha girls.
Image: Junko Kimura/Getty Images

Kon'nichiwa! That's "Hello" in Japanese. I am so charmed by the people from the Land of the Rising Sun this week.

Japanese bus drivers have been on strike at the same time as their South African counterparts. However, the Japanese drivers have been behind the wheel ferrying passengers to their destinations as usual but refusing to accept the bus fares.

The free rides have hurt the bus companies and forced the employers to a speedy solution. By contrast, our drivers have left their commuters in the lurch, queuing at depots and bus stops for weeks.

This is not the first time the Japanese have gobsmacked the world by doing things differently. During the last Fifa World Cup in Brazil, Japanese football supporters gongoozled the viewers when they stopped to pick up their rubbish before leaving the stadium after the match had ended. Elsewhere in the world, supporters routinely bring along snacks and soft drinks or beer and dump the empty packets.

I've seen many a countryman throw away a pie wrap with a dustbin only five metres away. And the less said about soccer hooligans in our midst the better.

The Japanese also taught us about discipline in the aftermath of a tsunami a few years ago. With food and water scarce, they queued neatly when help was offered by the rescue mission.

You'd never see such orderly behaviour in Mzansi where even free T-shirts are torn in a scrum. I am still haunted by the macabre scenes in Haiti when even coffins were looted after an earthquake rocked that country.

Japan is truly a fascinating country. It is the only country to suffer the devastation of two nuclear bombs to end World War II in 1945 but today boasts the world's third largest economy after China and the United States.

While we were learning to label the parts of a locust under Bantu Education, Japanese school children were tinkering with gadgets.

I still know the difference between a compound and simple eye of a locust as a result of the abominable education system foisted on us by the architect of apartheid, Hendrik Verwoed.

While we are hankering after land in South Africa, Japan is producing tomatoes the size of Jacob Zuma's head. The country is actually a motley collection of islands in the Pacific Ocean and land is used optimally and not to erect mkhukhus.

Japanese trains are also the world's most punctual, with an average delay of 18 seconds. Our Metrorail will take you there ... 18 hours later and depending on the cable thieves.

The Japanese intrigued me many years ago when I read about the Geisha girls. These courtesans were used by the parents of boys who reached puberty to learn the finer art of lovemaking.

I envied those boys because, as an adolescent, I had to ogle the female anatomy from the pages of Scope magazine. and the nipples and punani of the women were hidden.

Sayonara. (Goodbye)