Imagine standing in a line on an Osaka, Japan subway platform. You’re reading a magazine story about how Obama plans to fix the economy. After a few minutes there’s an announcement that the train is entering the station and people should keep back from the edge of the platform. The train silently and slowly comes to a halt and its automatic doors hiss open. The line starts to move; you along with it. You’re about to step on the train, when all of a sudden you are pushed out of the way as some middle-aged woman muscles pass you intent on getting a seat. She doesn’t care who she pushes or whether others are before her – the seat is all she sees and wants – screw anyone else. More often than not, these horrible old women, have a friend in tow – needless to say you are shoved by both. You’re pissed off and the urge to reach out and smack one of these old bitches on the head, over-powers you. You fight for self control. Around you, you sense others have the same desire and you take comfort knowing you’re not alone.
So, who are these people? Well, they are Osaka old ladies. In the west we would call them “battle-ax’s”, “old bags”, “old bitches” whatever, they are senior citizens of this Japanese city. Arrogant, selfish, hideous old woman who are not afraid and don’t care about anyone. These women consider themselves to be the “chosen” ones. Moses, with the help of the man upstairs, parted the Red Sea, these old bags part the people, without help from anyone. Another annoyance these curmudgeons have, is to stand side-by-side on an escalator. Yes, two of these people will stand still, chatting together, while the rest of the city tries to get pass them. Once again the masses bite their lip and resist the urge to push these churlish beings out of the way. During a department store sales, Osaka old ladies are the harbinger of danger. As soon as the doors open, they push pass anyone in front, intent on being first. If the old women carried an Uzi, they would mow everyone down, just to get to that red knit sweater – that has been discounted by 50% . These ill-mannered beings are also the stingiest people in the country, chiding those around them for interrupting their shopping. Once one of these ladies has her hands on the elusive red knit sweater, she will tersely pester the store clerk to discount further. “Come on!”she’ll say, “You can drop the price more,” The poor shop staff are bewildered and try to pass the decision onto senior staff. The old ladies continue their verbal assault, “Discount…please…….come on!” More often than not, shop staff yield to the plethora of requests and discount further. This only incites pandemonium as every old bag and her Uzi wants the same discount on the discount.
These ladies also love to go to the local clinics for an array of different illnesses. The clinic is a meeting place. A place for friends to get together and gossip about the family next door, a husband’s hemorrholds, a daughter’s lazy and drunken husband, a department sale, whatever the topic these ladies use clinic’s as places to chat. The illnesses they supposedly have seem to be incurable. The doctor’s, I’m sure, are thankful these women come as it is a steady and lucrative income for them. At one clinic near where I live I see the same two old ladies sitting outside waiting for the office to open every morning. Every morning the same two! I’m tempted to stop and say, “Hey you old bitches are outside this clinic every morning and have been for over a year, has it occured to you that this doctor isn’t any good? In actual fact, these two women, like thousands of others around the country, don’t want to be cured. Their life is built around department store bargains and going to the clinic. While it is true many Japanese are hypochondriacs, these old ladies take it to a new level. In closing, let me just warn any visitor to the city of Osaka, Japan to be aware of the infamous Osaka Oba san (Osaka old ladies).