When playing a sport, one should always buy the appropriate protective accessories: shin guards for soccer, ear plugs for 4th grade band, and of course a helmet for moving to Japan. The helmet needn't be one with a chin-strap or a face mask, although they might come in handy when I am fighting with the 2,304 other people in my train car for the last seat on the 7:03 train (there really are people that squeeze you onto the rush hour trains just like a human trash compactor. Thus, I always shower in the morning). A standard-issue steelworker's hard-hat should do. My brother Mike, the OSHA expert, might have some insight.
Living in Japan is a full-contact sport, albeit a polite one. Now that I have sustained the number of knocks to my cranium in two weeks that a NHL player acquires in a career, I have realized that I was remiss in not bringing a league-sanctioned helmet over with me. It's not that I am tall. I am neither Herve Villachez nor Manute Bol. Perhaps by Japanese standards 6'3"-ish is tall but in my family I'm "average height." My run-ins with ceilings and doorways (especially on the trains) are not due to a design flaw-either in the building or in me-but rather they are due to the fact that there is a conspiracy to make me perform the limbo in public at least 6 times a day. Mind you, there is no cheery calypso music behind me. The soundtrack is all in my head (this of course is going on right next to the gerbil on the treadmill). I wish I could sample the inner monologues of the local folks as they watch me try to navigate the perils of entering and exiting the train. They would go something like this (in Japanese of course):
"He should have ducked sooner," "That's going to leave a mark", and "I wonder if the train is okay." Unfortunately, due to the polite rules of Japanese society, no one will warn me BEFORE I contuse my noggin.
So, if you do have any head-gear suggestions, please let me know-and quickly too. It is likely that once I've exceeded 200 blows to the head that amnesia will set in and I will forget all about it.
What's my name again?