Please STFU

I was having lunch the other day (kaiten sushi of course!) and someones cell phone rings… the guy takes the call and proceeds to have an intimate discussion with someone about some business deal for ten minutes – intimate…. but he was talking LOUDLY, everyone in the room could hear him, and it got me thinking as to how inappropriate it is…. but also how incredibly un-self aware that guy must be. I think next time I would actually go over & make the SHHHH gesture, but culturally its not that uncommon in New Zealand, and from my own experiences I could likely include most Western cities… Why is it that Westerners do not care how loud they are or how much their existence is encroaching on others peace? Is it part of the praise-the-extrovert phenomena? Obviously not everyone does this – quiet people exist everywhere (god/jah/buddha bless them!)

Why that example really grated was due to the contrast of returning from Japan, where almost always people are considerate. Whether its “just” cultural is debateable, but one thing is sure: it is actively encouraged, for example take this sign in the subway:

In a confined space such as a subway train (or frankly, ANYWHERE) no one else really needs to hear your lame ass ring tone, or your conversation and occasionally I’d see someone hurriedly answer their phone & (presumably) quickly explain where they were & that they’d call back… And hang up. Considerate.

Relatedly while I was in Japan I was given a cute little present, but at first I wasn’t quite sure of its purpose, well other than just being kawaii..

Fits a 3.5mm headphone jack?

For smart phones?

So its a tiny nigiri Tuna sushi that you plug into your iPhone? Huh? WTF?

AHHHHHHHHAR!!! Of course!!! Device instantly silenced!!!

Its a little odd how even when you put an iPad to sleep, it sits there making that annoying bleep every time an email arrives – isn’t “sleep” meant to be sleep!?? I resorted to just silencing my iPad permanently via its preferences but THAT is a ui design fault if you ask me…. And hearing that default apple mail bleep for me has come to indicate the same of the owner as when you’d see a video deck with the time constantly blinking 00.00

Finally unrelated to being quiet, but kinda funny: I was shopping in the fantastic Tokyu Hands store in Umeda and came across the product below (For the uninitiated Tokyu Hands is a great design/hobby store – the Umeda one is 3 stories high and has every kind of little gadget, prop, accessory or ‘thing’ you might need to make something)

The writing qt the bottom of the can reads VOICE TRANSFORMER and my brain went: a voice transformer in a can? That can only mean one thing! HELIUM!! So I bought a can, took it home & when we tried it I don’t think I’ve laughed so much in a long time, and it wasn’t just the lack of oxygen! I’m working on a project I shot in Japan, which involves a small creature so my purchase wasn’t purely indulgence. Its research I tell ya! But take my word for it: it is very, very difficult to not start laughing when you go to speak and you sound like a munchkin!

6 Responses to Please STFU

  1. Gary Megregian says:

    It’s pretty sad how inconsiderate and self centered some people are.

    Funny story about my father. He was inside a book store once, and a guy was having a very loud conversation on his cell phone. So my father started following the man around the store listening to his conversation. After a couple minutes, the guy realized that my Dad was listening to his conversation and quickly told the person on the other end that he’d call him back later. After he hung up my father began to ask him “Why’d you hang up? I was enjoying your conversation” Thankfully, all the guy did was turn around and walk away.

  2. Henrique B. says:

    thanks Tim,
    It’s incredible the lack of awareness of noise pollution.
    A link from the noise map at daytime of the city of lisbon where I live:

    And unfortunately it is a very noisy panorama not only of people and cars, we have an airport in the middle of town, it is a rare day that you do not hear a plane with their low freq and also have a singing bridge, the bridge 25 de Abril. the worst is when you want or have to make a recording on the street and the wind favors the sound of the bridge.

    I only tried once helium, when I helped to fill balloons. funny, a true natural voice transformer, only pity is that it lasts mere seconds but I also laughs a lot.

    After reading your article I did some research on youtube, had never heard of Sulfur hexafluoride:

    thanks again
    best regards

  3. Lovely post and I absolutely need that iPhone silencing sushi!!

  4. I think you’ll Japan is the exception.

    I’m just coming to the end of a 6 month tour of Asia. I started in Japan and tomorrow I leave from India. Believe me when I say that if you think things are bad in western cities, try spending some time in China or India.

    I remember getting the ferry from Kobe to Tianjin in China. The ferry was run by a Chinese company and apart me and my wife, the entire ship was inhabited by Chinese tourists returning from a shopping trip. Stepping onto the boat, the effect was like somebody grabbing the volume knob and turning it from 4 all the way up to 11. The Chinese like to talk and like to do it LOUD. That continued until we got to Vietnam, two months later!

    India is much the same but when voices aren’t doing the job they turn to their car/bike/tuktuk horns. Looking forward to getting back to the UK and some (relative) peace and quiet…

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