I’ve seen haras . . . haras that you’ve seen: when ‘harassment’ goes wild

In response to the article “Blame it on the hara: harassment vocabulary makes us all victims” (The Foreign Element, Jan. 28), we invited readers to come up with their own ideas for new types of “harassment.” As you can see, one JT writer got a bit carried away.

Baby-car-hara: Committed by parents, particularly disheveled mothers in a rush, who use strollers to fervidly tunnel paths through crowds.

Chin-chin-hara: Staring intently at the midsection of anyone using a urinal.

Eh-tōhara: Taking, like, forever to say what you’re, like, trying to say.

Furo-hara: Leaving a soiled tub of water for those soaking after you. Particularly bad when it involves male pubic hairs.

Gaijin-hara: Undue attention given by police to those appearing foreign, such as when a squad car patrolling a neighborhood suddenly slows to a crawl whenever a gaijin is sighted, regardless of how many decades that foreigner has lived in the community — oblivious to the maxim “Soldiers and policemen have work to do, but, when the work is not there, the less we see of them the better.”

Ha¯fu-hara: Continual praise, showered on half-Japanese who have lived in Japan their entire life, for having such exceptional Japanese skills.

Hair-dryer-hara: Committed at gyms and sports clubs by those who dry areas below the waist with common blow dryers.

Hashi-hara: “Can you use chopsticks?” x infinity.

Hokori-hara: Beating the dust (hokori) out of a futon or shaking out a dirty rug while others stroll by below.

Inai-hara: Freezing in silence whenever anyone not making a delivery is at your door.

Inu-hara: Using a leash that stretches across wide areas of road or path when walking a dog (inu), thus making it challenging for anyone to pass on foot or bicycle.

Jishin-hara: The ultimate hara. Periodic earthquakes that cause people to repeatedly flee, over days and months spanning hundreds of years, to higher ground in fear of a town-leveling tsunami prior to the one seismic disturbance that will wash away the entire community and many of its inhabitants in minutes.

Jisho-hara: Committed by those who continually ask, “How do you say —— in English?”

Jama-hara: Committed by slow walkers intent on being in front.

Kondo-hara: Repeated disingenuous offers to get together sometime, as in Kondo aimashō.

Matte-hara: Repeatedly rolling the toilet paper, but never leaving the stall in a crowded bathroom.

Nemu-hara: Pretending to sleep (nemuru) while seated on a crowded train as a sad-faced senior citizen towers over you. See seki-hara.

Ohayo¯-hara: Disingenuous, monotone “good morning” delivered daily while glancing elsewhere.

Sayonara-hara: Jumping in front of the Yamanote Line at 6 p.m. on a weekday evening.

Seki-hara: Undue pressure to give up your seat (seki) as a sad-faced senior citizen towers over you. See nemu-hara.

Shime-hara: Quickly closing (shimeru) the door as potential passengers rush toward the entrance. Committed primarily by bus drivers, train engineers and those operating an elevator.

Ssss-hara: Incessant indecision expressed by repeated sucking of teeth.

Su¯pa¯-hara: Committed by those who hold up the checkout line at the supermarket because a family member is off getting “one more” item.

Tsurikawa-hara: Committed on crowded trains by that passenger intent on holding the hand strap (tsurikawa) dangling right in front of your face.

Unchi-hara: Committed by those who fail to flush.


Send comments to The Community Chest at community@japantimes.co.jp .

  • Ron NJ

    apato-hara: No foreigners allowed in this apartment building. See, kotowari-hara
    aruki-dantai-hara: two or more people walking abreast, at a snail’s pace, completely oblivious to the gaggle of people stuck behind them.
    chari-hara: riding your bicycle on the sidewalk whilst causing pedestrians to dive out of the way.
    okotowari-hara: As in, ‘gaikokujin okotowari shimasu’. See, apato-hara.
    sekinintenka-hara: “well, it’s not my problem!”, especially when said by bureaucrats
    tsuujinai-hara: Feigning inability to understand perfectly understandable Japanese because the other person is not Asian.
    mushi-hara: Ignoring non-Asian foreigners in a group, instead speaking only to the Asians present (regardless of their Japanese skills, much to the dismay of many a fresh Chinese or Korean immigrant).
    And a shout out to the previously suggested ishihara-hara: Let’s put a racist and xenophobe in control of Tokyo for a decade or so, because that can only end well.

  • This fear of confrontation is manifesting itself as passive-aggression. Even if the person who is annoying you is legit in the wrong, by not enforcing your own boundaries you are basically the source of your own problems.

    Try honesty. It might feel uncomfortable for awhile, but after the discomfort comes autonomy and freedom. Once you rid yourself of the anxiety of having to manage seperate “realities” it is much easier to have a sense of serenity.

  • Amerikajin-hara: “Are you an American?”– The very 1st question asked by Japanese to every Caucasian, regardless of nationality…doesn’t matter whether they are German, Australian, British, South African, or whatever…and who ultimately wind up hearing it hundreds of times during their stay in Japan. :-)

  • gakusei

    hashi-hara, made me laugh! A little part of me dies inside when I’m eating and I hear “Ohashi wa ojouzu desu ne!”