Once in Japan, a friend and I ran around a 100 yen shop with doghouses on our heads.

They were the indoor kind; more like fluffy toys than actual kennels. Moreover, they were shaped like pumpkins, with perfect head sized holes. Basically, we were looking at instant jack-o-lantern heads.

We chased each other around for a bit, acting like idiots.

What really proved amusing was how people dealt with us; they didn’t. Everyone in the store (including the staff) tried as hard as possible to ignore us. It was like everyone just collectively decided that it simply wasn’t happening.

I distinctly remember a businessman who fought hard to keep a straight face. He tried to join the charade, pretending we didn’t exist. But he couldn’t. He went about the store acting out his (presumably usual) shopping routine. Every so often, however, he’d look over in our direction. As he tried to hold back laughter, his face would convulse; like he was chewing on a piece of lime. If someone saw him, he would immediately regain control. He’d resume his shopping, only to combat another bought of unacceptably genuine chuckles in the next aisle.

At the time, it seemed so typically Japanese. Of course, we all act like that. We build our own models of reality, rejecting anything that doesn’t fit. If something is too difficult to deal with, just don’t real with it, right?

It’s easy to disregard those little shards that don’t fit the mould. You can plaster over cracks in reality, and remain confident that you know exactly what’s going on. If you really try, you can even trim back reality. Further still, instead of just settling for the palatable, you can saturate yourself with fantasy. It’s life-lite.

Or maybe I’m over analysing. Maybe everyone was just trying to be polite.

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