You People Walk Funny

I’m sitting at Starbucks waiting for my wife, and I have a table outside facing a busy street in downtown Yokohama. Lots of foot traffic. I’m watching how people walk. It’s useful for writing, describing how people move. I’m sure a lot of writers people-watch like this.

I see people moving smoothly, barely bobbing up and down, people barely swinging their arms, people hunched forward even though they’re still young, and so on. But there’s one thing I don’t see, people rocking from side to side while they walk. A lot of Americans and Canadians walk that way. Is that from attitude, or is it the result of height and weight? I see people of similar body types in Japan, but they don’t walk like that.

My fellow North Americans, you walk funny. But I’ll tell you one thing, people say I walk funny, too. I think it’s just that I’m not used to seeing North Americans walk. Your perceptions change when you’re away from a culture for so long.

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