I got home last night and felt both shaken and ashamed for my words. I don't know why you decided to bike on the right side instead of the left, which even pedestrians seem to understand, or why you stubbornly insisted on staying on the inside of the sidewalk so that we played a game of bicycle chicken, our headlights coming within inches of each other. You looked a little surprised when I didn't yield to you, but you should know I have been dealing with this move by salarymen as a pedestrian for several years now. I'm not sure why I seem to attract your type - refusing to budge, determined to make me go around - maybe it's because I have it out for rude salarymen. I wish you would tell me why, in all my years as a pedestrian, what could have ended in collision usually ends in a smile and maybe a "sorry" as we both try to zig zag out of each other's way, but here in Tokyo, it ends in a standstill and maybe a rough elbow.
I probably sound entitled to you, Dude on a Bike, and I think I am to the extent that I should be able to get down the street most of the time without being forced to bend to the will of an ornery salaryman or a Vuitton-toting bitch. Tell your friends to cut me some slack and let's try to cooperate as we coexist on Tokyo's streets. That said, I'm sorry I told you that you should be on the other side of the sidewalk and that you're an idiot, most people don't deserve that. This is my second verbal confrontation with a stranger in Japan and while after the first, I felt smug for responding so appropriately, this time I wasn't provoked by your words, but by your actions, and I am shocked at how quickly those nasty words came shooting out of my mouth. You may be an asshole, but I should have refrained from calling you an idiot.
The other thing I wanted to tell you, was that I hope you don't make the mistake of thinking all foreigners are barbarians after your encounter with me, for there are gaijin much gentler than I. I'm also not that bad in the scheme of barbaric foreigners: I don't look at all-you-can-drink plans as a way to get my money's worth, or ride the train while exclaiming loudly as I make sweeping generalizations about Japanese people, or try to school other foreigners on the proper way to "navigate the intricacies of Japanese culture". I probably act meaner than I look, but I never claimed to be perfect. I know it's hard not to equate one irate foreigner with all of the others, I mean we all look alike, but just as I won't write off every Japanese guy as a bull-headed asshole, I hope you'll realize that my frustration and anger come not from being a foreigner, but from being a girl constantly shoved around. Deciding to say those nasty words to you probably does come from being a foreigner, though.
With any luck, you will have written me off as a slightly crazy whitie who has maybe reached the end of her rope. That's certainly what it feels like sometimes. So again, Dude on a Bike, I'm sorry for my words said in anger. Next time, maybe you can consider biking on what is generally considered the correct side and not threatening to collide with others.