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A curious video uploaded to YouTube late last week has been raising eyebrows across Asia today, but perhaps not for the reasons it was originally shot. In it, we see a man smoking a cigarette on the subway in Taipei, mouthing off to those around him after they ask him to extinguish it. A few seconds in, however, and we notice that there’s something else not quite right.

Simply titled “Man posing as a Japanese smokes on the subway“, the video has already been viewed thousands of times, with nearly every comment after it saying more or less the same thing: “That guy’s not Japanese.”

Already being reported on by news outlets in Taiwan, the video starts off much like any other clip of its kind: the person shooting the action with their mobile phone shuffles into position and tries to frame the scene without making it too obvious, the irksome subject already causing a scene.

When we listen carefully to the man’s words, however, it almost sounds like he’s speaking Japanese. As numerous net users and news sources also verify, however, this man is almost definitely not a native speaker, nor is he conversing with yelling at another Japanese. So why the act?

We hear little from his fellow passengers, but the man appears to have a problem with someone sitting to his right in particular, constantly shooting them threatening looks while he puffs away and flicks ash on the floor at an alarming rate.

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It is only when the train pulls into a station and staff come on board that the man suddenly quietens down and rediscovers his manners, rather like a bully turning on the nice as soon as his mother arrives on the scene.

The man puts out his cigarette immediately and stuffs it into his pocket, nodding at the station staff, who remain on board seemingly to watch him, while repeating “sumimasen” (“excuse me”/”I’m sorry” in Japanese), or rather, as many internet commenters put it when pointing out the man’s shaky pronunciation, “tsumimasen“…

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It takes all sorts to make a world go round, right guys?

Source: Xinhua JP via Toychan (Japanese)
Video/images: YouTube