Trains & PerversionTokyo, Spring 2012

Hey everyone. It’s been a while. I blame my lack of blog posts on a lack of time – ever since making it back to Japan my social life has experienced an unnatural boom. I can hardly find enough time for sleep, let alone time to write a blog post. However, recently I’ve been writing these posts little by little and I’ve managed to muster up a few to get me back on schedule again. Like #1 – Train efficiency One thing Japan is good at is keeping things on schedule. Here in Tokyo (and Chiba), the trains are hardly ever late. They arrive on time, leave on time, and if there is some sort of malfunction that causes your to become tardy, the stations will issue a pass that essentially says that it is all their fault. How awesome is that? To be honest, an efficient train system is one of the things I would really like to see reinstated in America. Our trains have long fallen out of use – a matter I find quite depressing. Although I know America’s size hinders the formation of a system identical to that currently in place in Japan, I feel that with a bit of effort we could easily make trains more accessible (or at least give them a bit of an update!) Dislike #1 – Perverts I would like to start of with a disclaimer stating that I am not attempting to generalize the Japanese as a whole, nor am I attempting to reinforce stereotypes. I am simply stating a fact that many of my Japanese male friends have agreed with me on and that I have experienced first hand. Japan is full of perverted men and women, though I believe the former is more prevalent than the latter (both from hearsay and from personal experience). Japan itself seems to know this and has implemented many methods in which to curb the perversion. For starters, there are now women-only cars within trains. Though the -women only- rule is hardly enforced, the cars do offer a minute safe haven from both perverted stares and gropes (both of which I have been subjected to). Another method they have instituted is the inability to turn the sound off of your cell phone camera. That is to say, every time you use the camera on a cell phone (even iphones, though there is an app you can download to fix this), a loud sound will go off. This is to prevent people from snapping inappropriate pictures, though I must say it has not deterred many from taking pictures of me when they think I’m unaware. I’ve talked this subject over a lot with my male friends (no girls because I oddly lack any female Japanese friends), but they can’t seem to come with an explanation as to why the perversion level is so high compared to other Asian countries. Unfortunately, because of this perversion, I, at times, feel quite uncomfortable on the trains and even walking down the streets. Japan itself is a very, very safe place. However, that doesn’t mean that molestation does not exist – especially in the form of sexual molestation. I’ve been physically groped, had my picture taken by men I would prefer not to have my picture, and been –mentally- groped by their minds (and yes, I can tell the difference between an –oh gaijin!- stare and an –oooo gaijin- stare). Still, this perversion does little to deter me from completing my daily activities. I am merely aware of the fact that it exists and that because I am a foreigner I may be subjected to it a bit more than others due to my novelty. It doesn’t make me like Japan any less, but it is certainly not one of Japan’s finer points.
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1 Comment

  1. While I could not help but laugh at your unfortunate predicament, not in a mean way mind you, I admit that I feel your pain but my experience is limited to the States. I think the most anyone can do in this situation is to remain aware of their surroundings (which I’m sure you are) and as you have already said do not allow the bad situations you encounter take away from your travel experience as a whole.

    I remember when I first learned the words for male and female transportation perverts in Japanese as a freshman in high school and I vowed, against the wary precautions of my native Japanese teacher, that if ever I were faced with a pervert I would freak them out by reversing the situation on them to surprise them. Though I never got the chance to do so, I realize now how that could easily back fire on me but at times like these you just have to try to keep on smiling and simply find other ways to ruffle a perverts feathers. You could always shout “chikan” at the top of your lungs – you’d be surprised how people react once they know another person is being bother/in danger (youtube it!).

    I sincerely hope things improve for you though. Ganbatte ne!

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