Filed under Flowers
Is sexual harrassment a big problem in Tokyo that they need women only trains?
I have often used a fan in the suffocating Paris metro in summer. Fans are a vital accessory, especially when spritzed with cologne to help disperse miasmatic odours in public transit.
I was thinking tonight yes – one of the very few corollaries of this is that women might get a bit of a break on the way home.
The ‘chikan’ or molesters / gropers are indeed numerous and problematic enough to warrant women only trains.
There is meant to be a video here I took of a woman literally fanning herself on the platform now the moist heat has started but it won’t upload.
I thought I would put up a live ‘night in Japan’ post in any case
I’m struck, when seeing many of these subway scenes over the years, how many people are either bent down over their phones or sleeping (and if I was across from that guy with his mask down and his eyes closed I would be bolting for the next car). We don’t see that here. It’s just a strange snapshot to my eyes. Same with the idea of the chikan and women only trains. When I think of Japan, I don’t think of that element. It doesn’t seem congruent with the culture somehow, so respectful of boundaries, but of course I am hopelessly naive.
Not at all. But there is always another side to every coin. I was just thinking about this: the chikan take advantage of the tendency towards discretion and the desire to not draw attention to oneself (the eyes of others are the main determining factor in Japanese society) because they know that in all probability if some poor person is being touched up all the way to work the victim is unlikely to say anything. Plus, I think there is quite a lot of fetishization of certain archetypes and rush hour trains represent an ideal opportunity to see these up close.
On the plus side, I do feel that society is changing. The issue has become much more promiment now; there are posters in the stations warning gropers of the potential fines or prison sentences, and women are more forthright in grabbing the hands of offenders and getting them detained at the next station, so things are moving in the right direction.
I suppose repression will out: you can’t have such a tightly wound clockwork society without steam fissures in the pipework. That’s why there is such a huge nightlife here and why Europe and North America seems dead after six at night: dark, quiet – Japan never stops. But that’s also why I suppose that the government is wary of too many lockdown restrictions – as it is, the bar/ restaurant/ entertainment districts are suffering really badly as everything is closing at 8pm and you can’t get alcohol. So much of Japanese society depends on this that without it the entire culture is quite wounded. Going to a restaurant in a western country is quite a different matter I feel: you dress up a bit, go to the establishment, have your meal, pay the tip (no tipping here) – it’s enjoyable but all a bit of an effort in a way too, with the server introducing themselves and all that – something of a palaver.
Here, it is much cheaper, the service is polite but less in your face (I can’t stand over beaming over friendly waiters and waitresses now); the streets are TEEMING with different places to eat out and drink; it feels ‘softer’, and much more human.
Why am I talking about all this? It has nothing to do with molesters on public transportation.
This is so good: “I suppose repression will out: you can’t have such a tightly wound clockwork society without steam fissures in the pipework.”
I can’t seem to get enough of your insight into Japanese culture, so thank you for writing all this, dear N. I find it all quite fascinating. In Canada we are exposed to and have absorbed many of the ways of heaps of other cultures, but Japan — although we’re crazy about the food and have amazing Japanese restaurants — is somehow still entirely foreign. I can imagine, say, living in Spain, or France, or Denmark, but for some reason my brain can’t put together the idea of life in Japan. (I think I would like it very much. Don’t know if you’ve ever seen the old TV series Girls (probably not) but the character Shoshana from Brooklyn moves to Japan briefly and then goes back home. To me, this clip is my little idea of Japan: a caricature, but so fun-looking! So ME! And when she gets back to the US, the reverse culture shock . . .
Will look later and give you some more nipponesque musings
Damn. This clip isn’t as good and it’s missing the airport scene, but just take a look at the first minute. Heaven for a young girl from Brooklyn where everything is hip and a bit rough and rude. Japanese fantasy life!https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OX0C0b03KSw
I never thought harassing women was a problem in Japan either. I’ve only been to Tokyo though, and all large cities seem generic nowadays.
Delhi is the absolute worst about harassing women, they bizarrely call it “eve teasing.” I have never had my crotch & butt randomly grabbed anywhere as in Delhi, on the street, in a mall, even a hair salon!
It does seem to have a certain notoriety..
Here it is way more surreptitious and slow. I am glad it is being taken seriously as a problem.
It is so sad how in the year 2021 women are still objectified in so many “supposedly” civilized societies and fall victim to groping and fondling. It just disgusts me. I have fallen victim to this myself in the past, more than a few times, and it still angers me terribly.
It happens in every country I am sure.
Sorry you had to endure such intolerable bullshit.
You would think my height, being 178cm tall, would have been a deterrent, but no, an excited male loses his reason. I should have punched one of them in the face, but didn’t want to get arrested for assault. You know how they tend not to believe women when we talk about any type of sexual harrasment or assault.
I can’t even imagine how frustrating, that isn’t even the word – there probably isn’t one – it all must be. All I can say is that I do feel that some shift has occurred, or is slowly occurring, hopefully worldwide, if too gradually.
Any kind of violence to the human spirit or body is remembered. I have had experiences of my own – not of a sexual nature – more brutality – but there is a tally on the soul.
“A tally on the soul.” That describes it perfectly. So sorry you had to suffer through the horrors of brutish abuse as well.
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