Until February 12th: ASK ANYTHING is open! Click here to submit your questions~ :idea:
Whether you are visiting or staying in Japan, I think a few words of caution (and humor) are needed.
Idealism: Gals look like whores
LOL I think every foreigner who comes across a sexier style of gal in Japan first thinks OMG this girl is a slut. It’s a mindset that has to slowly change the more you stay in Japan. I mean just look at a recent Popteen issue that had models choosing their styles and one decided one EroKawa (sexy cute or more directly translated erotic cute). While this seems casual and even a style in Japan, it would sound crazy to hear a teen outside of Japan saying “I choose to dress erotic and look cute, too!”
Mar*s is a great example of this. I was headed to Atom with a guy friend of mine and I was in a Mar*s dress and heels. I walk past and hear in English “there goes a working girl” (meaning that’s a hooker). I turn around and say “Excuse me, fuck you!” [pardon my language readers, but well… I don’t take kindly to being called a whore] . They responded with “Whoa I thought you were Japanese.” Really how retarded can they get? I told them to open up their minds and hoped they didn’t follow us to our club. (Can we say shore-leave losers? Yes yes we can )
While the memory of that still cracks me up, whether we like it or not, there are definite safety risks in being a gaijin gal.
I was walking on the way home from clubbing at Atom at 3:00 in the morning after heading to the conbini to pick up snacks. As I walk home from the conbini I hear the familiar *snap* *snap* of a Japanese cellphone camera. To prevent upskirt pics, and other voyeur shots all Japanese cellphones have a camera sound that you cannot turn off (note: jpn iPhone is surprisingly quiet though). The snapping sound continues and as I walk home I am aware I am leading this voyeur to my apartment and really no way to protect myself except for common female self-defense ideas. Luckily he was happy enough being a voyeur and was possibly just hikikomori and lonely (since many hikikomori keep nocturnal schedules and dine on conbini food).
the complete follow
I’ve also been completely stalked home by a guy on a bike while I was walking. My apartment building had a hallway so I could hear if anyone followed me into my actual building, but I was still frightened and kept looking over my shoulder each time I went home.
the drunken asshole aka me about to practice my sucker punch
Another time I was in McDonalds on Dougenzaka near 109 after clubbing and this drunk Japanese guy who knew English used the power of booze and tried to hit on me while I was in line. The hitting on me turned into plain harassment, and my shy friend was too afraid to step in and the Japanese populace in the store tend to not stick their necks out. He kept putting his hand on my shoulder and I wondered if I would have to deal with the cops to get him to leave me alone. Dealing with the cops would mean my foreigner word against him and most cops are likely to believe the Japanese guy, also I worried about my visa keeping me in the country. I finally yelled at him and got in his face and yelled “FUCK OFF YOU ASSHOLE AND BACK THE FUCK AWAY!!” Thankfully he left or I would have been forced to deal with the cops or run away, neither sounded appealing at 5:30 in the morning.
Similar instances happen to women, especially foreigners since Japanese men who nampa (hit on) foreign women often feel that they have greater freedom in a) being an ass b) think foreigners are easy.
the scream scream scream
The worst situation I know of thankfully wasn’t me, but someone in my old apartment building. At 10:00AM on a Saturday night I hear a woman screaming bloody murder at the top of her lungs. I thought it was a loud tv until it continues. I rush out of my apartment quick enough to see a man bounding from the stairs above me to the stairs below me. So I sprint to the top floor and apparently a guy stalked my apartment neighbor girl to her apartment and tried to force himself into her place. He was winning until she screamed and kicked and was able to gain enough leverage to fight him off. We are talking about possible attempted rape and murder here.
The suspect was never caught and little was done by the police to take care of the situation.
I’ve talked to gals about these incidents and none of my gal friends have had similar instances happen, but some have admitted to getting somewhat stalked. The problem is when people combine both gal and foreigner stereotypes together to form this uber-slut image.
As foreigners there’s a feeling of loneliness that often comes into our lives since we do not have family support like back home, however there’s a difference between loneliness and losing your feeling of safety in your own place.
Even if you’re only here for 2 weeks or 2 months I urge you girls to stay cautious and aware. Japan is an amazingly safe country, but it’s easy to get lulled into a feeling that nothing can happen. As foreigners it’s a simple fact we’re put at a disadvantage in this and we’re sometimes mistaken for easy prey. There is also a feeling that as foreigners they’re safe from the reprisal that might come with saying some of the comments that Japanese guys can make to foreign girls.
So please ladies, stay alert, and for the love of all that is fabulous don’t feel afraid to yell and stick up yourself.
Mitsu’s TIP for stalkers, wouldbe harassers and ugly nampa: You might find getting loud or getting crude, or accusing someone of a stalker can often get you out of situations without having to defend yourself since the thought of embarrassment is often a strong motivator.