Posts Tagged ‘chikan (pervert)


A strange thing happened on the way to Yokohama…

This morning I was on the train checking my emails when we pulled into the station. It was packed to the teeth and about to get more so judging from the lines on the platform before the door near me. I turned around and braced for the surge. And it came.

As usual  the surge swirled around me as much as it could, avoiding making contact with me as if I were a tree in the path of a stampede, but soon all the available space outside of the Gaijin bubble around me was filled and the surge- that is, those who hadn’t decided to go to another door- began to brush against me and eventually one man turned completely around and jolted me from my position with an almost vicious shove.

All par for the course, until…

A high school girl, in the mix, was shoved against me, backed away a bit and apologized. She was dressed in the standard fare: sailor uniform with the skirt hiked up pretty high on her thighs. She wore a mask like many people, probably to avoid spreading germs or catching the flu that’s going around. Her eyes looked a bit frazzled, though.

She was aggressively jostling herself and I realized it had nothing to do with me. Not this time anyway. People often, upon realizing they’ve been shoved into my vicinity, make strenuous efforts to remove themselves, but this girl’s efforts I discerned were not to evade me but to escape from the man behind her.

Chikan…yappari (Pervert, no surprise there…)

He was a short salaryman, shifty eyed and aggressive himself. The girl slid in front of me, perhaps thinking my gaijin-ness might dissuade her assailant.

It didn’t.

At least not much. I mean, he looked at me and reacted appropriately, for Japanese, like a deer caught in the headlights. But then he too tried to slide in front of me, between  the girl and me. I closed the gap between us by allowing myself to be swept with  the surge closer to the girl.

He didn’t like that. Maybe he thought I was trying to move in on his action or something. But, my gaijin-ness wasn’t much of a deterrent for he too tried to use the continuing surge and his briefcase to wedge himself in front of me. This behavior was very noticeable not only to me but to everyone in the vicinity, but instead of focusing on him and his oddly aggressive endeavors to get behind the high school girl, they kept their indirect and suspicious (fish-eyed) focus on me: the conspicuous threat.

Shit like this tempts me to say fuck it and let whatever will be just be. And, taking advantage of  my moment of indecision, he wedged his arm between the girl and I.

As the train left the station I could feel his arm between us adjusting with the movements of the train, only with determination. He was re-positioning it and in doing so was angling his briefcase into my groin to make space.

Fuck it. Here we go again…

He was on my right side. I was holding a metal strap with my left hand. I switched to a strap on my right side and as I did my right elbow caught his squarely in the forehead. It didn’t so much hurt him as it surprised him.

“Gomen nasai,” I whispered and nod/bowed. He ignored my apology probably sensing that my assault was done intentionally. A perceptive perv.

But his hand didn’t budge.

My elbow was now above his head. Switching hands had actually made his access to the girl easier. I had anticipated he’d back off after I’d shown him my intention to intervene. He hadn’t and, as a result, now had an almost unfettered and well-concealed entree to her.

The train swerved a bit and everyone was tossed to the left. Myself included. He apparently had been anticipating the swerve and used it to slide closer to his prey. He wasn’t going to use his hands, though, I realized. He’d wanted to get directly behind her for some reason. And now he was, as I had been shoved further to her left by the swerve.

I couldn’t see what was going on below but I could tell by his face- he was trying to look nonchalant- that something was up. The girl had ceased all struggling and jostling and had accepted her fate, whatever it was. She was looking at her cellphone, eyes frozen to it. His eyes kept looking down. The eyes of some of the other passengers would occasionally check him out but most kept re-confirming their proximity to me, or feeding their curiosities to satiety, or relieving their suspicions as to what my motives might have been for riding the train among them.

The train pulled into Yokohama station and as the doors opened I saw something but I’m still not sure what.

It looked like the man suddenly snatched something from the girl. They tussled a bit to separate like their headphone wires had gotten tangled. He tore away, however, making it appear like a classic NY-style purse snatching, but all the girl had was a school book bag and she was still holding that. He did something wrong, that’s for sure…and bolted away, shoving  through the swarm of commuters for the escalator. The girl realized he’d done whatever he did immediately and took off after him. He had been so close to me that I instinctively patted my back pocket to make sure my wallet was still there. It was. When I reached the escalator the guy was nearly at the top running full speed and the girl was hot on his heels. She must run track.

By the time I reached the top of the escalator I saw a few heads turned in the direction they had run but the man and the high school girl were gone.

I wish I had had time to learn more but I had to get to work.



…every panda that wouldn’t screw to save its species!

I remember the first time I saw a chikan (subway pervert) performing the dirty deed.

I was on the train, standing near the door reading a book, ignoring the stare-less stares…the usual. Then we pull into Akabane station and the train, crowded already, became twice as crowded…also the usual. One girl boarded, and something about her jumped out at me: she had these bodacious breast. They stood out among the flat-chested masses like two mountains in a desert. I hadn’t seen much in the way of big breasts since I’d arrived here (not that I’m a breast man) so they caught my full attention momentarily. Long enough for me to notice that she was apparently not alone. A man was closer to her than two strangers should be. I presumed they were together.

Something going on down below caught my eye,I pulling them away from the twin peaks. She was dressed in a puffy polka dot mini-skirt cut just below pantie level and the Japanese man standing behind her had his hand up under the skirt and was groping and plugging away. WHAT THE HELL! I looked at her face and if she were disgusted or turned-on it was her secret. She wore an expression of slightly nervous tranquility. Also the usual.

I was thinking, “They ought to get a goddamn room!” I looked around for other reactions…No one else seemed to notice.

There was a Middle-Eastern guy near her, too. Our eyes met and made a face like, “Gotta love these Japanese chicks!” I looked away. A third man was also close to the action like he was in on it too. I looked again at the Middle Eastern cat and he made the face again, desperately seeking my approval or something. I got the impression that he’d either been watching the two of them since before they’d boarded or that he was a party to this commuter orgy too. The man behind the girl was lost in lust, oblivious to what was going on around him. A man nearby, with his two little kids, inched away indiscreetly as much as he could in the crowd, his children in tow. I returned my attention to her face. Still no reaction, but I could barely discern an effort to subtly inch away.

Wait a fucking minute, I’d thought. But I still couldn’t say definitively that she wasn’t a party to what was going on. Or maybe I was a little taken aback, shocked, that this could go on in broad day light, on a crowded commuter train, with a car full of Japanese men and women standing around pretending not to be fully aware of the goings on. My mind couldn’t wrap around that.

When we pull into Shinjuku Station, my stop, it was the moment of truth, I thought. Are they a couple or not?
She turned to leave and moved away from them, hastily…shit! What kind of crazy culture is this, anyway, I wondered.

They don’t follow her.  We wound up beside one another…she walked with that awkward Japanese gya-ru (Girl) gait, kind of pigeon toed, knock-kneed and prissy and drunken at the same time. If I hadn’t seen what she’d just been through, I wouldn’t have had a clue. It was almost as if it had never happened. Not even a glance back to see if they were following. Her expression- that same preoccupied tranquility she had on the train.

I remember when I first saw those “Women Only” signs. They reminded me of “Jim Crow” signs that segregated and discriminated against blacks in the 20th century. It never occurred to me to think about a culture that needs to designate train cars for women. That it suggests a tolerance for what I witnessed that day…

Well, I wasn’t in America anymore was I?

My American sensibilities made me feel anger and pity for that girl. I’ve been surrounded by strong women all my life. I’ve never met a woman who would have stood still for that shit. Even the mildest mannered woman I know would have elbowed the fucker or at least shrieked. And the worst case scenario (you know who you are) would have maced, keyed, cut or shot his ass, depending on which weapon was available at the time. And even strangers in NY, male or female, would have jumped in if they saw the woman was too timid to say something herself.

But another part of me was totally unsympathetic, maybe even aroused. Being a product of a misogynistic culture myself, I’m disgusted but not surprised to find that a great deal of misogyny is in me, too. Even so, I would have jumped in if she had indicated in a less than subtle way that she was being molested…but the fact that she hadn’t, nor had anyone else, made me wonder what should my role had been. Was the onus on me to show the superiority of my upbringing by interfering in something that the culture and people have decided not to interfere with?

Honestly, as an American, who the fuck am I to tell them what’s right and what’s wrong? Who gave me the moral authority? That’s their business. Let them handle it the Japanese way, I say. If they can’t resolve their own sociological side effects, then so be it. If they feel that “Women Only” cars is the solution then more power to them. I know America hasn’t resolved its issues either, that’s for damn sure. A society has to work it out amongst itself. And if it can’t well, it will suffer the consequences.

It reminded me of a line from “Fight Club” (of all the movies…):

“I felt like putting a bullet between the eyes of every Panda that wouldn’t screw to save its species!”

Copyright © 2010 Loco in Yokohama / All Rights Reserved

Please know that this blog is my original writing and may not be reproduced in any way without the expressed written permission of the author (that's me!) Thanks!

Words I love…

Everybody is a star
I can feel it when you shine on me
I love you for who you are
Not the one you feel you need to be
Ever catch a falling star
Ain't no stopping 'til it's in the ground
Everybody is a star
One big circle going round and round

Words by: Sly Stone

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