Yesterday, as I was going home, I was a witness to a rare event in Japan. A woman protested a man’s harassment.
It’s very well known that Japan’s trains, when crowded, have some perverted men (chikan) who will sexually harass a woman physically. Most of these women will remain silent, not wanting to make a scene. Well, I saw a woman who wouldn’t take it.
Actually, this woman wasn’t touched. She was sitting across from a middle-aged businessman who was reading a book and occasionally looking up at her. She was in her mid to late 20s, and dressed rather conservatively. Just before the train came to her station, she shouted, without looking at anyone, something along the lines of “Stop staring at me, please!” Less than a minute later, she stood up and rushed off the train. Some people looked, but most seemed to ignore the whole thing. Even the accused man just kept reading his book.
It’s interesting seeing very little reaction from people in that situation. In Canada, everyone would be staring at him.
On a related note, a couple months ago, I saw a middle-aged man sitting beside a young woman who was wearing a very short skirt. The man kept turning his head to look at her, and once stared at her for a good 15 seconds, then scanned his eyes all the way down her body to her legs, which he stared at for a few seconds. He did this openly, and anyone could’ve seen him doing it. But usually, people are in their own worlds on the train, totally oblivious to what is going on around them. It’s likely I was the only person to notice. He stared at her, I stared at him. She didn’t notice.