Haiku reflections on Japan

Shou ga nai…

You have said: shou ga nai

but why I ask you,

why such apathy people?

Reading an article in a local newspaper today about the dangers of hostessing in Japan, and then shortly afterwards, another article in an online newspaper from Japan about sexual harassment in the police force in Japan (not a great article which I find with a lot of articles from this newspaper), I end up pondering the oft-heard expression `It`s a man`s world` in addition to an expression in Japan which translates as `can`t do much about it` – `shou ga nai`.   This attitude seems to be prevalent in the area of hostessing and the J-police force anyway.

Knowing that I am not the type of outgoing person who could get a job in that area I`m not particularly bothered about it.  Despite the lucrative salary, no job is worth having men sleaze over you.  It makes me wonder if hostesses working in Japan have any faith in the police force to help them if they do get in trouble.   The writer, who had been a hostess, didn`t mention what she thought of the police force.  I`ve read horror stories about these girls having their passports taken off them and having no freedom – probably meaning that her bosses were part of the mob and in this case it`s a sex trafficking situation not an ordinary job – and in the article I read today the writer mentioned girls getting addicted to drugs or drink to help them deal with the situation they find themselves in.   A few years before an English teacher was murdered in Tokyo by her student (where the police made a balls of their chance to arrest the culprit, making the police force look a laughing stock and understandably making people nervous about their competence, or lack thereof), another foreign woman was murdered and she was actually a hostess. She had been given a date rape drug and was then raped and murdered, her body buried in a cave.

I`d like to point out that I had no trouble at all in Japan while I was there and I hope that if I go again, it will be the same.  I found the city I lived in really safe, as most other parts are also.  The one time I was in a police box (a koban), while on my travels, it was to ask directions.  Ok, it was really an excuse to see what the inside of a koban was like.  Ironically they had `wanted` posters all over the walls!!    I always had confidence that I would make it home safely after a night out  whether or not I decided to take a taxi (it`s not my fault the city and the country as a whole are generally safe!!).   The usual warnings about watching your drink when you`re out is the same and it applies to Japan too, no matter how safe you may otherwise feel.  Though that`s not what you want to think about when you go out with your friends you have to remain alert to certain dangers, including the fact that you could just as likely get attacked by someone you know as by someone you don`t.

My female colleagues/friends who were mostly non-Japanese (for one reason or another) used to joke that Japanese men were scared of foreign women.  Even if they were joking (in reference to how shy some Japanese men are), I thought they were getting into very complacent thinking as if they shouldn`t be alert to dangers just because they are foreign (and just because a man seems shy).  If a man wants to attack you, he will and won`t care where you come from.   However, nothing a woman says (making comments like the above), how she acts (some men don`t like confident women),  and how she dresses (a woman dressed conservatively can be raped also, and to some men a woman just can`t win anyway) should lay the blame at her feet.

However, women are blamed, by men and other women, and it makes it hard for them to report an attack.   Even saying things like `Japanese(or fill in other nationality) men are scared of foreign women` , as provocative and naive a statement as it is, should not lay the blame at their feet.  No woman wants it.   Only misogynists, and even a lot of women who are backwards thinking, believe this.  A woman can only do so much (and she should do as much as possible) to keep herself safe.    However even if she is drunk to the point of passing out, I would hope she has someone to help her get home safely.  If she doesn`t,  and it`s a sad state of events if a woman ends up in that passed out state with no help from anyone,  it is still never an invitation to an attack.

Just a note about wanting to get drunk off your face, for men and women.  I don`t know why anyone really goes out with this objective on their mind.   I just don`t get it.  However, like I said I do not think a woman (or even a man who is raped) is `asking for it` to use the commonly used expression because they have passed out and for some reason end up on their own (or not even on their own, they might have been taken advantage of by a `so-called friend`).

While I`m a girly girl who likes clothes, shoes, handbags, I never get really dolled up when I go out.  I get dressed up so I feel comfortable with how I am.  Taking hours to get ready is a ritual I suppose, among women of all nationalities, but I have rarely been part of a gang of girls to whom this ritual is important.  Too much bother for me, as girly as I like to be.   But whatever a girl dresses like, or how much make-up she has on, it is a free country (depending I suppose on which country you`re in but generally it is a free country) and she has the right to do that.  Again, not an excuse for men, and some bitchy women, to come along and say `she asked for it`.

Apart from the hostessing and police force situation in Japan which I opened with, there was a report in a local newspaper lately on a survey on rape, which unfortunately showed that a lot of women were as bad as men in believing women were asking for it in some way.   Unfortunately, it seems to be a world-wide attitude which hopefully can be tackled through education initiatives.

I find Japanese women are generally very well dressed and fashionable, not that it should matter what they look like. Education initiatives would maybe help to get rid of the `shou ga nai` attitude in the police force situation and encourage women to come out and report abuse of any type, whether by colleagues, family members, and other culprits. That said, the older generations need to be taught about this as well.

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