私も

#Me too another

way to express support for

other women/men

 

I’m sure  the scandal in Hollywood right now will have come to your notice even if you express no interest in that cosseted world.  The horrible behaviour of this sex pest (who, it has turned out, is not the only one with a director under fire now as well) and his attempt to deny or excuse it and appear a victim are bad enough – articles asking if he ‘suffers’ from sex addiction only support him –  but actresses getting suspended from Twitter for being angry at other, male, actors who knew about it is a totally unfair act by Twitter when there are plenty of other accounts they should be suspending (try the guy in the White House, the biggest creep ever to take up office there).

In Japan, sexual harassment is seku hara.   There have been some comments from Japan on this hashtag but it hasn’t made huge waves yet there apparently.

We all know about the female-only carriages in Japan and of late Mexico as well.   How effective they are is hard to say.  It would be hard to enforce this separation elsewhere especially as they want to, and need to, bring more women into the workplace in Japan.

Women being harassed in offices, in bars and other social events, and on streets around the world while going about their daily business or trying to unwind at night feel this humiliation as well.  Their immediate supervisors, or their bosses in higher positions, in the workplace might not be in the same powerful position regarding their chances of getting ahead but the fact that they have to endure these people every day trying to make inappropriate contact with them or even just making smutty comments, and even spreading rumours about them, makes it no less humiliating.    Sometimes, women join in for their own various reasons giving men, even obliviously, the message it’s ok to do so. I’ve worked with women like this unfortunately who from appearances acted like ‘friends’ to the woman.  Yeah right, toxic friends.  Women can be real bitches to each other. However, that does not excuse the behaviour of, or language used by, these men.  So, a man saying ‘Oh she said it (against such and such a woman) so I can say it’ is bullshit.

It doesn’t just happen in the office or other workplaces.  Getting called various things on the street because you’re wearing the ‘wrong’ type of clothes – tight jeans, baggy jeans, short skirt, long skirt, burka, no burka – or because someone just feels like saying it to you.  Unbelievable.   You’d love to turn to them and ask them if they’d like if someone said that to, or otherwise groped (or worse), their mother, sister, daughter, niece, granddaughter, grandmother etc.  The granddaughter and grandmother ones might shock them but that’s the point as they have shocked some random woman by calling her something for no reason.  But there is the worry that you’re giving them attention by even responding to them.   While they read your silence as consent to keep going.   Each person is responsible for what comes out of their mouths and with regards to actually touching a woman, no one woman ‘makes’ them do anything or ‘makes’ them express their opinion.   A lot of men know this and yet still act this way.

Well, in case anyone might be wondering how ‘me too’ is expressed in Japanese, ‘Watashimo’, or ‘atashimo’ more specific to women, is the most basic translation of saying ‘me too’ in Japan.  If you’re a guy who’s been harassed you’d say ‘bokumo’ or ‘oremo’.  This might mean ‘I share the same opinion’ just as much as ‘this has happened to me too’ but a person’s opinion is often based on prior experience and of course you can be sharing the opinion with everyone else that this behaviour is not right on any occasion, towards anyone.  People are free to correct me on this if they know a more colloquial way but it seems quite simple to me.

 

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Strange weather

Reading can seem a 

rare pleasure but for me

it still beats n/f.

 

I’ve made quite a bit of time lately for reading lately, thanks to a certain hurricane which meant the time was made for me as online tv/film watching was unavailable but also, pre-hurricane, thanks to certain brilliant books I have been borrowing from the library which prompted me to ditch the online viewing (nf mainly, occasionally yt.) myself. In addition to the brilliant library books, I also decided to go back to ones on my shelf which I bought a year or two ago (and read – no tsundoku here!) but for some reason did not put them in my literature list.

Strange Weather in Tokyo by Hiromi Kawakami (called The Briefcase in other parts of the world, which is also the title of the last chapter in the book) is a good one from Japan. It shows love in a different light.  Once you put aside the initial weirdness of how the mature woman and a former high school teacher of hers come to meet, the story is quite sweet.   It’s not the age gap that is wierd exactly as they are both now adults (Memoirs of a Geisha is way creepier in that regard), only that he first recognised her as the school girl she had once been and keeps commenting throughout their relationship on her studiousness, or lack of it, in school and saying things like ‘good girl’ and patting her on the head (you wouldn’t even pat a child on the head).  However, they’re clearly somehow meant to be as they find out, despite her occasionally feeling at odds with the association, and I guess more unusual couples exist.    This is a book I bought a few years ago and read at the time but the second reading is better and the humour comes out more on a second reading.  The translator who worked on the book is Allison Markin Powell (I like to name the translator).

Another book I had time to read for the second time, bought around the same time as Strange Weather was Revenge by Yoko Ogawa.  This is a book of eleven dark tales with the main characters in each being connected in the oddest ways.    The translator of that is Stephen Snyder.   This was a very quirky one which also explores loneliness.

By the way, I’m so glad to see the Nobel Prize for Literature went to Kazuo Ishiguro.  He’s such a good writer.  I’ve been meaning to buy one of his recent novels, having read some of his earlier ones.  Nice to see the prize go to an actual author again, and a very deserving one he is.   They might have learned their lesson now and continue giving it to authors. I’ve nothing against Bob Dylan, whose lyrics are lovely, but he didn’t even seem to want it and took his time showing up to receive it!!  What’s more, you don’t know who’ll be expecting one now, using Bob Dylan as a precedent.  I shudder to think.  So, just stick to writers please.

It seems the political climate in Tokyo is going to stay the same for a while with Shinzo Abe’s landslide victory in the elections.   Despite the additional options available this time around, including the current Tokyo governor whom I’ve mentioned before with her Party of Hope, and another new party, the CDP (Constitutional Democratic Party) led by a Yukio Edano, he still won due to his hard line stance, understandably I guess, on North Korea.  This CDP sounds interesting though and might prompt change in certain areas.

 

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Weapons in Japan

 

With the dreadful mass shooting in Las Vegas a few evenings ago – by someone you can simply call a domestic, white, terrorist – I thought I’d take a look at what the situation is in Japan with gun ownership.

The first bit of good news is the existence of the weapons law of Japan which starts by saying outright:

“No one shall possess a firearm or firearms or a sword or swords”. 

Very few exceptions are allowed.

Handgun ownership is out rightly banned, while shotguns and air rifles are allowed for hunting and sport shooting and you can only apply to own a rifle on proof that you have owned a shotgun for 10 years.  I’m not entirely sure what the difference between a shotgun and a handgun is but a gun is a gun. Also, people who do own guns and need cartridges must return the spent cartridges to the /a gun shop (of which each prefecture in Japan can have no more than three) in order to be allowed to buy more.  A person’s gun or guns have to be kept under lock and key and the police have to be told where it/they are stored.

 

Not even ordinary cops in Japan use guns that regularly, even though they do carry them. They spend more time on their judo, in which they are all expected to gain a black belt, and practicing Kendo (with wooden swords) than learning how to use the gun they’ll have to carry around.  In general, cops leave their guns at the station before heading home in the evening and apparently there is a case of one cop, who used his gun to kill himself while on duty, being charged posthumously with a criminal offence.  Yep, they don’t mess around.

Apparently, the Yakuza are the only ones affected (boohoo) though they still manage to find ways of importing them illegally.  In general, gun crime in Japan is still one of the lowest in the world and they can also hold their head high for rejecting the idea of gun ownership in the first place.  Incidentally, most ordinary folks in Japan are very concerned about the idea being touted for the Self Defence Forces becoming less self-defence and more offence in its structure (even with the current threat from that one particular neighbour).

Anyway, the current gun law has been in force since 1958 but their stringent gun laws go back a long way when in 1685, people were encouraged to hand in their firearms for a reward (I wonder what the reward was?).  So, long before 1876, when an Edict called the 廃刀令Haitōrei (the Sword Abolishment Act), banned everyone, bar former Lords (Daimyōs), the military and law enforcement officials, from carrying weapons.  Usually it was only samurai and government officials who carried swords by then (maybe because everyone else handed them in back in 1685?), and samurai/government families who owned them, so it was mostly these who were affected by this and other laws – losing their swords, topknots, their identity as warriors.  Ordinary farmers and so on were not allowed own arms I’m sure.  Feel free to correct me on this. People who made swords on the other hand were obviously going to be inconvenienced!

It’s a pity that samurai swords are still exported from Japan, even if they’re cheap imitations, and used by all kinds of morons (a very American insult I like to use!) in various countries to show off with and/or use for violence towards others, as I’ve often read about in news reports over the years.   Japan should try and ban the export of samurai swords, unless they are used for display in museums and then perhaps sent back to Japan.

Where there are large scale attacks or killings in Japan, it’s done with knives (except for the sarin gas attack by the Aum cult in the 90s) and there are unstable people in Japan as there are in many other countries who should not get that far, whatever their choice of weapon. But gun control is one situation where Japan can hold its head high.

I feel so bad for the people killed or injured in Las Vegas, and have real admiration for the police force but also various civilians who risked their own safety to help others.

Let’s not forget the two victims of the attack in Marseille either.  Knife attack victims of another terrorist who was luckily prevented from attacking anyone else.

 

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