Japan

Lost in Japan — Part 5 — Don’t Get Kidnapped

Okay, so I’ve travelled quite a bit and some of those places –Thailand, Mexico, United States– are pretty not so safe. But I’ve never come across any harm or anything. I’ve been to Japan twice, and have had someone try to separate me from my group or get me to go with them a total of 4 times. Keep in mind, I wrestled for 3 1/2 years and most of these people I could hip toss into oblivion, and I was never in any real danger (you’ll see why later).

This first story some people might have read already in the post about Osaka. I was with my mother and our tour guide in the red light district in Osaka. Our tour guide was explaining something to my mom and I had wandered to the next shop over, still pretty close to them. An old man came up to me, put his arm around my shoulders and started pulling me away while repeating “kirei, kirei” (pretty, pretty) over and over. I pulled away as our tour guide beat him with her bag telling him to go away. This guy was ancient. I could walk faster than he could run. But either way, Megan = 1, Old man =0.

The next story was when I was studying in Kobe. My class (all three of us) and our teacher and one of the schools administrators took us to Kyoto for a day trip. We were at the Golden Pavilion (Kinkaku-ji). I was hiding in the shade because it was freaking hot out and the rest of the group was pushing through the tourists taking pictures of the temple. A little old lady (seriously) came up beside me and grabbed my sweaty hand and started pulling on it. “Come, come,” she told me. I asked her in Japanese where but she just smiled and kept pulling. So, with the help of my moistness, I slid my hand from hers, said sumimasen (excuse me, sorry), and walked back to my group. I didn’t see her the rest of our time at the temple. Megan = 2, Old woman = 0

The third time was when me and my friend were walking around Sannomiya station in Kobe. It was later than we’d stayed out before (only like 10 or so), and this is when the bars and clubs start opening and trying to bring customers into their shops. I had spotted ahead of us a group of guys who belonged to a host club doing some advertising (they stand outside and compliment you until you come into their club). **For those who don’t know what a host club is** A host club is a place where men get all dressed up and you pay outrageous prices to drink with them while they compliment you. And as awful and weird as it sounds, I still want to experience it at least once. ** Anyways, these super attractive guys were standing outside handing out pamphlets to people passing by. As foreigners we didn’t typically get any fliers since the flier handers assumed we couldn’t read them. Well, instead of just handing us a flier, the group of guys (maybe like 6 or 7 of them) formed a chain and kind of circled around me, separating me from my friend. Then they started to shuffle towards the door of the club, while calling me pretty girl and other words I couldn’t understand or hear. But before we got too far I ducked between two of the guys, shouted at them that I was only 19 (drinking age is 20) and walked away with my friend. Megan = 3, Host boys = -6

The fourth time was during my last visit to Japan (2016). I was on the bullet train from Kyoto to Tokyo by myself. I had to sit next to someone as it was the weekend and lots of people travel to Tokyo on the weekend. The man I was sitting next to had kept to himself almost the entire trip (2 hours).  There was only half an hour left when he started talking to me — asking me the general questions like “do you speak Japanese?” “why did you come to Japan?” “where are you from?” which is about 95% of the questions I’m asked in Japan. Then the train made an announcement saying that we would be arriving in Tokyo in ten minutes and to grab your luggage from the back (which I had to do). It was also at this point that this man, with his putrid breath and rank B.O. leaned over and asked me if I had a boyfriend. I told him I did, and he told me that it was okay and he had a wife and kids. He followed this up by telling me that there was a love hotel near the station and asked if I’d go with him. I went from polite and friendly, to complete bitch mode in 2.1 seconds. I didn’t know how to say hell no, and I’d only been taught how to decline nicely so I told him I was too busy and meeting a friend. He told me then that he’d be quick (barf). I stood up and told him I had to get my bags. I found a train guard and told him about the creepy, strange man sitting next to me and asked him to help me get off the train safely. The guard went and got the bags I’d left in my seat and told me to wait until the end to get off. As the creepy man walked past me, he flashed his phone at me. On it was a generic picture of a blonde, Caucasian woman that slightly resembled me. He whispered to me that the woman in the picture is his “ideal type” (I actually just about puked on him this time). The guard told him to keep moving, and after the train had emptied walked me off the platform. He left me at the gates and I looked for the nearest white people. I found a girl and her boyfriend (I assume) and asked if I could walk with them a little ways. They agreed and after about 5 minutes, I said goodbye and left to find my next train. Thankfully I never ran into the creepy gaijin (foreigner) hunter again. Megan = 4, Married gaijin hunter = barf

Bonus story!

The first time I studied abroad in Japan in 2013, there was a guy who liked to find me in the halls and cafeteria at the university and come up to me and claim loudly in broken English that I was his Canadian girlfriend. Didn’t get almost kidnapped, but definitely had to be creative in finding ways to avoid him.

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