forever_wandering: (UGH!)
[personal profile] forever_wandering

I know Japan is considerably safe, but I still tend to snicker whenever I hear someone say it's the safest country in the world. Some years ago, I spent some time working in Alaska as a night shift manager, so I always had my share of weirdos approaching me for a date or waiting for me when I got off work at 1 am. However, there had always been someone there who saw how uncomfortable I was--someone who always helped me out. 
One morning, I was walking to Hibarigaoka station, on my way to Ikebukuro.


Students walked down the roads and shops opened. It was a noisy morning just like any other. A black van drove next to me, slowly, keeping pace with me. I assumed that it was going that slow because of all the people on the roads, and so, I simply ignored it and kept walking. Together, the van and I rounded a corner together, and a man in his late twenties, early thirties spoke to me from the van. "You're pretty," he told me, to which I pressed my lips together, looked the other way and kept walking. I figured he'd leave me alone if he assumed I didn't speak Japanese. Rounding another corner, he continued "Where are you from?" Once again, I ignored him. 

He continued driving next to me, trying to make conversation as I walked. We got closer to the station and were forced to stop at a train crossing to let a train pass. "Do you understand Japanese?" He asked me from the car, "Do you know what I'm saying? Where are you from? Do you want a ride to the station? I'll give you a ride. Come on."
At this point, I was looking around, feeling eyes on me. People were glancing and yet no one said anything, not even the police officer that was standing just outside the police box next to where we were, so I continued to ignore him. The train passed and I hurried across, taking advantage of the fact that he had to drive slower because of the crowd of people crossing. I turned the corner and entered a convenience store. Even though I waited there for 5 minutes, when I exited, the car was driving around just outside! I was able to just duck in to the station and catch my train.


However, it still sticks in my head that no one said or did anything when I was obviously uncomfortable. 
I wasn't expecting anyone to swoop in and save me. It's just not the Japanese way. However, I can't say that Japan is the safest place because of this experience. When strangers approach me in the US, I feel far safer than when strangers approach me in Japan. 
So what brought this on? A friend of mine invited me to go to the Poconos in December, but because I'll be back in Japan by then, I had to decline the offer. When I told her this, she made a comment about how I was lucky to be going back to the greatest place in the world. I expressed my happiness over going home, but also expressed my dislike about staying in Ikebukuro again while visiting Tokyo before heading back to Osaka. She nagged at me for being spoiled, and so I told her this story to explain why I felt the way I did. 
I guess my story was wasted on her though, because all she said in reply was: Well, you were probably wearing something that said you wanted him to follow you. 
Oh, ok. 
Anyway, as I told her, I'll be staying in Ikebukuro again until I head back to Osaka. I'm not sure if I'll be staying in Hibarakigaoka again though. My friend made it clear that I'm always welcomed, but I don't like the idea of staying alone with guys anymore. We'll see. I don't want to do anything that, you know, makes someone think I'm leading them on. 



Date: 2012-10-22 12:40 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
That is very creepy! (>_<)
Even though I haven't been to Japan (and I'd love to go there soon!), I know that there are some places in there that should be avoided going alone to... specially for foreigners. :((
Stay safe, dear!
Edited Date: 2012-10-22 12:43 am (UTC)

Date: 2012-10-22 06:49 pm (UTC)
kurikuribebi: (Default)
From: [personal profile] kurikuribebi
Yeah there are places like that and if this town had been one of them, I would have definitely stayed away. I'm brave, but not foolish.

Date: 2012-10-22 12:49 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
That's awful, I'm sorry that happened to you :( I get what you're saying; there are weirdos and creeps all over the world and dangerous places all over the world, but knowing that people would look the other way and pretend not to notice that you're distressed so you essentially have no help can be very unsettling.

Also I hate when people say you were dressing or acting in some way that made people feel it's okay to do stuff like that to you. It's NEVER okay to stalk someone like that or make them feel scared, especially when they've made it clear they're not interested and are trying to get away from you!

Date: 2012-10-22 06:51 pm (UTC)
kurikuribebi: (Default)
From: [personal profile] kurikuribebi
Exactly! There is never an excuse to be a total creeper and make someone feel uncomfortable. I don't understand why people just can't grasp this concept. It's even more unsettling to me that I heard it from a female. I thought we were all supposed to be standing together against that type of thinking!

Date: 2012-10-22 12:59 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Unless you had a sign that said 'if you're in a black van please come on to me' i doubt that wearing anything different would've helped. I hate when people say that, victim blaming, of course when they're in that situation, ohhhh all that changes!

Even i squirmed when i read your story :( but you did the right thing by going into the store. But i would also say that next time, it is ok to ask for help, especially from a police officer. He should've intervened, but they have to be careful with interfering in peoples affairs. It's wrong i know, but their may have been a number of non-crime related things that would've made you look uncomfortable. So next time, it's ok to walk over to the officer and say, and generally just get him to walk you to the station :)

You do get many people including so called friends who are fair weathered when it comes to your safety. Like a girl i was friends with left me alone at night at a deserted bus station to get the last bus which hadn't turned up yet. I even told her i was uncomfortable because i got attacked there once. Instead she made out that i was some weal helpless princess like person who was paranoid.

She was like you're an adult and are more than capable of looking after yourself, you shouldn't expect people to follow you around holding your hand for things, grow up.

I felt pretty crappy about it, until my big beefy friend matt told me she was a dick and jepodised my safety and he always waits with his mates female and male late at night when waiting to go home. So i was being sensible and she was just a dick!

Date: 2012-10-22 01:04 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Not to mention, if a guy makes a move on you he will do it even if you 'lead him on' intentionally or not, because he wants to. If they try and make out that you lead them on, ignore it, at the end of the day its up to you whether you welcome the attention or not, and it really doesn't matter what you wear, do or say, they will use anything as an excuse

'She battered her eyelids at me' - you were blinking
'She played with her hair' - you were moving a strand of hair out of your eye.

You see where i'm going here? Don't be afraid of being yourself, they aren't are they?!

Date: 2012-10-22 06:55 pm (UTC)
kurikuribebi: (Default)
From: [personal profile] kurikuribebi
In most cases, I would have gone immediately to the police box. I've done so in other cases. However, at this time, I was completely surprised that there were so many people around and everyone was acting as though nothing was happening.

Aahh, I have friends like yours. It's not about holding our hand and walking us through life. It's about taking care of a friend. It's about being a decent person and helping someone in need. If it's too inconvenient for you to stop and protect me when I'm missing something, then it's too inconvenient for us to be friends, I'd say.

Uggggghhh! And yes! I see that behavior so much!
It's amazing how many guys have approached me at bars like "I saw you looking in my direction," and I'm like...I was just looking around. Wow.

People are just impossible these days.

Date: 2012-10-22 01:30 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
That is creepy, and whats with the you were wearing someone to make him follow you?!

Date: 2012-10-22 06:56 pm (UTC)
kurikuribebi: (Default)
From: [personal profile] kurikuribebi
I was obviously walking down the street in a bikini or something!

I don't even know.

Date: 2012-10-22 01:51 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Um what?

That is just so insulting on so many levels, I can't believe we as females tell other females Its probably what you were wearing or variations of.. like this gives someone the permission to act in a manner that is disturbing, creepy and down right scary.

I totally understand why this place has such negative memories for you, and that you even had to put up with such a creepy and what was a really scary experience.


Date: 2012-10-22 06:58 pm (UTC)
kurikuribebi: (Default)
From: [personal profile] kurikuribebi
Yes! That was part of the shock to me too--when she said that to me. Had it been from a guy, I would have been upset, but not really surprised. When my friend said it, I wasn't sure how to reply.

More than anything, it makes me feel bad for her, because it says a lot about how she lets men treat her, in my opinion.

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Date: 2012-10-22 02:05 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
God that is really creepy. D:

Date: 2012-10-22 06:59 pm (UTC)
kurikuribebi: (Default)
From: [personal profile] kurikuribebi
Right? When I tell people this story, they're surprised it happened in Japan.
That's why I wrote it. I want to make sure people understand that Japan is relatively safe, but that doesn't mean you can walk around like you're holy or something. Bad things will happen.

Date: 2012-10-22 03:15 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Yeah, Japanese people will usually never do anything in situations like that.
It's the typcial ignorance. They pretend not to see things.
That's why the whole train grabbing works so well! Nobody ever says something or does something. It's often us foreigners who can't stand watching and try to help :/ ....

I'm sorry to hear you had this kind of experience. That was creepy indeed.
At least nothing bad happened, but I bet it was really annoying!
Japan has one of the creepiest guys in the world, I swear! x___X

Date: 2012-10-22 07:01 pm (UTC)
kurikuribebi: (Default)
From: [personal profile] kurikuribebi
At least I'm aware that it's like this in Japan, otherwise I'd be a lot angrier at the situation.It really is a shame though that this kind of stuff happens.What's even worse is that there are so many people who worship Japan so much they refuse to believe these things happen.

It's usually these people who get hurt =(

Date: 2012-10-22 04:11 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Nothing irks me more than when people blame the victims of unwanted attention/sexual advances! I'm very glad you weren't hurt. And you should punch your friend for suggesting you "asked for it"!

Date: 2012-10-22 06:48 pm (UTC)
kurikuribebi: (Default)
From: [personal profile] kurikuribebi
My friend is still back in Puerto Rico, so as much as I'd like to, hitting her is not an option. In any case, it's really sad when even fellow females start speaking with the "It's your fault" attitude.

Date: 2012-10-22 04:44 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Woah. That story is really creepy. It reminds me when my sister almost got rapped once.
I was so stunned, I feel the same now about you. That's awful; I can't even imagine what it feels like when there's people around not even moving for you. Even a policeman.It worse than everything, how could you feel safe after that ?
I tend to think that in this kind of country that looks flawless, societies always remains deep and hidden breaks. In this case, individualism over everything.

Date: 2012-10-22 06:47 pm (UTC)
kurikuribebi: (Default)
From: [personal profile] kurikuribebi
I still felt safe after that because I reminded myself that something like that couldn't happen again, or at least wouldn't for a long time. Japan IS relatively safe. I just meant to say that people shouldn't assume it's the safest in the world and assume nothing can happen to them. That's how people get hurt.

Exactly, exactly! There are a lot of deep, hidden things in Japanese culture.

Date: 2012-10-22 05:37 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
damn and I read in one of the books that it's really safe on japanese streets, even at night. Like nobody's really bothering you....I guess I should stop believing in everything what books say >>;
anyways...I'd seriously freak out if it happened to me D: and would be scared to go out alone D:

Date: 2012-10-22 06:45 pm (UTC)
kurikuribebi: (Default)
From: [personal profile] kurikuribebi
Now, don't get me wrong! Japan is considerably safe compared to other countries. However, it is in no way the safest country in the world. You still have crime and weirdos and things DO happen.

Don't be afraid to go out alone. Just don't walk around as though you're God and nothing can touch you =)

Date: 2012-10-22 07:39 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
wow, that is terrifying! I also can't believe what your friend said. I hate when people think what you wear is an excuse for harassment.

Date: 2012-10-22 06:44 pm (UTC)
kurikuribebi: (Default)
From: [personal profile] kurikuribebi
Right? I wasn't sure if I was more surprised at the fact that she would even think of blaming a victim, or that she would assume I'm the type to wear inappropriate clothing in the middle of the day for no particular reason at all.

I guess it's because she's still in Puerto Rico where even cops use clothing as an excuse for a crime?

Date: 2012-10-22 08:01 am (UTC)
ext_287255: (Default)
From: [identity profile]
there's always the good and the bad in everything, so I'm not surprised that despite Japan being known for "a safe place", weirdos DO exist.

Sorry to hear your friend actually said THAT. ugh...

Anyway, glad to hear everything's fine~~

Date: 2012-10-22 06:38 pm (UTC)
kurikuribebi: (Default)
From: [personal profile] kurikuribebi
Yeah, exactly. I don't want to say Japan is horrible. I just get a little twitch when people talk about Japan like it's the safest, best country in the world. This is how you get hurt. You assume stuff won't happen and then it happens.

Thanks. Sometimes my friends are rather...dumb.

Date: 2012-10-22 12:47 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I'm always scared that something will happen to me in Japan, because even though I feel like there's less chance of somebody trying to do something here than there would be in... London, or somewhere, I know that nobody here would do anything about it at all.

I'm really sorry that that happened to you! I try not to go out in the evening on my own here because I got so sick of creepy guys coming up to me and trying to start creepy conversations with me when I was sitting somewhere waiting for one of my friends.

Date: 2012-10-22 06:37 pm (UTC)
kurikuribebi: (Default)
From: [personal profile] kurikuribebi
I get so sick of these random creepies but it doesn't stop me from going out. I just rant about it later. I think the stories amuse my friends. Sometimes, I arrive a little later so my friends will already be there waiting.

Exactly! Things rarely happen, but when they do, no one does anything and to me, that is a lot scarier!

Date: 2012-10-22 01:37 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
That's so creepy about your experience. I'm very glad that you remained safe! <3 People say that Korea is sooooo safe as well but I have friends that have been followed home by creeps, two of them were even approached by a guy masturbating over them. And the police did nothing! Apparently my city has a school that has this creepy guy that stands outside of the grounds and touches himself while watching the kids - and the police haven't done anything about it. A friend and I were at a train station and this drunken Korean guy kept following us around the platform, yelling and looking like he was about to hit us. Everyone just watched and didn't say a thing. It disgusts me.

As for your "friend"... fuck her and her rape culture support. I can't believe, as a woman, she would say something like that.

Date: 2012-10-22 06:34 pm (UTC)
kurikuribebi: (Default)
From: [personal profile] kurikuribebi
Ugh that is so gross.
I mean, I don't want to say "Oh well Japan is horrible because this happens" but I don't want people thinking it's entirely safe and that nothing bad ever happens, y'know? It's just being foolish.

Hm. These Asians. It's like they don't know the difference between minding one's own business and stepping in when something is about to go down. I mean I don't go gun-ho in to everyone's problems but when I see someone in a tight spot, I do my best to help.

Yeah, I was pretty much surprised. That "Oh ok" I wrote in my entry was my literal response to her before I explained. It really threw me off.

Date: 2012-10-22 05:45 pm (UTC)
krissasaur: (Default)
From: [personal profile] krissasaur
I don't want to seem rude, but would it be at all possible for you to change your font on your layouts CSS instead of in the entries?

Date: 2012-10-22 06:02 pm (UTC)
kurikuribebi: (Default)
From: [personal profile] kurikuribebi
I don't know how to do that. If I did though, I definitely would because it's annoying for me too, to do it in the entries.

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Date: 2012-10-22 06:17 pm (UTC)
krissasaur: (Jdrama: My Boss My Hero ▬▬▬ HEADSMASH)
From: [personal profile] krissasaur
I guess my story was wasted on her though, because all she said in reply was: Well, you were probably wearing something that said you wanted him to follow you.


Date: 2012-10-22 06:30 pm (UTC)
kurikuribebi: (Default)
From: [personal profile] kurikuribebi
I always try my best to talk with friends from high school but it looks like none of them have grown up. I really need to completely drop a lot of them, but I feel bad.

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Date: 2012-10-22 07:22 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Ow that's totally creepy. Like, really scary I have no idea how I will endure any similar occurrence without panicking. And umm.. no offense but your friend sounds weird. I mean, how could it be that it's something you wore? What sort of an illogical logic is this? The only ones I heard use such pathetic excuse are rapists. :\
Edited Date: 2012-10-22 07:23 pm (UTC)

Date: 2012-10-24 12:15 am (UTC)
kurikuribebi: (Default)
From: [personal profile] kurikuribebi
No offense taken. When my friend said that to me, I was kind of at a loss for words.

It might be time to get new friends!

Date: 2012-10-22 09:04 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
That's so creepy! It shocks me that no one said anything, but it's probably a culture thing?
Still, I'm glad nothing too terrible has happened to you.

Date: 2012-10-24 12:16 am (UTC)
kurikuribebi: (Default)
From: [personal profile] kurikuribebi
Yeah, it's a culture thing. The Japanese tend to have this "Keep to myself" mentality.

Date: 2012-10-22 10:48 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
You make a valid point.

I think most people assume that by having less violent crimes occur in an area makes it safe rather than safer than places with more violent crimes. No place is 100% safe and for some odd reason it's hard for people to accept that a crime is a crime whether it's murder or harassment.

Of course you have people who are so enchanted with places (like Japan) that they ignore those things altogether. A positive view isn't bad by any means but it's better to have a realistically positive view so I can understand your feelings.

Date: 2012-10-24 12:13 am (UTC)
kurikuribebi: (Default)
From: [personal profile] kurikuribebi
I don't hate people, but it's for reasons like this that I tend to stay away from People who worship Japan or any other country. People who are so unrealistically brainwashed tend to get defensive when you insult what they love.

Then I feel guilty when something happens.

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Date: 2012-10-23 03:35 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
O! That is a cree[y guy, I guess you can get them anywehere. But I guess Japan as less than others, I think the creepy ones come after the forgeners more because I'm sure they think that they don't know nothing much about Japan if it's there first time there.

I grew up in Jacksonville Florida. It supposily has a high crime rate, however when I lived there nothing ever happend to me. But I always did hear stuff on the news.

Date: 2012-10-24 12:08 am (UTC)
kurikuribebi: (Default)
From: [personal profile] kurikuribebi
Exactly! I've been to places that are infamous for being dangerous and have been perfectly fine. Yet in safe-ol'-Japan, I get people trying to pick me up and no one does a thing? As I said to some other people, the real danger lies in the fact that no one did anything. If someone were to follow me that long in say...New York, you could be sure some random person would have noticed I looked bothered and would have said something.

They definitely go after foreigners more for that reason.That's why I'm always at a cross roads. I can shut up and pretend I don't know or I can shout at them in Japanese. Either way, I get unwanted attention.

Date: 2012-10-24 01:21 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Holy crap that's creepy. ;w; I'm glad you didn't get hurt. I find it incredibly odd that the police officer didn't do anything though.

Date: 2012-10-24 01:22 am (UTC)
kurikuribebi: (Default)
From: [personal profile] kurikuribebi
As did I! The one man just stood outside by the door with his hands behind his back, nodding here and there at random people, but for the most part, not really moving.

Date: 2012-10-27 08:20 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Ikebukuro has never looked to me as a safety place, okey enver been there just intuition..
however back to your incident, it was simply unpleasant and weird... and
it shows how people react, no one cares.. I think situation like this aren't only in Japan,
who know who this man was... if even police didn't want to say sth, I assume maybe they knew who he was!
honestly just thinking about it make me uneasy, so I'm super glad you okey and you managed to lost him!
Be careful next time.. too many people in Japan makes you more and more annonymous..
so take care of yourslef there <3

about your friends, I think she was is typical person who love Japan and wish to be there with you or istead of you. She is jealous so no comment will speak to her..

Date: 2012-10-27 07:26 pm (UTC)
kurikuribebi: (Default)
From: [personal profile] kurikuribebi
Yeah. Ikebukuro is a lot more iffy than most places I've been to, but it's a really convenient area. Japan isn't super super dangerous but there are definitely dangerous spots.

Oh, you're right! I never thought of that!
Maybe he is a typical guy to that area so no one was surprised......

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From: [identity profile] - Date: 2012-10-27 07:55 pm (UTC) - Expand

Date: 2012-10-28 01:34 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]

Don't get old inside, age is just a mere number *huuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuugs*

I wish you the best in your life.
Achive your goals, stay healthy and strong!
Travel a lot, meet new interesting people,
make a lot of photos ;D
be happy, don't take life to serious,
and let yourself be sometimes less perfect!
Smile a lot and dream even more~~ ♥

don't have real present for you, first don't ahve your adress, second you ddin't want anything XD

Date: 2012-10-31 08:09 pm (UTC)
kurikuribebi: (Default)
From: [personal profile] kurikuribebi
What a delicious comment!
Thank you so much =D

John Michael Sheehan

Date: 2012-11-05 11:51 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
I just added your web page to my bookmarks. I enjoy reading your posts. Thank you!

Re: John Michael Sheehan

Date: 2012-11-05 01:01 pm (UTC)
kurikuribebi: (Default)
From: [personal profile] kurikuribebi
Thank you =)




"An ugly duckling growing out of her feathers."

Hello. I'm Zia, and this is most obviously my journal. I write about my life between Japan and the US, and all the adventures I find myself in. People often say they are envious of the life I seem to live, but the truth is, I feel a little unsatisfied with it myself, so I've decided to do something about it--to find what really makes me happy. Hopefully by documenting my life, I can figure out where I need to be heading. This journal is my way of opening my world to those around me in hopes of meeting people searching for the same thing or encountering people who have already gone through this kind of struggle. 

Back in my high school days, I used to be a bit of a nerd. I was really in to comic books of all kinds, action figures...all that jazz.  These days, though my interest in comic books re-surfaces every so often, I'm very much more in to things like fashion, dance, music, travel, tea, baking, writing letters, photography, animals and fitness. I'm a straight shooter--meaning I do not (or rather, can not?) lie. Keeping up with lies is too much trouble. 

Anyway, there is more information about me on my profile. Feel free to take a look there or catch me on another site★


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