I lived in Japan a few years back for two years. The first year, I was living in Fijisawa in the Kanto area; near Tokyo Kanagawa Prefecture . In Fijisawa, it was a very busy urban city of locals and expats alike. For the most part, it was pretty safe, as Japan is known for very minimal crime. If you didn’t count the mafia crime or salary men (business men) touching young girls on trains, but for the most part, it was very safe place to be.
The second year, I moved to the country town (Ibaraki Prefecture) of Tschitura which was a bit different. They didn’t have a growing population of international visitors, in fact, some never even seen a foreigner (Gaijin) in their life. I was new to them also, as many only saw black people as army officials, and not in corporate businesses. I would often get asked, “Are you in the USA Army,” I told them, “No, I’m a sensei,” (Teacher), which is very well respected there.
I didn’t think much of the night time traveling, as Fijisawa was very safe. One night, I was walking home at about 12 midnight from having drinks with my friends, when a man came up to me, and told me my backpack was open (in Japanese/Nihogo of course). I thanked him and continued to walk, when I noticed that he was still walking beside me. Due to the nature of this story, I will just say that he grabbed my hands, and wouldn’t let go.
Now, Japanese men are known for being very passive, so I was very surprise, that he was so bold. He was about 5’9 inches tall, as many men there average 5’10. I started screaming and begin to run, but more shockingly, he began to chase me. I saw some people up ahead, but they were to far to hear me. Luckily, I have my mobile phone (Keitai) and pulled it out so he could see me. I couldn’t remember the Japanese word for “fire” as many tell women to scream “fire” when something is happening. But because perhaps he thought I was going to call the police, as I turn around to see where he was, he was gone.
We have mobile phones in our lives daily now, but I think women particularly should always carry a phone with them on the road, while walking and any place where any emergency can come up and it might just be the very thing that saves your life!
Until next time-Mata ne (Talk soon)