ArtDesignCulture

Diagrams and handshakes

In Asia on May 4, 2010 at 1:34 am

Thank you to Joe Niewierski and Lex Kemper for the following useful diagram and photograph on the Japanese reverse squat toilet!

The handshake bit that I found strange and amusing comes again from my Lonely Planet guide under the heading “Women Travelers.”

“It is the rare or unusually lucky woman who stays in Japan for any length of time without encountering some types of sexual harassment…”

Here we get the rundown of commonplace subway coppa-feelers known as chikan and the out-and-out public-exposers (note, phone booths are not safe places to hide).

And finally, “other Japanese men engage in the all-too-common handshake scam, where a friendly man pretends to want to shake your hand Western-style, then fondles your breast at the same time.”

I find “Western-style” an extremely funny word choice here.

While sexual harassment is not a joke in any way, I can’t help but keep a sense of humor about these warnings. Most people I know who have been to Japan have nothing but extremely complimentary things to say about the people they met during their travels. Of course it’s important to be alert, but that’s true of any nation.

In all probability, I will be sexually harassed in a language that I can’t speak, so will wave politely and smile, having no idea I was just propositioned. Dammit.

UPDATE: I visited Japan for 10 days in July of 2010 and was welcomed with nothing but complete hospitality and friendliness. My heart goes out to my wonderful friends there and all of the those affected by the recent disasters.

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