The latest Living Japan Podcast is available for streaming now and should be available on iTunes shortly.
It’s a fun episode where we talk about Golden Week, Cool Biz and hitchhiking in Japan. This last section is where I am pretty quiet. I’ve never really done hitchhiking. I’ve picked up a few people who have needed short rides, but haven’t been the person asking.
Also, I don’t want to go down the road of negativity. See, the question of hitchhiking is basically a question of safety. And on paper Japan is safe. On paper it is much safer than America.
But I have a problem praising Japan for its safety. That problem is my experiences. I’ve had to help friends try (and fail) to get police reports filed for sexual assault. This doesn’t include those who have just shared their experiences being sexually assaulted.
Personally I’ve had hateful things grumbled at me on the street. I’ve been told to get out of Japan and threatened with violence just for not being Japanese and waiting outside a karaoke place (the timely interaction of the karaoke staff telling us our room is ready before it actually was probably saved the day.) I’ve had a car I was passenger in followed only to have glass bottles thrown at it from the chasing vehicle. As near as we could tell the insult we gave was my riding with a Japanese woman.
No, it has happened a lot. But it has happened enough that I have to grit my teeth to stay silent whenever anyone tells me how safe Japan is. But I have to remind myself that on paper, they’re right.