All trains and subways in Tokyo and other cities around Tokyo are terribly crowded during rush hour. In addition to the crowds on trains, young female passengers have to go through one more trial on a train. They must protect themselves from Chikans, men who touch women on the train. Women who are working or studying in Tokyo have to keep three things in mind when they are on a train: how to avoid meeting Chikans, how to protect themselves, and how to protect their friends.
First, young women should try not to choose lines or trains which have a high possibility of meeting Chikans. Needless to say, Chikans seldom appear on trains which are not crowded. Accordingly, the best way to avoid Chikans is to avoid taking crowded trains. However, women have to take crowded trains during rush hour to arrive at their offices or schools on time. Though they cannot choose the time of the trains, they can choose which line they should take. In general, women meet Chikans more frequently when they take private lines, the subways, or JR lines. They especially have to be aware of some lines which have a bad reputation among young women. For example, the Odakyu line is one of the most crowded trains. We have all kinds of schools, including high-level, low-level, and public schools along the Odakyu line, and many women, especially female students, tend to meet Chikans on this line. I met ones who were male students of a certain school when I was a high school student. In contrast, many schools along the subways in the center part of Tokyo are high-level or expensive private schools, and women do not meet Chikans very much on these lines. The Inogashira line is also famous among women for Chikans. Many young people use this line to go to Shibuya, which is the most popular place in Tokyo. Some of my friends told me that some men use this line only to touch women. Because of these reasons, I often use other lines to go to Tokyo.
Next, many young women tend to put up with Chikans silently when they are on a train alone. However, they should protect themselves from Chikans by following three steps. First, if you think that someone is touching you, turn your head slowly and look at his hand to make sure that he is really a Chikan. After that, stare at him from his feet to face slowly as you show him your anger on your face, especially in your eyes. This action makes some people around you notice the existence of a Chikan, and they will stare at him. If he still does not stop touching you, you should pinch or scratch his hand as the second step. Safety pins are necessities for women who take crowded trains everyday. Many of my friends in high school used to have one in their pockets because female high school students wearing pretty school uniforms were the targets of Chikans. The final step is to turn to him, look straight at his eyes for three to five seconds, and say "Please stop" or "Please don't" in a very polite way. Since trains during rush hour are so quiet, all of the passengers can hear you, and they also understand easily what you mean. Furthermore, they will watch him with eyes filled with criticism. Most Chikans get off the train at the next station or move to another train soon because they cannot stand the people's eyes, which criticize him silently.
Finally, women should know the way to protect themselves from Chikans when they, the women, are not alone on a train but have a friend or friends. Because they have somebody to help them, they can act more directly against Chikans. Tell your friend that you have a Chikan behind you. If he denies that he touched you, you and your friend should take him to a station worker. You can also hit his face when you notice that he is touching you. For instance, when some of my friends and I were on a train, one of my friends suddenly turned to a middle-aged man behind her and said, "You're Chikan, aren't you!!" Then, she hit his face with her heavy school bag. In the next moment, his face turned red because her bag hit his head and face and also because people watched him all at once.
In conclusion, you should not take lines which have Chikans very often, and, if you meet one, you have to protect yourself. Tell the Chikan clearly not to touch you, and if he does not stop doing it, you should attack him by yourself or with your friends. Most women cannot do anything when they are touched by Chikans the first time because of fear. However, they begin to know that they have to protect themselves because the other passengers, even the men, do not help them or pretend not to notice Chikans. So women have to learn how to protect themselves from Chikans through their own experiences or communications with other women. They should not give up or forgive Chikans because Chikans are the enemies of all women.
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