Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Rosa Parks Comes To Tokyo, almost

Bit was really looking forward to her trip to Japan in a few days. It would be her first time back there as an adult, and by herself, to visit friends and look into employment options in the country she'd spent her first decade, where she was known as "Beeto-chan" to one and all.
One thing that worried her was being annoyed by the legions of horny Japanese men called "chikan" who molest women on crowded trains. She hadn't experienced this as a 9-year old but now at 19, she wondered what to do if it happened to her.
Fumiyo and I reminded her she'd never taken any shit from anyone in Canada, why would she start on a Tokyo subway? She couldn't imagine any woman putting up with it on Vancouver's Skytrain or buses. Why did Japanese women put up with it, to the extent that they did? We remembered signs on subways and trains warning against chikan. Authority figures are ubiquitous and deviant behaviour gets little tolerance.
Bit finally decided she'd be more than able to handle anyone who might annoy her, on a crowded train or anwhere else. To get her muscles ready, she suggested we go out and play catch in a park accross the street. Something I had to drag her outside to do in the grassless parks near our house in Japan just to get some exercise, but something we hadn't done in verdant Vancouver in many years. She threw the ball hard, as if to make up for lost muscle-time. She could be the next Satchell Paige. She could become the Japanese-Canadian Rosa Parks. Parks better than this one would be named after her.
We finished playing catch and went back to the house.
Two days later, Bit drove to Seattle with her friend Kim. Bit wanted to bring gifts for her friends in Japan, and the shopping was much better down there.


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