Sexual harassment

One of my students today gave me a surprise again in the class.

This is what happened today morning. It was about time for the second period lesson so I was waiting outside the 5-4 classroom . While I was walking in there for the lesson, a boy sitting in the 2nd row said something out loud in Japanese that I didn’t quite get it. Yet I did pick up some single words such as 顔(it means ‘face’). It took me no time to realize that he was talking about my makeup. There was nothing special about my makeup I knew it. I guess it’s because I got a good sleep last night so I looked better than the usual me and they got surprised. He carried on to say かわいい.This one I do understand though. It means beautiful (or cute) and I was flattered, though it’s from a little boy’s mouth. While I couldn’t be happier, given the situation that I was standing in front of a crowd and everyone was waiting for me to kick start the lesson, I didn’t respond to his flirt. Yes, it is flirting I reckon.

How many partners do you have?

In Japan, students ask their teachers loads of questions in a day. Except for any question concerning study, subjects can range from your birth place to highly sensitive and personal ones such as marital status, number of girlfriends, boyfriends, kids you have. They wouldn’t take the situation into account. They just ask you whenever they feel like to, sometimes in public where other people are around.

Flirting culture in Japan

How can the kids in Japan be so brave to flirt with their teachers in the class some people may wonder. It’s got to do with the culture in Japan. While technological advanced and economically strong, Japan is a fairly traditional society in terms of western culture where some of westerners may even call it conservative. In such a male dominating society, women in Japan generally enjoy lower status and they are supposed to be submissive to men. Men are also tacitly allowed to flirt with women in public, though some cases may already constitute sexual harassment in the west, they are not seen in this way by Japanese people. If you know this, you will realize why so few women can get to the top in a Japanese company, why low-paid and low-ranking jobs are occupied by women, why women have to prepare tea for everyone instead of men in a company, why women are almost a MUST to fill a positions in servicing industry and the advertisements in Japan can publicly express such a wish without getting in any trouble, such as violating equal opportunities laws or being accused gender biased.

There is nowhere you can escape

I remember half a year ago, I was asked whether I was married in my very first lesson in the same school. The question was asked by a student called Souta. Since it was the first lesson and there are over 100 students in the hall, I knew I couldn’t just ignore it. In one second, I came up with a tactic one: ‘I am single’ . Til now, I still reckon it’s one of the best answers I could give in that situation where you must answer it but you don’t wanna be explicit about the fact.


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