I describe myself as an average girl in her 20s.
Mid height, mid sized, mid smile. Asian looking asian girl.
Let me first add some background to the story..
I myself work in a creative field, and often times it’s not the best paid industry. I am a starting designer and my salary is just enough to eat everyday.
Not having enough money was a big stress in Tokio, one of the most expensive cities in the world, I decided to take up the second job just on the weekends.
A friend of mine happened to know this person who was looking for a part time server at his bar. She introduced me to the bar manager and within 3 days from my decision, I got the second job. The bar is in Shibuya, the most or second most popular neighborhood among the locals, also among foreign travelers.
My first day at the bar.
Very crowded Saturday night it was, my first shift at the bar. I was told what to do; collect empty glasses, clean ashtrays, clean the floor if it’s dirty, nothing too difficult. Within a few hours I started my first shift, I noticed one thing; So Many Foreigners! I’d say 50% or more customers were non-Japanese, also most of the 50% were westerners.
Sexual harassment I experienced for the first time in my life.
Still on my first day, there was a foreign guy who came up to me and said, “I’ve lost my wallet.” When he talked to me, his arm was around my shoulder and his mouth was almost touching my ear when he talked. Remember when you talk with someone at a club, it was like that. But the music actually wasn’t as loud that we couldn’t talk normally.
I was freaked out by what he did, but I focused on my mission as a server; see if someone turned in his wallet, or if not, find the wallet. I was too naive and kind.
As a result, his wallet was on the bar counter, it was very very easy to find to be honest. When I gave the wallet to him, he suddenly hugged me and kissed me on my neck, saying thank you. Then he offered to buy me a drink to thank me. At the moment I started knowing what’s happening. I politely refused but inside, I was grossed out by him touching me. Even though I was shocked by what happened, I told myself, this doesn’t happen with every guy customer, so forget what just happened.
It was only the beginning.
Thought it wouldn’t happen with every guy, but I was wrong. Maybe not with EVERY single guy, but A LOT OF guys harassed me every time I worked there. And it was almost always done by foreign guys.
One guy touched my face and physically made a smile on my face, saying “ you should smile.”
One guy touched my thighs saying “You have really nice thighs, I would like to be kicked.”
One guy came to the bar 2 days straight, and chased me down in the bar, asking for my number.
On New Year’s day there was one guy who touched me down there, that was the time I felt unsafe and actually had to run away from him.
Some guys want pictures of me or me with them. For what? I don’t know.
Most guys come really close when they talked to me. Some put their arms around my shoulder or hip.
Some guys came to the bar on their birthdays, they asked me for a hug for their birthday.
Some guys touch my butts, back and waist when they pass by me.
I did everything I could.
When they ask for my hug, I say no. They say “Oh, Come on!”
When they ask for my number, I tell them I have a boyfriend. They say “Are you serious with him?”
I do not act as a quiet smiley submissive asian girl, to protect myself.
I have told the manager about all above but what happened happened, also my manager cannot ban foreigners from the bar since it’s ethically wrong plus the bar will lose 50% or so customers.
I am tired by all this, I am hurt that my “no” wasn’t respected.
I am angry you touched my body. I am sad to know I’m supposed to please you.
I would like to ask a few questions here;
To the men who sexually harassed me at the bar, would you do the same thing back in your country? You know you’ll be sued, right?
But why would you do it here?
Aren’t you being carried away now that you are in Japan?
Are you still believing in the myth that Japanese girls like foreign guys?
Please remember that you are respected as much as you are in your home country.
You do not get empowered here.
We Japanese girls respect people of this nation and everyone in the world, and we should be respected too.
And we shouldn’t have to go through situations where we feel unsafe and uncomfortable.
Our “No”s must be respected.
We should be treated as human beings with dignity.