Whilst attempting to clear some junk from my hard drive over the weekend, I came across a story told to me by an ex-colleague that I had stored for posterity about four or five years ago. And with the recent introduction of women only carriages in Tokyo, plus the continued rise of commuter related misdemeanours, it’s relatively topical. Yes, I realise that topical and Tokyo Times aren’t exactly regular bedfellows, but they are today. And what’s more, the tale is a rather shocking one too.
Now before I start it has to be said that none of the unsavoury events about to be recounted were (thankfully) witnessed by me personally. But what I can say is that the woman whose story this is was a trustworthy type, and her distress and discomfort whilst recounting the details of her late night commutes means I didn’t have any reason to disbelieve her.
As a final bit of background information, the unfortunate lady in question lived in Tokyo, but right on the outskirts of the city and at the end of a train line. And as busy as most trains are, when you get towards the end of the line, the number of commuters dwindles enormously. Especially on late night trains during the week.
Ok, with all that out of the way, we can finally get to the meat of the tale. Which I’m afraid to say involves masturbation. Yes, what surprised my ex-coworker most about her late night journey home was the number of sleepy yet noticeably stimulated salary men. Apparently the first time she witnessed such activities, she was more amused (or perhaps bemused is a more accurate description) than anything else. And without going into too much detail, she basically had the decidedly dubious pleasure of seeing the movement of hands shuffling up and down under trousers. With it being very clear that rummaging around for loose change was definitely not the order of the day.
Now obviously such sexual shenanigans aren’t what one expects to see on the way home, but our intrepid traveller was (like I said earlier) initially more amused than appalled. This didn’t last long though, as glancing down an almost deserted carriage one night, she happened upon another bold-faced basher. Only this man wasn’t quite so reserved, and in no way was he respecting the unwritten rules of masturbating manner. No, not by a long shot. As with his trousers undone, there was no mistaking what he was up to.
Anyway, not wanting to see the man get to the end of his journey as it were, she got up and moved down to another carriage. But this turned out to be a case of out of the frying pan and into the fire, because upon entering the next compartment she was confronted by an old man urinating in the corner! Now arguably the latter is more acceptable (or at least understandable) as beer and bladders aren’t always the best of buddies. Plus it appeared to be a one-off, and an emergency of the kind many of us can probably relate to. Openly masturbating in public however is quite the opposite. Although from the gist of the tale, for some passengers it seemed to be almost mandatory.
In my time here I have heard similar-ish stories, but they have always been along the lines of, “A friend of a friend saw…” But hearing this one straight from the horse’s mouth as it were, means I’m inclined to believe it. And even allowing for a few embellishments, it’s a shocking tale to say the least. Whereas most of us are content to read or listen to music during our daily commute, others it seems have a very different approach to passing the time. I suppose you could say different strokes for different folks. But I won’t.