Sensory Overload

I've just been reading about people who experience sensory overload and I'm wondering if I have it. Every morning I'm nearly throwing up on the train. I find it really difficult to handle. I get up early most mornings so I can avoid the overcrowding between 7.30 - 9.00 am but sometimes the trains are cancelled or delayed. Afternoons are worse - I have to hit that sweet spot between kids knocking off school and the commuter rush.

I sit on the train with headphones in and try to avoid all contact with people but it's not enough. I can still smell people - not even bad BO type smells but food or perfumes make me feel sicker. This morning, someone had Vicks on and made me gag. I can't stand people touching me in anyway, or even having their shit over the line on the seats. I can't handle the light streaming in the windows.

I thought this was all just a social phobia but wondered why I could handle all but the most sardine-squish on Japanese trains but even a half empty train here triggers nausea and anxiety. It makes sense though, if it's due to sensory overload. The Japanese tend to be much quieter on the trains (a lot of Aussies don't get the point of mobile phones and think you have to shout so that the other person can hear you), they don't wear strong perfumes, they don't eat on trains (well they do but not like wolfing down a whole Maccas meal) and they have cranky old ladies to glare that them if they do wrong.

Since I'm not planning on moving back to Japan to live, I guess I'll have to find ways to deal with it here. Or maybe, once that haze moves off Singapore...

Data Security

This is really some shit I don't get.  People getting their panties in a big freaken knot about data security on the internet.  What the hell?  Did anyone NOT think that was happening? 

The biggest safeguard of your privacy and information security is this - you are so boring that no one cares.  You are being monitored but you fall under the radar because are so homogenous that your only value is as a drop in the bucket of consumer demographics to be sold to anyone with a few bucks.

But this rant is not so much about that, it's about the way people worry about being monitored but are perfectly happy to sit on public transport writing personal information on their ipads or phones or even talking it out loud.  Do you think other people are not reading over your shoulder or listening in?

Apparently the most common cause of information leakages, in this age of monitoring and analytics and information hacking, is this - people taking (paper) files home with them and leaving them on the train or other public places. 

It's kinda like everyone is worried about Big Brother when what you really have to watch out for is the little brother that comes along and reads your diary that you left sitting open on your bed.

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Gaijin of Doom

I read on twitter that the Japan Times wants people to write them letters outlining how they think working conditions for women in Japan can be improved.

I know how it won't be improved - by a bunch of gaijin making a bunch of half-arsed suggestions.

You are there to teach English people, you are not there to save the natives or show them the light of your Western culture.

And seriously, if I was going to invest time and energy into improving conditions for women, I'd be looking at countries where the working conditions mean that women are raped and killed, where they have to work ungodly hours in ungodly conditions to barely survive.

If you live in a first world country and you can't be bothered doing anything to change your lot, then why should I care?

Japanese women don't get fat (or old) - the book, the bollocks.

When I read this post on Fight Start, I remembered I'd been planning to post a rant about that very same book.

For starters, the author obvs has never been on the Mita line north of Sugamo or to Gusto in the Itabashi-ku or they'd never have called it that.  At least she didn't call it Japanese women never get fat or old or pick their noses because the Mita line could surely be renamed the Pick a Winner Mita line - I've never seen so many nose pickers in one place in my life!

Most middle class women in Japan though are pretty thin, I have to say.

Anyway, the author, like most people, ignores the true reason why Japanese women don't put on weight.  And that is this: 

Japanese women are oppressed by a misogynist society where their entire worth revolves around looking thin and young.

If you don't look your best, your husband will be taking all the moneys and spending them on trying to get a 15 year old AKB48 look-a-like to suck his cock.  If he leaves you, you will struggle to survive because you spent your university days and early career focused on GETTING A HUSBAND then gave it all up to look after him and the kids and now you are over 35 and it's impossible for a woman to get any kind of half decent job at that age even if they didn't have a 10 year+ career break.

Ergo, if you don't look thin and young, you are fucked.

The entire feminist movement is a failure because Western women are fat?  We should forget about having careers and fulfilling lives because it's taking time away from our efforts to be thin?  Fuck that bullshit.  I'll take my rights as a human being on this earth over being thin any day. 

I'll take living in a society where I can be married, have kids and have a career - or any combination I want - over looking like a little kawaii doll.  Where, if I apply for a job I don't have to include my age or photo on my resume - and where my future employer can actually be fucked up for even asking for that.

Thinness is not the ultimate goal for woman.  Some women are naturally thin, some women choose to be thin but no one should be telling them it's mandatory.  Policing women's bodies is misogyny and oppresion.  And, if you are not part of the STFU on this, you are part of the problem. 

I have no proof of this, but I bet you can make a direct correlation between the expectation of thinness on women in society and the level to which they are oppressed.

But Kathryn, you say, Japanese women are healthier than those fatty-fat Western women.

The healthy argument is always trotted out when it comes to body policing but it's a load of balls really.  Is it healthy to live on white rice and a scarcity of fresh fruit and vegetables?  Is it healthy to obsess about every single thing you eat?

Studies have actually shown that being overweight is healthier for you than being underweight (the desired weight for Japanese women is below the healthy BMI).  It is definitely healthier to be overweight than to be on a diet lacking in essential nutrients in order to obtain and maintain a certain weight.  If you look at the ads in the back of Japanese women's magazines, there are a heap for weight loss products and the scary thing is that the "before" pictures look a hell of a lot healthier than the "after".

So back to the book.  Japanese women don't get fat or old is full of bollocksy diet advice and, like most diet books, is intent on making you so concerned about being pleasing to men that you get back in the kitchen where you belong -- but only to cook to please others because heaven forbid you actually eat some of that food yourself.

The Most Important Thing I Left In Japan

If, after reading that title, you are expecting me to wax all lyrical about how I left something metaphorical like my hopes or dreams or illusions in Japan, you don't know me very well.

Hopes and dreams are all well and good, but I left something far more precious behind - my favourite bra.

If you are a guy or maybe a chick on the smaller end of the cup scale, you might not think that such a big deal but it is.  Shopping for a bra is not like buying other underwear.  It's not like popping into a store for a pair of socks or some knickers.  It's like pouring the concrete block for a house then putting up the trusses and ... whatever... I don't really know that much about building houses.  But there's a whole lot of stuff to consider.

For example, if the straps are too thin, they cut into your shoulders and cause pain.  If the back is too narrow, it causes the type of clevage you don't want. 

Also, you have to get fitted.  And that is time consuming. 

Also also, bras are NOT cheap.

It's all a pain in the arse really so I'd rather buy a couple of bras and wear them until I can't wait them any more.

So leaving my bra in Japan is a huge deal for me.

It looked kinda like this.  I can't find one the same online so I can't even reorder it. Note: My stomach probably didn't look like this when I was wearing it!!!!

And, aside from the inconvenience, there's the whole - WHERE THE FUCK IS IT? question.

When I first got home, I thought I'd just been slack about unpacking - either it was in another bag  or I'd put it somewhere strange and it'd turn up eventually.

Now I've come to accept that it has really gone.

Before we left our apartment, we cleaned the place like mofos.  We really wanted to make sure we got our deposit back.  There was nothing in the cupboards or under the bed or any other place.

That leads me to the very likely suspicion that it was stolen.  We had a communal laundry in our building and some dodgy characters living there.

I'm pretty sure some hentai old Japanese guy is, as I type, sitting there wearing my bra as a hat.  Maybe him and his equally hentai brother are wearing a cup each!  They are pretending they are Siamese twins connected at the head!  It's totally possible and very disturbing.

If ever you are in the Itabashi-ku area and see one or more people wearing a black Berlei bra on their head, please steal it and send it back to me.


Lately, I've been on a reading spree of samurai murder mysteries.  I'm not even sure why myself but they are easy to read on the train ride to and from work.

Anyway, I've been learning a lot about bushido.  The samurai code of honor.

Pretty much it's just a blueprint for men to act like arseholes really, isn't it.  I mean Western men historically have not had a great track record either but at least chivaly and the gentlemenly code of honor just opresses women.  It doesn't kick them in the teeth while they are down there.

Samurai, being all honorable and shit, didn't handle money because it was beneath them and dirty and all that bollocks.  The wife did it instead.  You'd think that'd be a good thing but no... he'd go out drinking and whoring and she'd have to find the money to pay the bills.

If you were a non-samurai woman, those dirty old samurai could rape you (even if you were a little kid) and, if your family tried to stop them, they all got killed.  Your entire family.  Imagine being a parent and have the choice of letting your kid get raped or having your whole family murdered.

Samurai daughters didn't get off so easily either.  If you misbehaved, you could get sent off to a brothel for a year or so as punishment!  As well as getting married off to some creep you'd never met (but that happened in all cultures in the good old days).

Meanwhile the samurai dudes are filling their swords with their spirits (god, that needs some air quotes) and then testing them out on the poor peasants.

Unlike Western men of the old days, there was no protecting women.  No looking after them in return for them cooking and cleaning and going through child birth with no drugs.  You didn't even get a door opened for you, you just had to crawl around on tatami mats, being all quiet and serene.

Some lucky women did get to learn to use swords though.  I'd have been using it to chop some balls off.

Dear girl on the Yamanote Line on Friday night

Maybe I am wrong, maybe the government of this country has appointed random white chicks to be the upholders of the 'shit Japanese people can hear being discussed on a late night train' code but I'm pretty certain that is in fact NOT the case.

I am also pretty certain that the folk on the train at that time of night that had the English knowledge and sobriety to work out what we were discussing, probably wouldn't be that offended by it.  I mean, I can't talk for every drunken Japanese person on the train but I've found people here aren't that coy about discussing bodily functions.

Also, it has been particularly humid in Tokyo of late and I'm sure most people, in whatever language have been discussing topics such as sweat and the best type of deodorant to use.  I may not be well versed in social graces but I don't think that is particularly offensive.  Maybe if we'd been say discussing the effects of humidity on our respective girl/boy bits in graphic detail, you'd have a case.

The only bit of sound judgement you used was mentioning the inappropriateness of discussion to my friend and not me as he was far too polite to rip you a new arsehole.  You are also lucky he did not tell me what you said until you got off the train.

But really, I would like to know on what authority you are basing your THIS IS OFFENSIVE TO THE JAPANESE PEOPLE ON THE TRAIN rant. 
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