I am always surprised, and somewhat confused, when a strange man approaches me in Tokyo. I often assume they just want English practice...and then I figure out that is not the case.
First, it happens more often here than it EVER did in the United States. Not to say that men come up to me ALL the time here - I am sure that an adorable Western girl of age 22 gets more play than I. I'm old and overweight, so....if I had to average the experiences...I would say that a man approaches me on the street or train platform about once every 9 days. So...3 times a month?
I have been approached while shopping for shampoo, waiting for the crosswalk to change to green, entering a train car, checking train route signs, accepting tissues, returning to my work, or just walking on the sidewalk.
A variety of men speak to me. The first few months were usually men from African countries - apparently liking the fact that I am larger than girls here. Also a man from India, an American, and two Japanese. Now, the numbers of African men have dwindled, and the numbers of Asian men increase. (This is fine by me - after all, I am on the proverbial look-out for an acceptable "Japanese beau" to "shack up with.")(Second note - quotations due to profile description of another blogger and her living sitch: Green-eyed Geisha) (Third note: I say Japanese, but Korean and Chinese are equally as charming and adorable!)
The second reason I am always so surprised is that I have read/heard that Japanese men are extremely shy or closed. Based on that, when a stranger talks to me - I am taken back.
Generally I hear a "Hello miss" and the conversation begins - or at least staggers on. I do not speak Japanese - for which I apologize. I am polite - after all, it is flattering to be approached. And I often, although not always, agree to one coffee meet - it takes courage to approach a random stranger. Plus, then I can suss out their purpose. Is it because they want a "language exchange" friend or something else? (I would hate to miss out on a potential paying private language student!)
BUT the purpose of this post is not to give a count-down of attempted pick-ups. It is only to give the lead in to a story I want to share in the near future - "The Tale of the Kimochi-warui!!"