Thursday, January 20, 2011

Won't Miss #279 - personal space differences

I didn't have a picture of someone invading a private part or orifice, but that kokeshi doll on the right looks annoyed at the proximity of the kokeshi doll on the left to her posterior, doesn't she?

The Japanese have very different ideas about personal space. They don't like to hug and feel very uncomfortable about it, but they have some habits which are far more invasive and offensive than hugs. One is kancho, in which people try to shove their hands as far as possible up another person's behind. I've also seen and heard about women's breasts being grabbed by other women. There was a commercial for weight loss a few years back where a woman who lost a lot of weight was greeted at the door by a friend and the friend remarked on her weight loss then poked her breasts several times as if she was checking a balloon's inflation level. I also had a British friend whose (adult) students goosed her breasts. You can also find blog posts about incidents of crotch-grabbing and rubbing among foreigners who have been essentially assaulted by both Japanese adults and children.

I won't miss a culture that thinks it is okay to touch or assault the most private places of other people's bodies as pranks or humiliation, but finds hugging, kissing, or other displays of physical affection unacceptable and embarrassing.