Ok, so about that whole thing. Japan is pretty notorious for certain seedy or shady things and "chikan" is one of those seedy things. Apparently, some pervert men will randomly grope women on crowded trains. It's so bad that they do have "Women only" trains during rush hour. And the only males allowed on the women only trains are elementary school boys and anyone who is assisting someone who is elderly or incapacitated, otherwise, you have to take the regular train.
Because I know about this particular facet of the underbelly of Japanese culture, plus coupled with being "different", and rather boob-tastic, and bootylicious, I tried very hard to not take the train until after 10 AM or so, when the foot traffic died down. However, the Saturday we went to the Capcom bar, Jose was intent on going out at ass crack of dawn early as possible. And him still thinking like an American, didn't realize that people were still going to work and school on Saturday (I forgot about that), so we got stuck on a hyper crowded train heading into Shinjuku.
Side note: I don't know if I've mentioned this before, but I have what I call "people claustrophobia". I actually have really bad people claustrophobia. I can be in a small cramped space all day long. When I was kid I used to take naps in my closet and I still do like hanging out in my closet even now. But put a horde of people around me, even in a wide open space, and I start to freak out. So being on a train so tightly packed with people really set my people claustrophobia into overdrive. By the time we got out of the train, I was shaking like a leaf. I also wanted to cry, but managed to hold it in.
With that being said, when we were on the train my rump was bumped or something a couple times. However, I was around at least four to five women and Jose who is always touching my rump (not that you needed or wanted to hear that, but I'm just saying), but I seriously doubt I was being groped by women (then again you never know). So I have come to the realization that, unless someone is obviously sticking their hands where they don't belong, then chikan just kinda happens. The moral of this story is, if it can be helped, then just wait until rush hour is over to catch the train.
The other thing I wanted to talk about was toilets. I know, it's a pretty random topic to bring up, but it's an interesting one. In Japan you have a little variety in toilets. You have regular garden variety toilets that we have here. Then you have the amazing Japanese Toto toilets that look like this:
They have fun buttons, some of which make sounds so you don't have to be embarassed while you do your business. The sound button is literally translates into "Sound princess". Some of them have airfresher functions. Some of the really really fancy ones have a drying function. By my favorite thing about them was the bidet button. Oh my word! Why don't all American toilets have bidets?! How could we even begin to call ourselves the greatest country in the world, when our toilets don't just come with a bidet function as general practice!? Do you know we could be done with bathroom wipes forever if all toilets had a bidet function? Even the public bathrooms in Japan has bidet toilets in them. They are wonderful. The only function I didn't like about the toilets was the heated seat function. Ewwww... It always felt like someone had just gotten up from the toilet seat... Gross!
So while you have the love that is those toilets, conversely you have this:
Oh the hole! Yeah this one is kinda unnerving, but I did use it. I don't know what the real name for this toilet is, but I call it, "the hole"! As you can see, it's pretty much just a hole with water running through it. I had heard about "the hole" and saw it in an anime once (they even have one in one of the Japanese phone games I got), but I didn't know it's one of the options in a public restroom. To use "the hole" takes some precision, because not only do you have to squat and keep yourself balanced as you go, but you have to avoid splash-back as well.
So I braved "the hole", wearing not only white canvas tennis shoes, but also pants. I was happy that there was no spash-back, I didn't fall, and I was able to squat and my knees didn't burst out of my legs and rocket off into the mist. Trust me, any number of those things and more could have happened to me but thankfully it didn't.
Pound per pound, I'll take the bidet toilet over everything else. I kinda want one for our bathroom here. Jose says Home Depot sells them for like $300/ $400 bucks, which is totally worth it, because everyone deserves a fresh and clean backside!