Gaijin Smash

The Pants Club

Posted in Blog by gaijinsmashnet on May 17, 2007

Going into a sannensei class one day, a girl sitting near the front caught my attention. Before, if I were to say that, it was probably because she was openly fondling herself during class, attempting to flash me her panties, or she was only a few minutes away from handing out numbers and letting the guys line up to fuck her right there on top of the desks.* But not this time. This particular girl happened to catch my attention…because she was wearing pants.
*Amazingly enough, these are NOT hypothetical situations.
For most of you, you’re probably thinking, “she was wearing pants…and?” Me though, I have clearly been in Japan for far too long, because this actually bothered me a bit. “It’s a girl…but she’s wearing pants. This female, who should be wearing a skirt, is instead wearing pants. She is not a boy, she clearly has no penis (at least that I am aware of), yet she is wearing pants, which is wrong. What’s going on here?”
As you probably know, most if not all junior high schools and high schools in Japan utilize school uniforms. There are a few different variations–the Navy uniform/sailor suit type, the polo shirt/blazer type, and even the potato sack moo-cow type. But one unchanging, unmoving constant is that boys wear pants, and girls wear skirts. Girls may wear shorts or pants as a part of their PE uniform, but if we’re talking about the regular uniform, it’s a skirt. This does not change.


Even in winter, when you’d think they’d let girls wear pants or something to at least keep their legs warm. Winter in Japan is really fucking cold. Well, it’s really cold at me at least, but you have to remember that I’m from sunny California. The temperature dips below 70, and people are like, “Oh boy, it’s getting a bit chilly. I’d better throw on a sweater.” In California, it’s cold when the ice cubes in your Pina Colada don’t melt as fast as we think they should. Meanwhile, people on the East Coast are thinking, “You fucking pansies,” but at least we get to laugh at you when the temperature peaks over 90, and you’re all like, “OMG so hot dying so hot,” and we’re thinking, “Man, it’s a little breezy today, I might need a light jacket or something.”
Japanese people at least think it’s cold, what with all the constant chants of “samui!” Many girls bring towels or blankets that they use to cover their legs while they sit at their desks. Sometimes, I like to take the opportunity to give them a little cultural enlightenment.
Girls: It’s so cold…
Me: Yeah. I mean, *I’m* cold, but you guys must *really* be cold in those skirts!
Girls: It’s freezing!
Me: You know, in America, girls can wear pants.
Girls: Wow, really?
Me: Yeah. Pants, shorts, sweats, whatever they want.
Girls: That would be nice…
Me: And you know, America has central heating too, which means that the whole room stays warm, not just the area around the heater.
Girls: Wow, that’s so great! I wanna go to America!
12-15 years-old is the PERFECT time for a little psychological conditioning, don’t you think? Sociologists say that the population of Japan will be zero by the year 3000. But I think if we all pitch in and do what we can, we can speed it up to 2500 at least.
You may think I’m joking about the social conditioning thing, but I’m kinda not. Girls wear skirts in middle and high school, even during the winter, and this trains them to continue wearing skirts even past high school. Guys in America used to say that they loved spring because it’s the time when the weather warms up, and girls start wearing skirts again. That rule doesn’t apply to Japan though, because girls here wear skirts all year round. Even in winter! I’m not talking about long skirts either, I mean I’ve seen girls wearing skirts so short in winter, that you can actually see how many babies they’ve aborted. (This would actually be kind of awesome, if only more Japanese girls had legs to speak of.) Just goes to show you that fashion > everything in Japan. Well, I can’t say everything, but I can at least say fashion > being comfortably warm in the winter.
The skirt thing further amuses me because one November day at my old schools, I showed up to school wearing a short-sleeved polo shirt. Pretty much EVERYBODY had to stop and ask me, “Oh my God, aren’t you cold in that shirt?” The funny thing was, it wasn’t even a cold day. But to the Japanese mind, November = winter = no short sleeves. To the, literally, hundreds of people who asked me if I was cold in my short-sleeves, I tried saying to a few of them, “But I imagine the poor female students might get a little chilly in their skirts,” but of course, NO ONE got it. Much like trying to explain a sunset to someone who was born blind, trying to tell a virgin what a blowjob feels like, or trying to explain to Lindsay Lohan what it’s like being sober, it was just something they couldn’t even remotely fathom, much less comprehend.
Taking all of that into account, this is why I was surprised to see a girl wearing pants. I suppose it was possible she had some horrible leg scars, or she was attempting to hide some penis-like tentacle monster or something (this is Japan after all…), but I never found out. Although, within a week of me noticing her in the pants, her two friends also decided that this was a good idea, and they too started to wear pants. I’d seen their legs before, so I know there was nothing wrong with them. So, I started thinking of these girls as The Pants Club. While the parts of my brain that are slowly being invaded by the Japanese Symbiote are thinking “WTF pants on girls,” the parts of me that are still American applaud them for going against the social norms. Japan sees them as they want to see them…in the simplest terms, in the most convenient definitions. But maybe, what they found out is that each one of them is a brain, and has their own personality that can’t be defined by a stereotype.
…Or maybe they’re just lesbians? Who knows.
***
One of my friends tells me of a similar situation at his school. A ninensei girl there has gender identity issues. She’s cut her hair short, wears the boys’ uniform, and speaks in not only a male voice, but uses gruff and coarse language that would make even Quentin Tarantino blush. She also insists that the teachers and her other classmates call her by the male suffix of -kun, rather than the standard -san that’s used for girls in junior high school.
I couldn’t help but wonder what happens when this girl has to go to the bathroom.
“I was just about to get to that!” my friend exclaims. “She goes to the girls bathroom. Of course. But she every time she goes to the bathroom, she has to have a teacher come along with her, to explain to any other girls that might be in the bathroom that she’s a girl too.” The other girls in the school do know that Boy George here is a girl, right? “Of course they do! But for this girl, she’s so freaked out that if she goes into the bathroom, and there’s a girl there, the girl will get mad and start screaming sexual harassment or something, so she insists on having a teacher come along every time and explain the situation. Isn’t that so awesome? You’re a Japanese teacher, and you have to accompany a girl who’s trying to be a boy, to the girl’s bathroom, to explain to other girls that she’s using the girls’ bathroom because she can’t take a piss in a urinal.”
And people wonder why I don’t want to be a teacher anymore.

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66 Responses

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  1. anton said, on May 17, 2007 at 12:37 am

    I AM THE FIRST-GUY!

  2. chewyman said, on May 17, 2007 at 12:39 am

    “You’re a Japanese teacher, and you have to accompany a girl who’s trying to be a boy, to the girl’s bathroom, to explain to other girls that she’s using the girl’s bathroom because she can’t take a piss in a urinal.”
    My God! That’s even more messed up than the kancho assassin…

  3. Gabe said, on May 17, 2007 at 12:50 am

    Wait… So why don’t you want to be a teacher anymore? Girls in pants? What are you babbling about?
    (As the grim reality is that since you have been away, Japan has taken over the world and you are just living in a Truman Show like fantasy land. Oh the horror.)

  4. Amanda said, on May 17, 2007 at 1:20 am

    Pants Girl wouldn’t happen to be named Haruka, would she? ^_^

  5. Rob said, on May 17, 2007 at 2:33 am

    Shoot, skirts are shorter in winter because they don’t have to fear the deadly tanning rays of the sun! God forbid they do anything to upset that unhealthy pallor.
    Props for the the Breakfast Club riff. [God, I’m old.]
    (Az’s Note: Ah, good point. I forgot about the love of pasty white/hatred of tans.
    And I’m old right here with you.)

  6. Suzu said, on May 17, 2007 at 2:42 am

    I lol’d at Amanda’s comment. I’m personally betting on Haruka or Rina, myself =p

  7. Deuxsonic said, on May 17, 2007 at 3:04 am

    “I forgot about the love of pasty white/hatred of tans.”
    If there’s snow on the ground, you will tan because the snow acts as a mirror. Being cold and having the sun at a greater distance from the Earth during the winter in the northern hemisphere is not a valid method of avoiding the rays if there happens to be snow.

  8. Brienna said, on May 17, 2007 at 3:37 am

    The first time I went to Japan was with my high school Japanese teacher… who sent out an email saying that girls must have skirts to wear to school tours.
    I, naturally, found the concept of HAVING to wear skirts horrific and protested profusely. And proceeded to wear pants. I stooped to wear a skort, though.
    It’s quite empowering to walk through a Japanese high school/middle school/whatever wearing pants, let me tell you. It automatically raises the female Gaijin Power by double.

  9. Anonymous said, on May 17, 2007 at 3:44 am

    Hey Chewyman explain why that’s messed up? Dealing with gender identity issues isn’t a very easy thing to do. It takes a lot of courage for someone to come out and start living as the desired sex; especially when they are still school aged. Kids with such issues are often the victim of bullying and asking for a teacher escort doesn’t seem that weird if it means they can go about their business without some asshats hurting them.

  10. Anonymous said, on May 17, 2007 at 3:44 am

    Hey Chewyman explain why that’s messed up? Dealing with gender identity issues isn’t a very easy thing to do. It takes a lot of courage for someone to come out and start living as the desired sex; especially when they are still school aged. Kids with such issues are often the victim of bullying and asking for a teacher escort doesn’t seem that weird if it means they can go about their business without some asshats hurting them.

  11. Shamie said, on May 17, 2007 at 5:02 am

    I’d be more excited about this post if it weren’t about middle school girls. Le sigh. I have a thing about hateing girls locker-rooms because I’m a lesbian. IT SUCKS. I wish I could walk in and just bask in the naked breast-grabbing glory! I just get so nervous that I knock into things. But I don’t dress up like a guy, then again I couldn’t pull off crossdressing as compared to most American girls (too much hips, ass and rack[not that I’m complaining]), let alone an under developed Japanese middle school girl.

  12. ZeroSD said, on May 17, 2007 at 5:43 am

    I wonder if the last girl (who does sound trans, so I should say guy) is just giving that excuse for an escort to avoid problems in an isolated area like the above poster said…
    Yay for the pants club and Brienna for going through Japanese school with pants!

  13. Mr. Son said, on May 17, 2007 at 6:07 am

    My sympathies for the transgender ninensei. I’ve heard that it’s really hard for transgendered people in Japan.

  14. Prodigal Priest said, on May 17, 2007 at 6:13 am

    Even in winter, when you’d think they’d let girls wear pants or something to at least keep their legs warm. Winter in Japan is really fucking cold. Well, it’s really cold at me at least, but you have to remember that I’m from sunny California. “The temperature dips below 70, and people are like “Oh boy, it’s getting a bit chilly. I’d better throw on a sweater.” In California, its cold when the ice cubes in your Pina Colada don’t melt as fast as we think they should. Meanwhile, people on the East Coast are thinking “you fucking pansies”, but at least we get to laugh at you when the temperature peaks over 90 and you’re all like “OMG so hot dying so hot” and we’re thinking “man, it’s a little breezy today, I might need a light jacket or something.”
    Yeah, yeah…. It’s not my fault my ancestors used to live on top of a fucking glacier in Europe, and killed/cooked whatever they could catch :p Which probably includes each other on really long winters *laugh*
    No matter where you go, the temperature shifts are gonna disagree with -somebody-. ^_-
    However….
    Identity crises aren’t something I’ve had to deal with before. It’s biochemical in nature, so I don’t think it’s unnatural or wrong to feel like you’re a different sex than what you are physically. It’s a sad thing to be that confused, AND to have everyone around you who thought they knew you not accept you if you decide to announce how you feel.
    Life can be really really cruel and fucked up sometimes 😦

  15. adam said, on May 17, 2007 at 7:16 am

    😀
    I’m transgender and also in high school, and I have at least a dozen bathroom confusion stories. People really do get freaked out. I have to be careful.
    I’d think that a teacher escort is a bit extreme, but I don’t live in Japan, thank God.

  16. Blinky said, on May 17, 2007 at 8:03 am

    “…Or maybe they’re just lesbians? Who knows.”
    I threw a lawlicopter there.
    “Isn’t that so awesome? You’re a Japanese teacher, and you have to accompany a girl who’s trying to be a boy, to the girl’s bathroom, to explain to other girls that she’s using the girl’s bathroom because she can’t take a piss in a urinal.”
    As a human being (I’m not a teacher yet), I would roll my eye every day I had to do this. I guess it’d be reversed for me because I’m a male and some women might object to a male (no matter how blinky or how teachery) going into their bathroom.
    I’d have to take a Visual Kei looking dude into the dude’s bathroom and say “Don’t rape her, guys, for SHE has a PENIS!!!!”
    Them: Well how do you know?
    Me: Because little Mary Please-and-thanks here brought a note in from home saying that her name is no longer Sexually-confused Nerd but little Mary Please-and-thanks.
    Them: AW!!!
    Of course with my vision I’d probably end up walking the wrong girl to the bathroom and have all sorts of shit fly in my direction… Of course I live in California so maybe this is more normal then I’d know.

  17. Ramchip said, on May 17, 2007 at 8:07 am

    “Being cold and having the sun at a greater distance from the Earth during the winter in the northern hemisphere is not a valid method of avoiding the rays if there happens to be snow.”
    Heh, I don’t want to start a huge argument on that, but the sun is actually closer to the earth during the northern winter. It’s colder only because it’s lower on the horizon (the Earth is more inclined), which means the rays get spread on a larger surface. Because of this angle the rays also go through a thicker layer of ozone and they lose most of their UV energy, so whether they’re reflected by the snow or not they’re still too UV-weak to tan you, unless you stay really, really long outside in full sun.
    Now let’s go back to pants and skirts!

  18. J-hoosier said, on May 17, 2007 at 9:08 am

    Actually, several of my female students have worn pants as part of their uniform. They just wear the typical boys’ pants, but the upper part is still the girls’: sweater, funny-looking little tie thingy, etc. My Japanese wasn’t good enough at the time to get into the “why aren’t you wearing a skirt” discussion (and I didn’t want people thinking I had an obsession with teenage girls and their lower parts).
    The previous two years I worked in a medium-sized city with roughly 20 JHS. Only one had no uniform code. I was shocked when I went there, because nobody wore a uniform. But all the girls would wear plaid uniform skirts.
    On a different note, to emphasize Az’s point on uniforms/fashion and all that, if you ask many sannensei girls what high school they want to go to, they’ll pick out the ones with the cutest uniforms.

  19. chewyman said, on May 17, 2007 at 9:49 am

    “Kids with such issues are often the victim of bullying and asking for a teacher escort doesn’t seem that weird if it means they can go about their business without some asshats hurting them.”
    Except that Az said she had the teacher there so that the other girls knew she was actually a girl, which they already did. It isn’t a question of her being bullied. The girl needs a child psychologist, simple as that.

  20. Anonymous said, on May 17, 2007 at 11:23 am

    “Except that Az said she had the teacher there so that the other girls knew she was actually a girl, which they already did. It isn’t a question of her being bullied.”
    That’s exactly why she WOULD be bullied. Regardless of her excuse for having the teacher along, she knows that they all know she’s not a boy. What she’s really worried about is getting cornered by a group of girls and harassed herself. No matter where you go in the world, one thing does not change: Children are cruel, nasty little bastards – and teenage girls are some of the worst. No offense intended, ladies.

  21. Anonymous said, on May 17, 2007 at 11:23 am

    “Except that Az said she had the teacher there so that the other girls knew she was actually a girl, which they already did. It isn’t a question of her being bullied.”
    That’s exactly why she WOULD be bullied. Regardless of her excuse for having the teacher along, she knows that they all know she’s not a boy. What she’s really worried about is getting cornered by a group of girls and harassed herself. No matter where you go in the world, one thing does not change: Children are cruel, nasty little bastards – and teenage girls are some of the worst. No offense intended, ladies.

  22. Colin said, on May 17, 2007 at 11:37 am

    There was actually a documentary done ten years ago about transgendered people in Japan that started as women. It was made about 10 years ago by a guy named Regge Life. The name of the movie is Shinjuku Boys. If you see it, you will spend the entire time staring and going, “….huh.”

  23. Yitzy said, on May 17, 2007 at 11:57 am

    When I was in Japan, on one of the last days the exchange group I was in were in the school, a group of junior high school girls (at this school, the Junior High School and the High School were one building) came into the room where we usually were forced to stay during classes and they each introduced themselves. One of them was also wearing pants and had short hair and when she introduced herself, she said “My name is ______ and I’m a girl!”
    I’m obviously not totally sure since this was the only time I saw her, but it seemed like that she didn’t really have gender issues, but was really only doing this as some sort of joke because when she said “and I’m a girl!” not only was she smiling, but her friends were laughing as well. If it is a joke, that’s kinda cool. Like you said, maybe she just wanted to break out of the stereotype and turned it into this joke.

  24. ShadowCell said, on May 17, 2007 at 12:00 pm

    “You’re a Japanese teacher, and you have to accompany a girl who’s trying to be a boy, to the girl’s bathroom, to explain to other girls that she’s using the girl’s bathroom because she can’t take a piss in a urinal.'”
    The psychiatrists will begin bidding for the rights tomorrow.

  25. Kohaku said, on May 17, 2007 at 12:33 pm

    I would have definitely swore her name was Haruka…lol….but I have a few little girls named Haruka in my classes who are as girly as they come. so….sailor moon refrences aside…. poor kid…I was a serious tomboy, but I still acknowledged my female status (and enjoy it!) That’s tough…then again going against the norm in Japan is beyond tough.
    Wow…the girls wore pants….Kudos to them for wearing pants. I’m I freak out my students because I wear a skirt maybe once a month (before it was never) they about lost their minds the first time I did…..Now I’m known as the teacher with a big smile, long legs, and okii oppai (big tits). Nice to be known by your bodyparts. I’ve never been the type to wear skirts often….drives the girls crazy…I laugh SO hard…

  26. Kelly said, on May 17, 2007 at 1:41 pm

    “Sociologists say that the population of Japan will be zero by the year 3000. But I think if we all pitch in and do what we can, we can speed it up to 2500 at least.”
    “…Or maybe they’re just lesbians? Who knows.”
    …Possibly related?

  27. Beowulf Lee said, on May 17, 2007 at 5:52 pm

    What would happen if more girls started wearing pants? From what I understand, teachers can’t do anything to students anyway. Plus, I don’t think girls wearing pants would get ostracized from society or anything like that. Uh… right?

  28. 0x15e said, on May 17, 2007 at 6:01 pm

    “Japan sees them as they want to see them…in the simplest terms, in the most convenient definitions.”
    Hmm … seems familiar … must be some coincidence …
    “But maybe, what they found out is that each one of them …”
    Oh god dammit. Now I’m going to have to clean all the soda off the monitor.

  29. ArtIsABang said, on May 17, 2007 at 7:04 pm

    I am impressed that kids haven’t tried to kancho you yet.
    Or was it a Kyoto thing?

  30. Josephine said, on May 17, 2007 at 7:06 pm

    Hmmm, I wonder if they’ll ever get to wear pants, I mean to be part of the normal uniform. Even in schools that wear uniforms in America have the pants, skirts, and shorts version of the uniform. More power to them anyways.

  31. Hilary said, on May 17, 2007 at 7:24 pm

    “The skirt thing further amuses me because one November day at my old schools, I showed up to school wearing a short-sleeved polo shirt. Pretty much EVERYBODY had to stop and ask me, “Oh my God, aren’t you cold in that shirt?” The funny thing was, it wasn’t even a cold day. But to the Japanese mind, November = winter = no short sleeves.”
    This happens at my japanese class too, It’s only a room…(theres one for high school junior high, and elementary too. This one of those Saturday classes that you have sign up for.) But the sensei’s are all obasans. During the winter months it’s okay to wear your shoes in the class. But once spring comes it’s off with your shoes and sometimes it’s kinda chilly in California during the spring time but we still have to take off our shoes cause it’s spring.
    And in the winter there is one heat fan, try in front of the heat when 40 other kids are also trying to be in front of it.

  32. Ihmhi said, on May 17, 2007 at 7:48 pm

    Az-sama, you must understand… you are like the… how can I say this politely… okay, I am not Japanese, so I do not have to say shit politely.
    You are the grenade jumper for JETs.
    Grenade Jumper (n.) When a group of males goes to pick up a group of females, the “grenade jumper” hits on the fugly one to save his mates, just like how a soldier would jump on a grenade to save his comrades from death.
    I mean, because of your sacrifice (of sanity, common sense, etc.), future JETs will be able to read your site and watch out for any incoming teleporting Japanese grenades of doom.
    Arigatou Gozaimasu, Az-sama!

  33. Deuxsonic said, on May 17, 2007 at 8:38 pm

    “Heh, I don’t want to start a huge argument on that, but the sun is actually closer to the earth during the northern winter. It’s colder only because it’s lower on the horizon (the Earth is more inclined), which means the rays get spread on a larger surface. Because of this angle the rays also go through a thicker layer of ozone and they lose most of their UV energy, so whether they’re reflected by the snow or not they’re still too UV-weak to tan you, unless you stay really, really long outside in full sun.
    Now let’s go back to pants and skirts!”
    You’re correct, I had a brain fart on distance.
    Why would you want to be pasty though?

  34. stewieh said, on May 17, 2007 at 9:08 pm

    This story reminds me of Kinpachi Sensei series 6, which had Ueto Aya as a girl with gender issues. She came to school wearing really long skirt, but eventually wore pants. Great series. I’m always a softie for Japanese teacher dramas.
    Btw Az, I found the line “I’ve seen girls wearing skirts so short in winter, that you can actually see how many babies they’ve aborted” to be in pretty bad taste.

  35. Anonymous said, on May 18, 2007 at 1:12 am

    TF pants on girls”, the parts of me that are still American appaud them for going against the social norms.
    I’ve only got one comment…..you miss spelled “applaud.”
    Got article tho.

  36. Anonymous said, on May 18, 2007 at 1:12 am

    TF pants on girls”, the parts of me that are still American appaud them for going against the social norms.
    I’ve only got one comment…..you miss spelled “applaud.”
    Got article tho.

  37. Anonymous said, on May 18, 2007 at 5:22 am

    “Btw Az, I found the line “I’ve seen girls wearing skirts so short in winter, that you can actually see how many babies they’ve aborted” to be in pretty bad taste.”
    Japan has a bloody high abortion rate – highest in the world, I think. It’s fairly easy too… you need to take a man along (it’s supposed to be the father, but they don’t really care), then you pay Y200,000 and it’s an overnight hospital stay. Very common here and without the stigma attached overseas.
    Given how Japanese middle schoolers look, I think the pants/skirt thing is nessesary to tell genders apart sometimes. Guys have long hair and look metro, girls are flat-chested with short hair.

  38. Anonymous said, on May 18, 2007 at 5:22 am

    “Btw Az, I found the line “I’ve seen girls wearing skirts so short in winter, that you can actually see how many babies they’ve aborted” to be in pretty bad taste.”
    Japan has a bloody high abortion rate – highest in the world, I think. It’s fairly easy too… you need to take a man along (it’s supposed to be the father, but they don’t really care), then you pay Y200,000 and it’s an overnight hospital stay. Very common here and without the stigma attached overseas.
    Given how Japanese middle schoolers look, I think the pants/skirt thing is nessesary to tell genders apart sometimes. Guys have long hair and look metro, girls are flat-chested with short hair.

  39. HiEv said, on May 18, 2007 at 3:38 pm

    Re: “Japan has a bloody high abortion rate – highest in the world, I think.”
    Utter nonsense. From what I could find, Japan’s abortion rate has been lower than the rate in the US since 1995, and the US by no means has the highest rate worldwide. I couldn’t find more recent statistics, but in 1999 the abortion rate for American adolescents was nearly twice as high as it was in Japanese adolescents. Japanese adolescents also don’t get pregnant anywhere near as often as US adolescents. See:
    http://www.jstage.jst.go.jp/article/ehpm/10/1/9/_pdf

  40. Anonymous said, on May 18, 2007 at 3:42 pm

    The person above me wins you. :]

  41. Azrael said, on May 18, 2007 at 9:12 pm

    I hate to break this to you HiEv, but Japan’s abortion rate IS astronomically high. Did you read the link you posted? It even says “Ratios in Japan exceeded abortion ratios in the United States for all age groups except for women in the 25-29 age group. The ratio for the women less than 20 years old in Japan was 5.7 times as high as the ratio for the United States”.
    And that doesn’t take into account all the non-reported abortions, and Japan is notorious for under-reporting.

  42. Zantetsu said, on May 18, 2007 at 10:13 pm

    So… Who wears the pants in the relationship now you Japanese hedonists? XD
    Seriously, what’s so bad about Japanese girls finally breaking off the icy grip of the box? Maybe this is also a sign they might want to grow their bits now. 😮
    Seriously again, Azrael, you’re almost becoming trapped in their box… Listen to the Star-Spangled self and add this event as one step for you, another step for a non-robotic Japan.
    Damn, shoot me already. >_<

  43. stewieh said, on May 19, 2007 at 11:25 am

    I wrote, “Btw Az, I found the line “I’ve seen girls wearing skirts so short in winter, that you can actually see how many babies they’ve aborted” to be in pretty bad taste” — I’m not disputing the rate of abortion in Japan. What I’m wondering is what it has to do with wearing short skirts. So Japanese girls/women who wear short skirts are more likely to get abortions? I don’t get how this joke works.

  44. stewieh said, on May 19, 2007 at 12:07 pm

    Az, regarding the statement you made to HiEv, you’re confusing “abortion ratio” and “abortion rate.” First you said “Japan’s abortion _rate_ is extremely high.” Then you quote the report saying “_Ratios_ in Japan exceed abortion ratios in the U.S…” In a later part of the same sentence, the report says, “the abortion rate among U.S. adolescents was 1.8 times as high as the rate among Japanese adolescents.” So which is it?
    Abortion ratio is defined as the number of abortions per 1,000 live births. Abortion rate is defined as the number of induced abortions per 1,000 mean population.
    So U.S. adolescents are having more abortions (abortion rate is higher). Japanese population is not growing (less babies born), so the abortion ratio is higher than the U.S. So, I think it is safe to say that Japanese adolescents abort more babies than give birth to them (compared to U.S.) But overall abortion rate for U.S. adolescents is higher (more of them getting abortions than Japanese). Of course, this is taking into account only reported figures. But I’m pointing out the difference in terminology.

  45. Doubt said, on May 19, 2007 at 12:13 pm

    *Amazingly enough, these are NOT hypothetical situations.
    WTF, MAN?!
    Why the hell would they do this to themselves?!

  46. Doubt said, on May 19, 2007 at 12:58 pm

    Thank you for stating the blindingly obvious. Really, I never would have guessed that a Japanese schoolgirl could be a slut. Nonetheless, I do enjoy a nice cold fact or two… though once again, I ask, why would they do this to themselves? Is it like their existence is not miserable enough already?

  47. Mr. Bomberman said, on May 19, 2007 at 4:45 pm

    Then god damn. Then again, there almost is no morality over there….
    Also, I live in NYC, so *grudge*.
    Oh, another well done article.

  48. tom said, on May 20, 2007 at 2:01 am

    Great Teacher Azrael

  49. stewieh said, on May 20, 2007 at 6:33 am

    It seems there’s a great deal of confusion about the abortion rate in Japan. For example, Az said the abortion rate is “astronomical” and Mr. Bomberman said “Then again, there almost is no morality over there.” So what exactly is the picture? Are Japanese teenagers getting pregnant left and right and aborting babies? How does this compare to the U.S.?
    I looked over the doc referred to by HiEv (http://www.jstage.jst.go.jp/article/ehpm/10/1/9/_pdf). I think it’s very helpful for giving a good picture (at least up till 2001). From page 11, we see in 1999
    RatioJapan U.S.
    15-44 286* 709*
    <20 2180 381
    20-24 491 316
    25-29 149 208
    30-34 160 152
    35-39 472 193
    40-44 1995 329
    RateJapan U.S.
    15-44 11.3 2**
    <20 10.6 19.1
    20-24 18.8 35
    25-29 14.6 25
    30-34 14.5 14
    35-39 14 7
    40-44 7.1 2
    (Keep in mind the difference between abortion ratio and rate: Abortion ratio is defined as the number of abortions per 1000 live births. Abortion rate is defined as the number of induced abortions per 1000 women 15-44.)
    * I think these two figures (averages of all the age groups) are transposed. Hard to see why U.S. has an average abortion ratio of 709 when all the age groups are way less than that (200 to 300 range).
    ** i think 2 as average of abortion rate for U.S. is a typo. Other figures on the Web give a figure around 20. It can be 2 if there is a preponderance of 40-44 women in the U.S., which there is not.
    So I’ll ignore the averages and consider just the age groups.
    As the report said, “In 1999, the abortion ratio among Japanese adolescents [<20] was 5.7 times as
    high as the ratio among U.S. adolescents.” Yet at the same time, the U.S. abortion rate is about 2x greater in Japan — more U.S adolescents per 1000 getting abortions. What is going on?
    I think one hypothesis is that more U.S. adolescents are getting pregnant. And more of them give birth instead of aborting (hence the lower abortion ratio). So what we need is to know is the pregnancy rate: #pregnancies/1000 females.
    I tried looking for figures on the Internet, but couldn’t find any apt figures. But the numbers above give enough info for a rough calculation:
    #pregnancies per 1000 females = (abortion rate: # abortions per 1000 females) * (#total pregnancies/abortion ratio)
    For #total pregnancies, for our purposes we can use (abortion ratio + 1000), as a pregnancy either leads to birth or abortion, and abortion ratio = #abortions per 1000 births.
    So for U.S. adolescents, pregnancy rate = (19.1 abortions per 1000 females) * ((381+1000 pregnancies)/381 abortions) = 69.2 <– this is in the ballpark of sites I checked — e.g. http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/2006/09/12/USTPstats.pdf
    For Japanese adolescents, pregnancy rate = (10.6 abortions per 1000 females) * ((2180+1000 pregnancies)/2180 abortions) = 15.5
    So U.S. adolescents are 4.5x more likely to get pregnant than Japanese adolescents. More of them elect to give birth rather than abort, hence the relatively low abortion ratio. Japan adolescents, OTOH, when pregnant, will be more likely to abort than to give birth (roughly 2 abortions out of 3 pregnancies). But there are less of them getting pregnant in the first place.
    So how did the idea that Japan has so many abortions originate? If you apply the pregnancy rate calculation to other age groups, you’ll see U.S. has a much greater pregnancy rate up to age 29, and about the same as Japan from 30-34. So for childbearing prime years, more American women get pregnant than Japanese, and while more Americans women per 1000 abort compared to Japanese, a great majority decide to give birth. Whereas for Japan, if a woman gets pregnant, she is more likely to abort compared to American women (except for 25-29 age group). So, besides confusing abortion rate and ratio, this idea may have originated from hearing stories of a Japanese woman who got pregnant, but then decided to abort. Such stories would be much more common than in the U.S. But you have to keep in mind that women getting pregnant in Japan are less likely to be found than in the U.S.
    So HiEV is actually right on every count: “in 1999 the abortion rate for American adolescents was nearly twice as high as it was in Japanese adolescents” — yup. “Japanese adolescents also don’t get pregnant anywhere near as often as US adolescents” — yup, see above.
    Apologies for such a long post. But I think it’s a really distorted picture (maybe even misogynistic?) to think that the average Japanese woman or teenager, or the majority of them, has had an abortion, or even multiple abortions. They just are not getting pregnant in the first place. Of course, I’m just talking about reported figures. But consider that for the Japanese adolescent abortion rate to be same as U.S., there would need to be 100% more abortions which are not reported.

  50. Kyle said, on May 20, 2007 at 7:34 am

    I love your stories man. I laugh at every single one.
    I have a question, wether you will answer it or not I don’t know but I was just curious about how good your Japanese is. Writing, reading, and speaking.

  51. Kerii-chan said, on May 20, 2007 at 9:57 am

    XDDD Schoolgirls in pants. Brings to mind Revolutionary Girl Utena.

  52. Lux said, on May 20, 2007 at 8:51 pm

    I have absolutely no evidence to back this up, but maybe Japanese girls get pregnant less often because they know more about birth control? Since they live in a mostly non-Christian society, they don’t have a Christian based abstinence only approach to birth control. I don’t know what IS their approach to it, but I think it has been proven abstinence only teaching doesn’t work. Along those same lines, they may be more likely to have an abortion because they don’t have the same fear of sin/God as an American girl who is far more likely to be Christian than a Japanese girl.

  53. Dragonclaws said, on May 21, 2007 at 3:47 am

    I’m not transgender, but I am mistaken for a girl very often and on two occaisions as I was entering the men’s room (once by an old guy and once by a young woman). I can certainly sympathise with the ackwardness.

  54. Simple said, on May 21, 2007 at 5:28 am

    “it was probably because she was openly fondling herself during class, attempting to flash me her panties, or she was only a few minutes away from handing out numbers and letting the guys line up to fuck her right there on top of the desks.”
    Right, I caught those first two, but I can’t remember for the life of me what editorial that last one is from.

  55. Anonymous said, on May 22, 2007 at 8:33 pm

    Birth control is starting to catch on here, thankfully, but it did not start to become widespread until recently. Ten years back, when I first came here, I had to buy condoms on the American military bases because you couldn’t find them elsewhere. Now condoms are found at most combinis (mostly due to the rise of VD) but the pill is still harder to find than in Western countries. I can’t say if Japanese girls use birth control more than US girls, but it is certainly more available in the US.
    (Az’s Note: Japanese girls do NOT use the pill. Only 1% of them actually take it.
    There’s only one pill here, and its reportedly not a very good version either.)

  56. Anonymous said, on May 22, 2007 at 8:33 pm

    Birth control is starting to catch on here, thankfully, but it did not start to become widespread until recently. Ten years back, when I first came here, I had to buy condoms on the American military bases because you couldn’t find them elsewhere. Now condoms are found at most combinis (mostly due to the rise of VD) but the pill is still harder to find than in Western countries. I can’t say if Japanese girls use birth control more than US girls, but it is certainly more available in the US.
    (Az’s Note: Japanese girls do NOT use the pill. Only 1% of them actually take it.
    There’s only one pill here, and its reportedly not a very good version either.)

  57. HiEv said, on May 25, 2007 at 3:57 am

    Thanks for clearing up the confusion here for me stewieh. 🙂

  58. Raspberihevn said, on May 31, 2007 at 1:09 pm

    I love you for this entry xD lol thanks. I, too, wonder about the skirt wearing in Winter. It’s absurd!

  59. Hazel said, on June 10, 2007 at 9:19 am

    Hey Az, I used to read Outpost 9 and am still reading now you’ve moved here. Now I’m delurking just to say please try not to confuse sexual orientation with being trans/crossdressing. The two aren’t the same (although the trans community is closely linked with the LBG community) and it just makes it easier for the trans folks if this myth isn’t perpetuated. I totally understand the confusion though, my dad is transgender (ie she feels she is a girl) BUT she still has all of her man-bits. Now she’s not interested in blokes in the least, so she happens to be a lesbian, BUT having all her man-bits it’s likely that she’d have to go out with a bi girl becase she’s physically a man. And if she was interested in blokes then physically she’d be gay, but psychologically she’d be straight.
    Confusing, huh?

  60. Amber said, on June 24, 2007 at 2:09 am

    “Meanwhile, people on the East Coast are thinking “you fucking pansies”, but at least we get to laugh at you when the temperature peaks over 90 and you’re all like “OMG so hot dying so hot” and we’re thinking “man, it’s a little breezy today, I might need a light jacket or something.”
    I just want to point out that over 90 degree heat in the humidity we get on the East Coast makes your skin try to bake right off. I’ve been to Cali in over 90 degree heat and I’ve lived in North Carolina my whole life…yeah, the heat there in the summer just does not compare. I imagine it’s worse in the rainforests in Brazil, but not by much. Still, I’m not one to bit about heat or humidity, seeing as how I’d rather deal with that than freezing in the bitter wet cold.
    I love your editorials. You’ve made me laugh so much, and just given further evidence to my conclusion that the Japanese can’t even possibly be human…how much fucked-upness can you have like that and still be human?
    Keep up the good work!

  61. Mr. Annon Y. Mous said, on August 4, 2007 at 10:57 am

    “Meanwhile, people on the East Coast are thinking “you fucking pansies”, but at least we get to laugh at you when the temperature peaks over 90 and you’re all like “OMG so hot dying so hot” and we’re thinking “man, it’s a little breezy today, I might need a light jacket or something.”
    Az, I double dear you spend a whole summer in Philadelphia. We got that sticky, musky, dry, burning heat. It would be 90 degrees with 80% humidity here sometimes, and our winters are even worst.

  62. Anonymous said, on April 13, 2008 at 1:34 am

    *shrug* 11 years of private school here. Wore a skirt every year (there were a few years that I could wear shorts, but they were ugly and uncomfortable, so a skirt was preferable anyway). Japanese schools mostly just follow the whole private-school uniform thing, s’not a very big deal.

  63. Anonymous said, on April 13, 2008 at 1:34 am

    *shrug* 11 years of private school here. Wore a skirt every year (there were a few years that I could wear shorts, but they were ugly and uncomfortable, so a skirt was preferable anyway). Japanese schools mostly just follow the whole private-school uniform thing, s’not a very big deal.

  64. Jonadab said, on July 4, 2008 at 10:46 am

    > The temperature dips below 70, and people
    > are like, “Oh boy, it’s getting a bit chilly.
    > I’d better throw on a sweater.”
    Wait, they wear sweaters at 70? 70 Fahrenheit, or did you just make up some new scale where 70 is thirty degrees cooler than 70 Fahrenheit?
    Because, I live in Ohio, and I personally consider 70 Fahrenheit to be fairly warm. Not so hot you feel like you’re going to die (that’s 80), but a good deal too hot for wearing a sweater. Even at 60, only skinny people wear sweaters for the most part. (Granted, in Japan, that’d be pretty well everyone but the gaijin.)
    I put on a light jacket when it’s 20.
    Cold is when the snow squeaks under your feet when you walk, and then the wind comes along and blows it around some more.
    I guess if I ever go to Japan, I’d best aim for Hokkaido.

  65. Cameron said, on August 9, 2008 at 6:48 pm

    Damn, is there no limit to the hand-holding teachers have to do for students? Seriously, ask around those teachers, before you become permanently embedded in a school, how many special-needs cases each and every one of them have?
    Is the duty to decorum so overriding that one wouldn’t gently suggest to the wanna-be-transgender: “I’ve got a lot of work to do, and two elegant options for you. Bear the hostility of invading female bathrooms (which probably won’t happen) or learn to pee like a man.”

  66. Cameron said, on August 9, 2008 at 6:57 pm

    Now you might’ve imagined the position of obligation you could be put into by suggesting the last; to have to teach a girl struggling to be a boy how to pee standing up. And while your fingertips swirl reminiscently in the splinters of your sanity, I gotta say; I’m already that crazy. My hunch is that it’ll be just a phase, but either way, long after she should be able to write her name in snowbanks. Some may get turned on by the thought, but me, I’ll just have another drink and a laugh and thank the great mystery that she doesn’t share my family name.


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