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GirlTalk Japan-- A Mini Guide For Women


Is Japan safe...

Japan is extremely safe, with one of the lowest crime rates in the world. You can walk on the streets and not be afraid. The country is also hospitable, clean, prompt, polite, efficient, friendly, and you can drink the tap water (Japan National Tourist Organization).

As a woman traveller and someone who lives in Japan, I believe that this country is probably the safest country you could travel in. You will feel and be safe at any hour of the day or night. If you do feel threatened, which I assure is rare, ie unwanted advances from a drunk office worker on the train, create a scene by yelliing a few words in the language of your choice. It will stop and the man will probably be yanked from the train (Jennifer S. in Nagoya).

I live about an hour's train ride from Tokyo and have frequently been there for shopping, visa renewal and sightseeing purposes. Although I do not have the insights on Tokyo that someone who lives there would have, I would like to say that I have always felt very safe in Tokyo. There are areas that I wouldn't go into at night alone, such as Roppongi, but overall, I feel quite safe. I have heard stories of women being groped on the crowded trains, and stories of bags being stolen off of the upper storage racks when one is not careful, so I am always wary of those possibilities. Luckily, I have not experienced them firsthand (Judy outside of Tokyo).

Basically, Japan is a very safe country ! Business men go drinking many nights and ride the trains home late, but this is no cause for concern. They are harmless, even if they do try to practice their English with you. I've ridden trains and subways, and walked on streets and in parks, both in the day and at night, without any trouble. Perhaps it's one of the reasons why I've stayed here so long. I know that once I return home, I won't have such freedom to be outdoors, alone, after hours (Semin P. Japan).

Ed. note: Just because Japan is considered a safe place to travel doesn't mean that women should take chances that will compromise their security. It's always important to practice big city caution and then, have fun, ladies!

She Networks in Tokyo...

Women's Society of the Tokyo Union Church
This is a nondenominational organisation that hosts coffee mornings, runs classes on all sorts of topics and raises money for local charities. Women Society Receptionist (03) 3400 0047 E-mail:

Foreign Executive Women (FEW)
Members must be women and foreign. These women hold monthly evening lectures on all sorts of topics and it is a great organisation for networking. They also hold a yearly career strategies seminar that is aimed at helping women who have been brought to Japan through their partners career and who are looking at finding employment themselves whilst in Japan. Contact Jean Vass at (03) 3481 6648 or Amy Noering, Tel&Fax (03) 5449 3865

College Women's Association of Japan (CWAJ)
This association is open to English speaking women who have completed at least two years at an academic institution of higher learning or the equivalent. The organisation is dedicated to serving the community as a non-profit organisation in education and cultural fields and to encourage educational and cultural exchange between Japanese people and English Speaking people of all other nationalities. Office open weekdays 10am - 12 noon. Tel (03) 3444 2167; Fax (03) 3444 2204 CWAJ Centre, Lions Garden, Ikedayama No. 312. 5-22-5 Higashi Gotanda, Shinagawa-ku, Tokyo 141

Cross-Cultural Women's Club
This club is aimed at encouraging cultural exchanges between women from abroad and women in Japan. Participants must have conversational English. Contact Mrs Yoshida at (03) 3723 3637/ CWC office at (03) 3411 0420

Women's Society at Tokyo American Club
Women must be a member of the Tokyo American Club to join this organisation. Tel: (03) 3224 3691

The Foreign Nurses Association in Japan
Membership meetings are held once a month at the Tokyo Baptist Church. Contact: Maureen Ward, Fax (03)3461 8463

Foreign Women Lawyers Associaton
Contact Jay Pnazecki (03) 3214 6522

International Feminists of Japan
Meetings held Women's Information Centre in Akebonobashi (don't have any contact numbers)

International Ladies' Benevolent Society of Tokyo
Contact Meechi Hotta at (03) 3443 1407 Phone & Fax

Source: Networking in Tokyo - A Guide to English-speaking Clubs and Societies ;1995, written by P.H. Ferguson and Thomas Boatman, published by Charles E Tuttle Company, Inc. of Rutland, Vermont & Tokyo, Japan. (Also from a pamphlet written by the Tokyo American Club. This club runs a three day newcomer orientation program, sponsored by the Women's Society at TAC. Open to the community on a space available basis, held twice a year in the spring and fall).

Yoga in Japan...

Yoga lovers Ken and his partner, Basia, teach ashtanga yoga at a studio in Ogikubo, at the end of the Maranouchi line. The classes are taught in English, and Ken and Basia are wonderful teachers. You can pay for a single class or, if you're staying in Tokyo for awhile, the one-month pass is a good deal. For detailed information (location, prices and directions) checkout Ken and Basia's website:

Thank you, thank you...

As always we thank all Journeywomen worldwide who have sent us their female-centered tips about living, working and playing in Japan. Your input makes our JW info so much more personal. Very special appreciation for their extra special efforts go to:
Marian Goldberg, North American PR Manager for the Japan National Tourist Organization (JNTO).
Claire Baram, a Journeywoman living in Tokyo.
Jennifer Scerbovic , a Journeywoman living in Nagoya.

If you have a Japan tip to add to this article, please send it to Every bit of advice is important to us.





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