Assuming it’s done in a gentlemanly manner, I don’t see anything wrong with a man who spots an attractive woman politely introducing himself. Good manners of course dictate that if she appears bothered or uninterested he should abort with all haste. As long as the initial overture is made in a respectful manner, though, I don’t see the harm in taking a shot, low-percentage as it may be, to see if the woman is receptive to a little conversation.

In my time in Japan I’ve even seen a few instances of men and women who just met on the train chatting happily with each other, then exchanging phone numbers or email addresses before one gets off. Still, even I draw the line somewhere, and it’s at a point well before suddenly planting your lips on a woman you’ve never spoken to, as one man recently did while riding the rails in Wakayama Prefecture.

The incident occurred at approximately 5:50 on the evening of March 4. At the time, a 21-year-old Japanese woman was riding a JR Kisei Line train travelling between Iwashiro and Minabe Stations.

The ocean view off the southwest coast of the Kii Peninsula might have made for a romantic backdrop under more pleasant circumstances. Unfortunately, what befell the woman was anything but pleasant. At the same time as the train was approaching Minabe Station, a 40-year-old Italian national was approaching the woman. Rather than offer his name or an orthodox icebreaker such as, “Nice day, isn’t it?” the man decided to go with a more direct approach, and without warning kissed the woman “on the face,” according to media reports.

Unsurprisingly, the woman didn’t take kindly to this facial greeting, and the man was taken into custody by prefectural police from the Kobo Precinct, who arrested him on the grounds of violating the Prefectural Disturbance Prevention Regulation. We’re not sure whether we’re happier the suspect was apprehended, or that apparently spontaneous unilateral kissing of complete strangers is a rare enough problem in Wakayama that it doesn’t need its own specifically named ordinance.

“Oh, hi. Not nice to meet you.”

For his part, the man is claiming surprise at the seriousness of the response provoked by his actions, saying he intended the kiss as a greeting and never imagined it would be construed as a criminal matter. The police, and just about everyone other than the suspect, however, have a different opinion, and it’s now thought that he may have also been the perpetrator in a recent rash of other women being suddenly kissed by a foreign man in Wakayama.

Information such as the man’s name, and whether he is a resident or tourist in Japan, have yet to be released. As is the norm in Japanese crime watch reports, however, what has been revealed is his profession, or in this case lack of one. The suspect is unemployed, which combined with his complete inability to gauge what is and isn’t appropriate behavior, means he probably stands no chance of success with women in Japan (or anywhere else, for that matter).

Source: Sankei West via Hachima Kiko
Insert images: Pakutaso