icha-icha on the Odakyu


Riding the semi-express to Shinjuku is a more leisurely ride, with more space to breathe. Less people to jostle for that tiny pocket of personal space, which means, I guess, more room for more interesting displays to take place. Like one of the most overt and erotic displays of ichaicha I’ve witnessed to date in broad daylight here in Japan.

It’s hard to translate ichaicha. ‘Public displays of affection’ probably comes closest, but then you miss out on the nuances of how it Makes Everyone Else Uncomfortable. I don’t like being touched by people that much, for the most part, which is why this place suits me… but here we are, all this touching in a place where people don’t like seeing it.

The cast of this short: a high school couple. Girl with a pert mouth, shoulder bob and a skirt verging on the border of flash-land (but as always, managing never to show her pants). It’s a skirt true to Tokyo; skirt lengths in other prefectures never seem to make it to the crotch. Boy, a silver hoop on his right ear and a flu-mask over his face. Scuffed shoes, messy uniform. It’s after school. Everyone can deal with it.


They’re standing near the carriage doors opposite, both of them looking towards the view. From behind her, he raises his knee and runs it between her legs, up her thighs, finally meeting her crotch. Her skirt bunches up a tad higher. She wriggles away with a jerk, and from across the carriage I faintly hear her exclaim a little crossly, oh do stop already, but the slight smile on her face says otherwise. Possibly, under that mask, he grins in return, and she leans back into his arms. He slides his knee upwards and between, again. A wriggle out, a step away. Arms around shoulders. She circles him, dodging his knee, he catches her around the waist. Whispers into ears.

At Yoyogi-Uehara there’s a mini-exodus of passengers, and the lovers, still glued together, shuffle over to the empty seats on the next row near me. You could draw a bubble around them. Her legs are crossed, the top one over his thigh and dangling between his legs. Masks are enough to prevent the spread of germs, evidently.

Voyeur that I am, I watched their little entanglements with naked fascination, while the other passengers pointedly stared at scuff marks on the windows. They’re teenagers, I know, it’s just PDA. But this is Japan, folks, and it’s the Odakyu. It ain’t Shinjuku or anywhere. Perhaps I should ride the 1pm train a little more often…

We arrived at Shinjuku, and the ones in a hurry flooded out onto the platform. These two, of course, lingered and lollygagged, practically strolling towards the exit (in Shinjuku Station! where the world zooms by), still joined at the hip and by his arms over her shoulders. I hope their relationship’s fun while it lasts.

This entry was published on March 15, 2013 at 4:30 pm. It’s filed under Day to Day, Japan, Tokyo and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

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