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Not all countries can accept the style of women going or doing by themselves

by Mika Iwasaki
(Mitaka, Tokyo, Japan)

The vital capital city of Riyadh

The vital capital city of Riyadh

I like doing things by myself. I often enjoy traveling, shopping, and enjoying foods or drinks in cafes alone. The style of “Ohitorisama,” the so-called the way of life where women go places or do things by themselves seems to be acceptable to Japanese.

But not all countries in the world can accept such a lifestyle. My friend, Hiroko, felt it keenly in Saudi Arabia.

She went to Saudi Arabia two years ago and stayed for six months, because her partner was working for a company in Saudi Arabia at that time.

She was impressed with Saudi Arabia as an abundant and vital country. With her partner, Hiroko often visited many places of interest with beautiful landscapes, went to the huge shopping malls, and ate delicious foods in restaurants. She enjoyed everything, but she always had to be together with her partner.

When Hiroko’s partner went to his work, she tried to go out by herself. She left the hotel and went to the urban shopping mall by bus. Then she felt very uncomfortable in the shopping mall because of the local people’s staring. She realized that she must not go out alone.

The behavior of women in Saudi Arabia is strictly limited. So women going out alone might be frowned upon. Hiroko thought "when in Rome, do as the Romans do.”

However, I understand there are multiple standards for women’s behavior around the world, and I’m sorry that I can't visit Saudi Arabia easily as I would like to do, because of my being a woman.

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