CHAT: In pairs / groups, decide which of these topics you are interested in, which do not look interesting and which look really boring:
Tokyo / rush hour / traveling by train / single-sex train cars / icebergs / commuting / overcrowded trains / discrimination against men
Have a chat about the topics you liked. For more conversation, change topics and partners frequently.
COMMUTING: Spend one minute writing down all of the different words you associate with commuting. Share your words with your partner / group and talk about them.
MY COMMUTE: In pairs / groups, describe your journey from your house to your office / school in as much detail as you can. You must try to explain every 30-second part of your journey - your routines, the same faces you see, the same kiosks or shops you visit, what you eat or drink, what you always do on the train / bus / in the car… Use a pen and paper to help you.
SINGLE-SEX: Around the world there are many examples of men-only and women-only places. Look at this list and decide whether you think each is a good idea. Would you prefer the single-sex or mixed-sex place?
PERVERTS: Match the kinds of perverts on the left with the definitions on the right. After you have finished, talk about the vocabulary:
Someone who likes to suddenly show his / her naked body to another person in public.
Someone who likes taking their clothes off and showing their body to other people.
Someone who follows another person non-stop and waits outside their house.
Someone who touches and feels the body of another person, often in crowded places.
Someone who hides and secretly looks at other people undressing – often through a small hole in a wall.
kerb crawler (UK)
curb crawler (US)
Someone who telephones another person and talks about sex, without giving their name.
Someone who uses force and violence to touch the body of another person, often in places where there are no other people.
Usually a man who drives his car slowly looking for prostitutes. He will also look for other women.
Someone who enjoys sexual behaviour that other people think is strange or anti-social.
Someone who quickly holds a private body part of another person and thinks it is funny.
WORD SEARCH: Look in your dictionaries / computer to find collocates, other meanings, information, synonyms … of the words ‘rush’ and ‘hour’.
TRUE / FALSE: Look at the article’s headline and guess whether these sentences are true (T) or false (F):
Tokyo trains now have cars that are only for women. T / F
The women-only cars were introduced to stop women groping men. T / F
Groping on commuter trains has increased greatly over the past ten years. T / F
Most groping cases on Tokyo trains are not reported to the police. T / F
The number of groping cases reported is the bottom of the iceberg. T / F
Many women are too embarrassed to go to the police. T / F
One lady said she can now enjoy using her computer on the train. T / F
Many male passengers have complained about overcrowding on trains. T / F
SYNONYM MATCH: Match the following synonyms from the article:
a tiny fraction
cut down on
the tip of the iceberg
PHRASE MATCH: Match the following phrases from the article (sometimes more than one combination is possible):
BNE: Nine railway companies in Tokyo started a new __________ for female passengers on May 9. Women can now __________ in women-only carriages on all rush hour trains. This is to try to __________ the number of __________ of men who grope women on overcrowded trains. Groping on commuter trains has increased greatly in the past __________. It is a big problem during __________ travel times. Sixty per cent of women in their twenties and thirties said they have been groped on a train.
A record number of 2,201 __________ were reported last year. However, that number is just the __________ of the iceberg – many women keep silent and feel too __________ to go to the police. The new single-sex service is very popular with female commuters. Tomoko Ando, 28, said: “At last I can go to work without worrying about who’s around me. The ladies car makes my __________ a much more __________ way to start my day.” Most male passengers agree with the new system, although a few have complained about __________.
What did you think of this article?
Did anything in this article surprise you?
Did anything in this article make you angry?
What do you think about female-only train carriages?
Do you think there should also be male-only train carriages?
Is molestation on trains a problem in your country?
Are there places in your country where men and women are separated?
Are single-sex train carriages a good answer to the groping problem?
What happens to gropers or molesters in your country?
In your opinion, what should happen to gropers or molesters?
If you were groped on a train, what would you do?
Is having a female-only train carriage discrimination against men?
Would (do) you use single-sex train carriages?
What things on the trains or buses in your country make you angry?
What thing do you hate most about commuting?
How would you feel if a close male relative or friend of yours was arrested for groping?
Do you ever see weirdoes on the train or bus?
What do you do when a weirdo sits next to you?
Did you like this discussion?
Teacher / Student additional questions.
1. VOCABULARY EXTENSION: Choose several of the words from the text. Use a dictionary or Google’s search field (or another search engine) to build up more associations / collocations of each word.
2. INTERNET: Search the Internet and find information on rules of behaviour on trains. Share your findings with your class in the next lesson.
3. TRAIN STORY: Write a story about a strange person you have seen on public transport. Share your story with your classmates in your next lesson.
4. LETTER: Write a letter to the boss of the Japanese train lines telling him / her what you think of the new ladies only train carriages. Show your letters to the class next lesson.
SPEAKING: BAD BEHAVIOUR: You are the boss of the new “Keep Commuting Pleasant” committee. It is your job to stop all anti-social behaviour on trains and buses. In pairs / groups, write a number for how serious the bad behaviour is. Decide on a punishment for the bad behaviour and write it in this table.
SERIOUSNESS (10 = Very serious,
1 = No problem at all
Sitting in the seats reserved for old people, disabled people or pregnant women
Falling asleep and dribbling on another passenger’s shoulder
Listening to a loud Walkman
Change partners. With your new partners, compare what you decided. Together, agree on the top five examples of bad behaviour. Have a class vote to see which examples of bad behaviour are the worst.
Women-only cars for Tokyo trains
BNE: Nine railway companies in Tokyo started a new service for female passengers on May 9. Women can now ride in women-only carriages on all rush hour trains. This is to try to reduce the number of cases of men who grope women on overcrowded trains. Groping on commuter trains has increased greatly in the past decade. It is a big problem during peak travel times. Sixty per cent of women in their twenties and thirties said they have been groped on a train.
A record number of 2,201 cases were reported last year. However, that number is just the tip of the iceberg – many women keep silent and feel too ashamed to go to the police. The new single-sex service is very popular with female commuters. Tomoko Ando, 28, said: “At last I can go to work without worrying about who’s around me. The ladies car makes my commute a much more pleasant way to start my day.” Most male passengers agree with the new system, although a few have complained about overcrowding.