Three Times I was Treated Like a Woman

… because I was carrying a hockey stick on a train in Tokyo

Dave Gutteridge
From the Gutt
Published in
11 min readJul 14, 2022

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Hockey stick on a train.

I live in Tokyo, Japan, and one of my hobbies is playing ball hockey. Which, if you don’t happen to know, is basically like ice hockey, but without the ice or skates.

Ball hockey is played with the same hockey stick you see ice hockey players use, which is too big to fit in a bag or anything. So, I carry it in my hand on my way to play, kind of like a Canadian shillelagh. Which means when I’m on a train in the middle of the Tokyo metropolis, it’s a thing that very, very mildly stands out. Almost all people I pass by couldn’t care less about it. But, every now and again, it’s the cause of an interaction.

The University Guy

So there I am this one time, holding my hockey stick as I’m standing in the train, heading to play a night of hockey. A young Japanese guy sitting nearby starts speaking to me. He opens with “hockey?” while pointing at my stick. The word “hockey”, being a sport that’s not native in Japan, is the same word in English and Japanese, so at first I had no indication which way he wanted to go, language wise. So, I responded in Japanese.

Which he ignored, and continued to speak to me in English. Pretty crappy English, definitely a lot worse than my…

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Dave Gutteridge
From the Gutt

I don't post often because I think about what I write. Topics include ethics, relationships, and philosophy.