Dating Japanese Women, Explained

Dating Japanese Women, Explained

When Jasmine over at Zooming Japan asked me to write about dating Japanese women, my first thought was, “Ain’t no way Ken Seeroi’s touching that one.”

In case you haven’t noticed, people are majorly opinionated about Their Japan. And not just Japanese folks either; I mean foreigners. Like if I said, “Japanese architecture is stunning,” somebody’d stand up and complain that the cities are just jumbled amalgamations of aging concrete projects. Alllll righty. Then how about “Japan’s got some ugly-ass cities”? Oh now somebody else starts rambling about traditional homes being all infused with zen beauty, and gardens and koi fish. So yeah, everybody’s got an opinion. Welcome to the internet.

And that’s just architecture. So talk about Japanese women? Can’t I just give my thoughts on gun control, the Iraq war, and religion? Cause those’d be less controversial.

But you know, if there’s one thing Ken Seeroi never backs down from, it’s a challenge. Hard work? Okay, I’d back down from that. Getting up early? Yeah, wake me at noon. But a challenge? Well, if it’s not too difficult, I might give it a go. Plus, Jasmine kind of got my hackles up with a previous post.

Myths About Japan no one Wants to Dispel

Now, I like Jasmine, I really do. She’s a German blogger, and I give her mad props for being able to write so well in English. And although I’ve never met her, from what I gather she’s a very cool person. But you know, since I’m also a wee bit opinionated about My Japan, I had to take issue with some of her previous stuff:

“If you’ve ever been to Japan you might have noticed that there’s a tremendous number of (often not so handsome) foreign guys walking hand-in-hand with Japanese women.

“. . . dating in Japan is usually quite easy for men. At least getting one woman after another into your bed, is really easy, even if you’re quite ugly! For some reason Japanese women seem to find even ugly foreign guys attractive …..”

Now I don’t even know what hackles are, but if I’ve got any, I’m sure that got them up.

Japanese Women are Easy for Foreign Guys

So according to information found on “the internet,” being a foreign guy makes it easy to land Japanese girls. The funny thing is, I don’t think I’ve actually met any guys here who’ve said that. (Now cue mad comments like “Well, I got laid in Tokyo last night.”) A lot of dudes who’ve been here for years gripe about the exact opposite. But I can’t deny that I’ve heard that foreign guys are popular . . . somewhere . . . now where was that?

Oh right. From foreign women, and Japanese guys.

Or to put it another way, everybody thinks it’s easy for the other person.

Japanese Propaganda

Know what “priming” is? Well, I don’t really either, but I imagine it’s that thing where if I say, “Japanese people are shy,” then you start noticing all the ways in which they’re shy.

Well, there’s a ton of that regarding Japan. Japanese people are short. They wear glasses. They’re disciplined. They like “foreigners.”

It’s like somebody visited Japan one time, went home and wrote about it, and from then on everybody ran around repeating the same stuff. There’s a short guy—-the Japanese really are short! There’s a Japanese woman walking with a black man—-they like black guys! Basically about 99 percent of what’s written about Japan is just regurgitating some myth that somebody else said. Well, at least Japanese people really are polite. I mean, they are, right? Ah, let’s just say right and move on.

The Truth About Dating Japanese Women

Ever been to a nightclub? I mean in any country. At the end of the night, there’s always people hooking up. In fact, if you stay long enough, and you don’t hook up, then by default everyone’s hooking up but you. That’s because the people who didn’t get lucky have already left. There’s some statistical thing going on, is what I’m trying to say. It’s not that 100% of the people got lucky; it’s that you’re the only one who stayed around gawking.

And so it goes, in France, Germany, Bermuda, and all over the world. Men and women are meeting each other, at clubs, coffee shops, and at the mailbox on the corner. So do foreign guys also go out with Japanese women? Sure. Of course. And you probably don’t notice it much unless—-oh wait—-they’re of different races. I personally think the “foreign guy with Japanese girl” sighting is pretty rare. They’re just far more noticeable, that’s all. “Tremendous number”? Really? What’s that, like five, six? Yeah, the tremendous number six. Half a dozen couples a day, out of cities with millions of people.

Japan Easier for Men than Women, According to Women

So I didn’t entirely relish wading into all this, but then Jasmine threw out a leading question I couldn’t resist:

Some people say it’s much easier for foreign men to “get” a Japanese woman than for foreign women to get a Japanese guy. What do you think about it? What’s your experience?

For one, I thought it was a strange question, partly because of the word “get,” which sounds like you’re going fishing for Japanese people. But whatever. For another, I felt the real question was, “Is it easier to date in Japan than it is anywhere else?”

I don’t know what it’s like as a woman. Because I’m not a woman. But as a man, I personally don’t think it is. Sure, I get dates here. But I got dates back in the U.S., and I didn’t have to send fifty text messages before a lady’d let me pay for her entire dining experience. Did ya have to order two appetizers and desert? Jeez, for such skinny people, Japanese gals can sure pack it away.

So in the End

So in the end, I wrote the article, partly because I enjoy reading Jasmine’s site and wanted to contribute. Although I still believe that for her to opine about dating as a foreign man seems roughly on par with me talking about being a German blogger. I mean, can you really talk about dating Japanese women . . . when you’ve never dated a Japanese woman? Okay, let it go, Seeroi, let it go.

So that’s kind of how my article came to be. And if it sounds a bit like I’m down on Japanese women, that’s not the case. I love Japanese women. Really, as often as they let me. What I’m not so cool with is repeating the same unfounded information about Japan. It was just the hackles, really. Anyway, if you’ve made it through this lengthy preface, then go check out the full article in all its glory, and let me know what you think. Peace.



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95 Comments

  1. Great piece as always!! Thanks GOD i married a Latin Woman!! perhaps the best way to enjoy japan to the fullest is get a Latin woman, have a Japanese mistress and hit the jackpot before you land in japan. Thank you for taking the time to show us a different perspective about Japan.

  2. Yo Ken,

    You know I left my very positive comments about your outrageously funny CM over there on Zooming, but I would add to that: you did seem a little sad in your post and I wonder if those dating situations with Japanese women that you describe might be the first thing that you would change about Japan, if it was in your power to do so?? I know how you love to torture yourself with sarcasm (self depreciation) and angst (a writer’s best friends), but I would really like it if you found happiness in your personal life, FYI. You don’t have to do it right away, but I wish you the best when you do decide to find a fitting partner. I know, isn’t it terrible to think that my belief system can fit your crazy wonderful lifestyle, but it’s all I really know, so best of luck there Lone Ranger! Once you write your book and get invites to some high society party, I would really like to know how the upper crust lives in Japan and how they treat gaijins up close and personal, especially the Diet members or some of the elite families. Would you do that for me, please?? Again think of it as a long term request!

    Also, I remember they had real Geisha in some fancy clubs in Tokyo back in the 1980s (at least an Air Force officer friend I had told me about this). Are there some Geisha still in Tokyo?? I don’t want to know the answer to that unless you can definitely find some. BTW, I realize that Geisha are NOT hookers and are high class companions that make businessmen/politicians and possibly their well to do guests feel comfortable. They are well educated, and flirt just enough to turn on a man’s brain through intelligent conversation, wit, charm and entertainment (singing, playing musical instruments or dancing). I actually saw a 1962 movie – “My Geisha” about a foreign woman that pretends to be a Geisha many many years ago as a young man and still remember it fondly even though it was wildly inaccurate on some things.

    Thanks for the great work Ken, it was a pleasure reading it!

    P.S. I’m already waiting for the next companion article: “A Gaijin dating Gaijin women in Japan, explained” with the sub-title: “A couple’s Onsen tour while getting into hot water all over Japan”.

    • Thanks, Bud. Actually, if there was one thing I could change about Japan, it would be to make the entire place about three times more positive. People smiling, talking openly, and just relaxing. I mean, outside of an izakaya. I’m sure that would improve my, and everyone’s, dating life. The entire country seems a little sad, but maybe that’s part of the culture too, I suppose. It’s not San Diego, that’s for sure.

      As for geisha, I’ve never seen one in Tokyo. You might have to settle for a hostess, since they seem to have inherited the role of paid female companion and entertainer. There’s plenty of them around. Bring lots of yen.

      • Same thing with Ken. I couldn’t care much if the country was poorer (if it was fairly equitable). It’s certainly not the low wages that ruin it for me. It’s the glumness. There is this shotengai I go to sometimes in Oshima (サンロード中の橋), and it always shocks me how friendly and happy everybody looks in just that one street. If all of Japan was like that street I don’t know if I could ever bring myself to leave.

      • Ken,

        Have you ever heard of an early technicolor Japanese movie made in the 1950’s called “Gate of Hell”? It was fairly famous and won some kind of international prize in Europe for the best Foreign film. It was incredibly colorful and strange, yet completely riveting and sometimes silly. Needless to say I rather enjoyed it. Its about an some kind of uprising against the Shogun and there’s loads of Samurai. In 1 scene they have a Geisha playing a Koto for several minutes and it was absolutely incredible and I think that was when I first became enamored with Geisha. I read that there used to be 80,000 Geisha in Japan in the 1950’s and there were several schools that taught the Geisha arts. Can it all be gone now?? Waaaah! Ya know, in some ways Geisha are sort of like the image of the Southern Belle of the confederacy from the US civil war era, but that’s pretty much died out too. Rest in Peace Geisha Girl!

      • Okay! First of all… Found you a few days ago. This is my first post. Absolutely hooked! You’ve gotten a good giggle out of me at least once every story.

        Took me a little bit to figure out exactly how I wanted to phase this… I’m not the most articulate person. I also have barely slept in the last few days, but here it goes… Take “Japanese” out from the equation.

        I know this is a blog about Japan, but if you think about it, this is global. You can replace “Japanese” with any ethnicity in the world and the answer will basically be the same. It doesn’t matter who you are or where you are from. Foreign is interesting. The only differences are the cultural faux pas. You stated “foreigners are not highly regarded in Japan, including by Japanese women” in the article at Zooming Japan. Socially… I can believe this. But individually… not so much. I know Japan basically works as a team. Everyone has their job. Everyone is expected to act in a specific manner. But still, I’m sure the interest in foreign people is quite high. Unfortunately, it seems they were taught at a young age that foreign is bad. So, if by chance they do like foreign people, the likelihood of them actually admitting it is slim to none. Too much pressure from family. To much pressure from society.

        It’s really no different in any place that has those cultural prejudices. Take the mid-west of the US. There are still places where a white woman/man dating a black man/woman is taboo. They do that and it’s social suicide.

        Another example is the UK. When people outside of the UK think of the UK… well, we just think it’s all one place. All the people there have cute British accents. They like cricket, tea, crumpets and wearing tweed jackets. Oh! You can’t forget that they created Monty Python and the Beatles! At least… that was the ignorant thinking I had until I started dating one (now soon to be married… after all the paperwork…). I learned that it’s the English, Scottish, Irish and the Welsh. And each one doesn’t really like the other much. Especially Wales for some reason… I still haven’t figured that one out. I’m sure there are exceptions, but generally… no likey. Then there is the rivalry between Northern and Southern England. Don’t forget all of the Indian immigrants. Unfortunately, unlike Japan, if you are a foreigner living in the UK… in certain areas you are very likely to get jumped. But like Japan, it does not matter if you are born there or not. You are foreign.

        Now… I’m from somewhere completely different. I live in California. I personally don’t really understand prejudice. It’s a huge melting pot where I live. We pretty much love everyone. White, black, yellow, blue, pink, purple? We don’t care. We love ya anyway. Especially foreigners. When my fiance is visiting me here, he looks like any other white guy. Until he opens his mouth, of course. Once at a grocery store, we were standing in line, silently waiting to pay for our items. The person behind us looks up at us, “Hey man, I like your T-shirt.” My fiance replies… can’t remember exactly what he said… something like, “Thanks. I like it too.” The guy replies, “Oh, wow! Are you British? That’s so cool!” I’ve been with him long enough now that when he talks to me… I don’t even hear the accent anymore. I pretty much forget that he is from somewhere… not here. Plus, I live in a tourist town and work in a hotel. I’m used to people from all over. Which actually brings up one last question… or curiosity.

        I get Japanese people in my hotel every once in a while. When I greet them… most seem really happy and social. Smiling, laughing, taking a ton of pictures, asking you to take their picture, asking all kinds of other questions and generally having a good ol’ time. You would never know life in Japan is like how you’ve described it. I know, it’s probably because they are in a different country and it’s exciting and all. But… I mean, the Japanese I’ve met here are seriously really happy. Maybe it’s because here they don’t have to hold back. They don’t have to work 12 hours a day, six days a week. They don’t have to worry about cooking and cleaning. Which leaves them more time to be themselves. Certain things you’ve describe stay the same. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a Japanese couple kiss or hold hands. But who knows… you said the Japanese tend to bottle up emotions and thoughts. Maybe it’s just another way for them to make us feel comfortable. Despite the fact that in this case, they are the guests. Who knows… Just another mystery.

        Goodness… I rambled a bit. I’m not entirely sure what I wrote, but hopefully it made sense. I’ll finish now… Thanks for all the great stories and info! Keep up the great work.

        • You know, I go back and forth on this. Sometimes I think that Japan is just like anywhere else, that you can take “Japanese” out of the equation. Other times, I think, no, this really is something different.

          I’d like to correct one thing, and that is I don’t believe Japanese people are taught “foreign is bad.” What they’re taught is, “foreign is different.” Specifically, if you don’t look Asian, then people know a whole list of things about you at one glance, including what religion you are, what you like to eat, how you behave, and what your beliefs are.

          Of course, people all over the world think that “foreign” people are unlike them, but Japan carries this to a whole new level. It’s been drilled into them that their culture is unique in the world, and as such they generally can’t fathom that someone who doesn’t look like them would think or act as they do. I can’t tell you the number of times someone has marveled over the fact that I drink tea. I’ve probably heard a comment upon it fifty times. It’s down to that level of detail.

          Even in the mid-west of the U.S., I don’t think you’re going to find many folks who’d say, “You’re hispanic, but you drink cola—that’s amazing!” Now, I can understand if it’s some local specialty, but tea? Rice? Miso soup? Edamame? I’ve heard it all. I doubt if you go to Mexico that people are going to marvel every time you eat a burrito.

          The U.S. has plenty of racism, tons. But there’s an ongoing conversation about it. Can you, should you, discriminate based upon someone’s appearance? There’s a debate. In Japan, no one talks about it, because no one’s ever considered that a white or black person might be the same as they are, on any level. It’s unfathomable that such a person would have anything in common with them.

          I’ll give you an easy example. Have you ever met an Asian person with a non-Asian name? Like I had a friend in California named Amy, who was born in China. I don’t think anyone ever blinked an eye when she introduced herself as Amy.

          Now think about that in Japan. If I met someone and said “Hi, I’m Takafumi, nice to meet you,” the entire island of Honshu would explode and sink into the ocean. It’s utterly incomprehensible that a non-Asian person could even have so much as a Japanese name.

          • I have been very tempted to take my wife’s Japanese last name just to see what happens. Always makes me snicker a bit when I think about it. Plus my hanko would be way cooler.

            • Dude, your hanko would rock.

              One of my friends uses his wife’s name on the mailbox, but that’s as far as it goes. I think if you did walk around introducing yourself as “Ichiro Watanabe” or something, you’d be in for a lifetime of painfully explaining yourself.

              Still, I do think it’s an important step. I sometimes hear foreigners say they want to be more accepted in Japanese society, but it doesn’t seem like anyone’s working too hard to fit it. No one’s gonna take you seriously if you keep wearing cut-off shorts and calling yourself Bobby.

          • Reminds me of one scene from the ハーフ film wherein a Ghanaian-Japanese named David Yano gets asked why he has a Japanese last name. Is it because, the Japanese guy asks, he got married to a Japanese lady and changed his name to her family’s?

            • Yeah, that’s a great ice-breaker. Remind me to ask that the next time I’m in the U.S. and meet an Asian person with a name that sounds non-Asian.

      • Yes Trish, I have read the book and seen the movie, but I was under the impression that her story was about the pre-war/WWII Geisha and not the post war geisha (which I was talking about) that were entirely different because of the Americanization of Japanese culture, the increase of women’s rights accorded by the American brokered Japanese constitution and the change in the Japanese culture brought about by the huge development of corporations in Japan. Watch the Shirley MacLaine movie “My Geisha” and you will see what I’m talking about.

      • I would add to that there might be those Geisha that consider the hot springs hookers that Sayo Masuda claimed to be a part of as nothing more than geisha pretenders and classed more as illegal slaves and not Geisha; at least according to the geisha that are in the following documentary:

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GGJAn8UDEME

  3. Hailing from Israel! I’ve been reading your articles for a few months now, and have finally decided to contribute. Your articles are great, I get a sense of what Japan is like without it being romanticized :). Also, they’re funny

    Did you know the word “get” in Hebrew means divorce?

    • Did not know that. That’s very convenient. You get married, then you get get. Or is it get got? Maybe that’s something else. Anyway, thanks a lot for reading and commenting!

  4. I went and read the article. I went and read the dang article. (大事なことなのでry

    As a young man (25歳) who remembers at least weekly that his parents were happily married for two years and both 25 when he was born, dating and marriage are the third set of things on my mind behind work and saving money to pay off student loans. Perhaps thanks to this article, I can finally put aside such base genetic urges to make myself worthy of promotion at work… delude myself into thinking that there’ll be enough time and interested (preferably interesting) women left over by the time that happens.

    I could probably use my 実況者 powers to get myself set up with a date, but I don’t trust my Twitter followers that much. With my luck, I’d probably walk into one of those 「出会い厨を釣ったおwww」 sort of Candid Camera-like traps, replacing 出会い厨 with 必死な海外実況者.

    • Well, I wouldn’t say to avoid dating in Japan. Just try to read what’s really happening around you, and don’t get swept up in things too quickly.

      They say you can’t ever fool people, because people fool themselves. That’s what I see happening here. People come to Japan believing myths they’ve read, and it takes years to see beyond them and learn what the nation’s really like. It’s not a bad place or a good place; it’s just a place. Well, the food’s really good, that’s true.

      • Yeah, I guess it would be equally bad to entirely give up. But I know what you mean about myths. For one, that commenter o’er on Zoomer-whatisit Japan with the geisha-fixation… rather disturbing (and if you’re reading this, hello disturbing geisha-fixated guy). Incidentally, I seem to remember reading something on Reddit or somewhere stating that there are only 30 real geisha in existence these days. Dang child labor laws, am I right?

        As for myths in my personal experience, my supervisor back when I was working at a computer repair shop gleefully insisted that the Japanese ladies love them some half kids, that they “gotta get the foreign genes.” I was pretty disgusted, but the job was more important than lecturing him in human decency. I never viewed him as a redeemable human anyway, what with his toe-shoes and monotonous lunches of two banana bunches.

        • You know what’s funny, the very next day I saw a short news segment featuring three geisha on TV. They were women in their 50’s and 60’s, and they weren’t wearing makeup, although they had on kimonos. They were discussing how great this tiny folding chair was, because if you used it, you didn’t have to sit on your heels, seiza style.

          It was exactly as exciting as watching three grannies discussing a folding chair. If that’s what geisha are really like, I can see why they’ve disappeared. Which I guess makes sense, since if they were so awesome, they’d still be in demand.

          • Ken,

            In the Documentary I listed in my post about Geisha to Hagu, they had a 94 year old working Geisha and she didn’t look a day over 70, no really….hmmmm LOL! Granted this documentary was made in 1994, so I don’t think she’s still working.

            • A 94 year-old working geisha? Don’t they have some sort of retirement program?

              Seems kind of like people who dress up in civil war outfits and stage reenactments to me, but I guess everyone needs a hobby.

          • I am suddenly reminded, for some reason, of the time Kelly Osbourne decided she wanted to become a Geisha. How unfun that was.

            • I (along with, I’m guessing, probably every Japanese person) had never heard about that. Looks positively mortifying, like a salaryman going to a dude ranch and dressing up as a cowboy. Unfun seems a generous description.

        • Yo Hagu Heeeey,

          Ya, I’m in a 12 step program to cure me of that Geisha problem, but they say I have to apologize to a Geisha as part of my treatment and I can’t locate one. Thanks for the tip on the last 30 of them; maybe I could start up a social media site to see if they would tweet me…. – Naw I guess that’s asking too much. Ya know, I watched some videos of some Geisha on Youtube a while back and none of them were as alluring and as interesting as a Geisha I saw in a 1952 movie (she was a real Geisha according to some press I read). I guess they don’t make Geisha like they used to. Oh well, I’ll have to live with it then….LOL! It could have been worse… I might have gotten fixated on a Kabuki dancer, hmmmmm!

          Check out this special documentary on Geisha for a real in-depth look at the Geisha profession:

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GGJAn8UDEME

          Believe it or not, the Geisha in this documentary claim that the current (circa 1994) Japanese don’t know of or aren’t familiar with the true nature of the Geisha lifestyle and they believe its because that generation of Japanese consider them old fashioned and outdated; maybe they’re right. I watched this documentary some twenty years ago and it has always been something that has intrigued me. Around the time this documentary was made there was a scandal about the Prime Minister of Japan and a Geisha and he was forced to resign his position (its mentioned in the documentary), so at the time – the Geisha was very mysterious and controversial. It seems like there are many different views on what Geisha are (from prostitute to entertainer to psychologist companion) because their profession has so long been secretive and closed to outsiders. I would have to say that my views on Geisha are quite old fashioned and more idealistic about the worth and value of Geisha. Needless to say, the kind of Geisha I have always wondered about meeting would always remain beyond the range of possibility for me to accomplish in reality and therefore it remains only as a quaint fantasy, sort of like wanting to meet a famous person… say like Ueno Juri (上野 樹里).

          • Hahaha, I am seriously cracking up right now. Kind of makes it hard to type. Ah, but it’s a good, jovial cracking up, I assure you. The Quest to Find and Apologize to a Geisha sounds like it could make for a decent segment on Japanese television. I don’t own a television myself, but I am reminded of this short show I saw at a coworker’s house where a guy searched for the only Japanese man living on some island near South America.

  5. Hey man, tip-top article mate. Well thought-through point of view. I like how you look at the question as: well these are women, who happen to be Japanese; not as how do you catch a ‘super-mega-pokemon-sushi-kawaii’ girl stereotype of what being Japanese is. They’re not all samurais watching anime about sex-robots.

    My wife is Japanese, but shes just her. Her Japaneseness adds colour and spice to the relationship, just as my Australianness adds heaps of beer and BBQs ha ha

    Everyone is different. but everyone has similarities which can be attributed to race (any race) like I find my self saying “stupid gaijin” to white people all the time (while I am a stupid gaijin – im just behind the curtain) and my missus is kinda westernised i suppose apart from going fecking psycho if im 2 minutes late (which I assume is a Japanese thing – but you never know)

    Ps I really liked that zinger you posted to that commenter about misreading things ha ha after he totally misread the article. Gold star!!

    • Yeah, that’s the weird thing about “Japan.” It’s just another country, with ordinary people, but somehow it’s gotten a reputation for being exotic. The Japanese play that up, as well as a lot of foreigners. It’s all cosplay on the outside, while inside, it’s just a regular old nation with men and women going about normal lives. Kind of reminds me of Las Vegas in that respect, a big plastic city in the middle of a desert. Or the Wizard of Oz.

      • Right on Mikey, couldn’t agree more.

        Glad I don’t have to do dating in Japan but I’ve yet to hear of a place that it’s easy to find dates once you’re out of school. Is there a magical dating land where all the opposite sex is easy to understand? Not that I need to know as I’m really happy (and lucky) to not have to be dating anywhere 🙂

        BTW I can’t figure out Tokyo Weekenders syndication schedule of your posts. They’re sort of old.

        • Tokyo Weekender is republishing, with my permission, some stories which appeared here first. That may change, and you’ll see an article or two of mine on their site exclusively. I’ll let you know when that happens.

  6. Observational bias.

    You always remember the time you thought of your mom and your she called you on the cell phone. You never remember the time you thought of your mom and she never called you. If you had, you’d find that it perfectly matches the statistical joint probabilities.

    It’s easy to observe “mixed” couples. It’s impossible to remember all those completely pissed-off foreigners or those Japanese persons who got blown off by someone they wanted to hook up with unless you’re a mind-reader.

    Observational bias.

    This is like Japanese people in New York complaining about white women. They keep whining how they don’t get any attention. Now, I’m gay and work for a Japanese firm so I get to see this a lot. Dude, if you spoke better English and didn’t behave like women were cattle she’d go for you but you won’t and so she doesn’t and now you’re not getting any.

    Basic decency is a hard sell.

    SIGH.

    • You’re right. I do remember all the times that I thought of my mom and then she called me. And all those times I was sitting at a red light and wishing it would turn green, and then it did.

      Now you may say it’s observational bias, but I’m pretty sure I’m controlling the universe with my mind.

  7. Another brilliant article by the incredibly observant Japanophile Master Ken.

    Japan is different, full stop!! Why maybe those hundreds of years of years in isolation and the fact that they are all descended from the sun god etc etc. The Japanese have made a national pass time out of keeping out foreigners. Why shouldn’t they still be affected by this even after hundreds of years.

    IMHO people are confused by the apparently normal appearance of everything when you arrive in Japan. It looks like any other modern Asian country.But in fact Japan is in a separate universe that somehow contains the entire country. Don’t know how it works but it is the only explanation that makes sense to me.

    You Master Ken could well be the only writer in the world that acknowledges that all the bullshit hype about the country is in fact bullshit!!

    This hype and misrepresentation of Japan is just like how everybody in the 19th century wanted Tibet to be the “Shangri-La” that James Hilton created in his book Lost Horizon!!

    • Thanks, I think. Sometimes I can’t tell who’s the more sarcastic, you or me.

      But anyway, I think hype is an interesting thing. I mean, think about Texas, right? Cowboy hats, longhorn cattle, rodeo, belt buckles. Then think about Arkansas, and there’s . . . well, there’s something there, I guess. I mean, it’s the state next-door to Texas.

      The difference is the hype. Texas got it; Arkansas don’t. But Japan . . . Japan takes hype to a whole new level, with the unwitting help of foreign writers. Geisha, samurai, kabuki, yakuza, sumo, video games, koi fish, folding fans, amazing toilets. The list goes on an on. But how much of that is real? By which I mean, how much does it actually reflect daily life here? You get up, find your pants, wash your face, then run to the station and stand in a packed train for an hour. You’re not doing karate, you’re not a ninja, you probably can’t even operate the controls on your Japanese video game because it’s so crowded. You get to work and sit at a desk and that’s real life. It’s a fine country, but I think we’d get a lot further in understanding Japan if we approached it with a few less preconceptions.

    • Edward I just want to apologize first but I find I can’t help but comment about one thing. But you mention “misrepresentation”, “19th century”, and “Lost Horizon” and I have to correct you. James Hilton wrote the book in ’33 of what you said was the 19th century. In ’33 of the 19th century the American Civil War hadn’t even started. The author, James Hilton, wasn’t even born until the 20th century. I don’t correct you trying to be a troll or know it all but your use of “misrepresentation” actually applies to your comment. Everyone makes mistakes and I make too many myself but there is a major difference in the world and culture between the 19th and 20th centuries. The culture in 19th century Japan is completely different from 20th century Japan.

      I do, in fact, agree that the hype and misrepresentation of cultures throughout the world is almost always inaccurate. At my last job I used to get upset with peoples opinions of southern people (US). People hear the accent and immediately think “this guy is from the south therefore he is an idiot”. Granted they may be right but they could be completely wrong because they used the hype that everyone else uses. I know of one extremely intelligent millionaire (maybe it was billionaire, can’t remember) that has that accent and wears the same clothes as a person that makes $25k/yr and people automatically think he is an idiot because of his accent.

      Someone on here mentioned about stereotypes and it is sad but there is truth in stereotypes or stereotypes wouldn’t be stereotypes. Whether a stereotype is only 25% accurate or 70% accurate each individual should be judged fairly to see if the stereotype applies to them and treat them according to who they really are. I remember one black guy that I was in school with that gave everyone the impression that he was a slow dumb guy. Over a few weeks of getting to know him I realized that his intelligence put him in probably the top 10% of the nation. Even if people only took him at what they saw in the first 15 minutes of meeting him he was still the nicest and kindest persons you could ever hope to meet and proved that stereotypes can’t be applied to everyone. There have been people people that I met that looked like idiots or jerks or whatever on the first day and the rest of the days after that they were people that proved the initial judgement was incorrect even when that initial time was in hours.

      I can proudly and sadly say that I believe in stereotypes and initial contact when I go places and meet people. I have been to places in the US and around the world that it was a must or you could die if you didn’t. The difference between me and many others is that I may believe in the stereotype to keep my guard up initially but I try to always allow them to prove me wrong and happy when they do. Now then, not all stereotypes are dangerous and in fact most aren’t. If I believed in all stereotypes then it would make me believe that all Japanese women like to wear octopi on their head. Obviously that type of stereotype is wrong even if 0.2% of Japanese women like to. Applying what we hear and read about anyone or any culture would be treating them/it unfairly. Even within a culture not everyone is the same within that culture and can vary greatly.

      I had read Ken’s article on the other site before finding this site and I agreed with his assessment while understanding that it is not completely accurate pertaining to all Japanese women regardless of class. Anyone going to any country should try to read up on the country and cultures before they go and keep an open mind and open eyes when they get their. Every culture is different from the next and that doesn’t make the other culture in the wrong with extremely rare exceptions. Those in the US have virtually every culture in the world represented even if many of them have adapted it some to mix in with surrounding cultures. Even though the US has all those cultures doesn’t mean that people get exposed to them. That can be because of distance, racism, or just fear to experience something different. Even then though those cultures in US are watered down version of what the real culture is in the originating country. The only way to try to judge a culture on its merits and flaws is to go experience it directly trying to see everything whether it something you would expect or not expect. The truth is in the details and not the initial or even secondary observation.

      Only the first paragraph is really related to Edward’s post. The rest is pretty much in response to every thread and not necessarily in agreement or disagreement to anyone specifically.

  8. Yes. Praise or sarcasm? Sometimes it is hard to tell.

    However back to the topic at hand and hype about Japan, good example about Texas and Arkansas, one has it the other does not. Well my opinion is that people come with expectations (the hype) and see Japan through those coloured glasses and then continue to regurgitate the hype.

    But you know japan was always different, how about this quote from 100 years ago just after Japan opened up:

    “The current phrase in Japan has it that the longer one is there the less does he know of the land and the people,”

    Could be talking about you ken. This is from a book by George William Knox, called;Japanese Life in Town and Country [Kindle Edition]
    who goes on to say in the introduction of his book

    “Our neighbors on the west, separated from us by the widest ocean, are separated from us also most completely by race, environment, and history. It becomes an axiom, repeated by travelers and enforced by scholars, that the Occidental cannot understand the Oriental. How, then, shall we of the extreme West understand the farthest East? The current phrase in Japan has it that the longer one is there the less does he know of the land and the people, the old resident confessing ignorance and leaving confident judgments to the newcomer. The confession may be the modest expression of the scholar who with growing knowledge is increasingly aware that he is master of only a fraction of his subject, or more likely it is the outcome of indolence and impatience, an indolence which, finding first impressions wrong, is unwilling to take the pains necessary to master the data for a mature and correct opinion, and the impatience which arises from disappointment as the charm of the beginning yields to the disillusionment of a prolonged residence. Thus is created a belief that an inherent unlikeness in psychology differentiates European from Asiatic. The axiom is supported by wide experience, the differences in judgment being extraordinary, and seemingly permanent. Japan, for example, is the delight of tourists; its art, its customs, its scenery, its people have a charm to which all but the exceptionally unresponsive traveler yield. When after its long seclusion it was once more accessible it was like the apparition of another world. Even now, when so much is changed, the novelty remains, and besides, the very transformation affects us like a fairy tale. The novelty, and mystery, and romance are the joy of the traveler, and he has no wish that the fairy tale be translated into the language of every day, nor that Japan be shown to be only a portion of our prosaic and commonplace world.”

    Obviously dated English but correct assessment. Book is available on Amazon Kindle for $1. Sorry for the long post but I thought it was interesting and helpful in your quest to convince people japan is different to their expectations.

    Keep up the great work master Ken.

  9. Great article as usual Ken, thank you! I think Bud had a really valid point over at zoomingjapan (and I quote): “Japanese women that Ken describes might be from the lower and middle class but might not be from the upper class”.
    . To extend it slightly, I don’t think it matters whether she is (or not) from the upper classes, but rather whether she is from your class.

    People tend to cluster with other people from similar economic, social and cultural backgrounds. In Japan, I get the impression that even if you could find people that you would “belong with” (which is not a given) they might not accept you in their midst because of 1. lack of common cultural background and/or 2. lack of language ability. After all, if you are a hot-shot lawyer, would you expect people like you to give anyone with the language skills of a child the time of the day? (Regardless of the beautiful gem of a person you may be inside, really).

    Maybe I’m a little too deterministic on this but yeah, observational bias, sure, the usual nihonjinron brainwashing and gender compartmentalisation, why not, but the ability to find “your kind” I think is an essential pre-requisite. Otherwise, you might find yourself settled with people the likes of whom you would have never ever hung out with in your own country, which sounds pretty bad I guess.

    • That’s a very good point. This is something that’s always interested me. After I moved here, I realized how little I could actually tell about someone from the first meeting.

      By way of comparison, in the U.S., I get a number of impressions just by hearing where someone is from. If they say “Manhattan” versus “Omaha,” it conveys certain images, which might be correct or wildly off-base, but at least I’ve got something to start with. Also, it usually doesn’t take long to learn if someone’s a Republican, Democrat, or something else. Nor is it uncommon to come away from an initial meeting knowing a person’s religious affiliation, their views on guns, and their feelings on gay marriage. You can easily learn that about a person in five minutes. In the States.

      Now, I hasten to add that I’m not making sweeping judgements based upon that information. Many, if not most, of my friends have wildly different views than I do on key issues. And that’s fine. But when it comes to dating, I think it’s really important to understand exactly Who is this person? What are his or her values? Then you can think about what’s most important to you, if you can live with the differences, or whether it’s a deal-breaker.

      It goes without saying that in Japan, the values are very different, and it can take years to learn what a person’s value system is, and what he or she truly believes. So when you meet people here, other than the fact that they’re “Japanese,” what do you actually know about their core values?

      • Ken,

        I completely agree with that point about not understanding where someone is coming from if they’re from another culture and I really have a tough time understanding the Japanese political system, but didn’t you say one time that the Japanese DO generalize about other races as well as one another? SO… in your experience, is there a way to find out what those generalizations about Japanese people are; e.g. does everyone from the Kansai region act like a bumpkin?? Can you tell if a Japanese person visiting Tokyo is from the country-side just by watching them? What about the Yakuza, do they all wear something or act in a certain manner to let people know that they should act more respectful around them? Is there a certain way a mangaka acts in Akihabara?? Maybe you could get together a lot of information like this about the Japanese people from your experiences with them or maybe you could just ask them about it (about generalizing people from Japan) and find out if they themselves use indicators to understand where their fellow Nippon citizens are coming from. I for one would be especially interested in anything there is about the Japanese political beliefs, so things about politics and any generalizations that talk about party affiliations to help understand the Japanese viewpoints on things like the JSDF, religion, gun control, the Diet, the Emperor, or Corporations?? Even things like class distinctions (e.g. How do you tell if a Japanese person is from a lower, middle or upper class?) If you could have a post where you could sort out any and all generalizations that the Japanese make, whether it’s about their own people or foreigners, I would love to read that!!! You could even make that a never ending post where you periodically added updates to it as you discover them. Just thinking about your comment made me think of this so take it for what it is – a sudden brain fart…LOL!

        • Well, I have a three-part answer for this. The first part is that yes, Japanese people gather a lot of information about their countrymen—just as Americans do —by how they dress, their accent, and the topics they discuss. They can fairly quickly assess a person’s social status, where they’re from, and probably a host of other information. Again, their guesses may not be accurate, but they’ve got a starting point that most “foreigners” don’t.

          The second part is that, naturally, what’s important in, say, the U.S. isn’t necessarily important in Japan. For example, in the U.S., one’s political affiliation could be massively important. Just stating whether or not you support Barack Obama could erupt in a bar fight. I don’t believe politics are that important to most Japanese people. On the other hand, age, marital status, and your profession all seem to be a big deal here.

          The third part is that I don’t feel qualified to definitively say what things are important to most Japanese people. It’s certainly a deep subject and I’ll give it more thought, but I don’t want to overstep my understanding of the culture. I’m not even sure I could accurately portray American values. And even if I could, it’d be a long and complicated description.

          • Thanks for the answer Ken, as it was just a possible idea for a topic. It seems to me that if a foreigner became proficient (maybe if said person was a SAGE) in making those generalizations (and was fairly accurate) about pegging the Japanese people, then that foreigner would have a leg up in social standings at said Japanese work-place and it could really enhance potential personal relationships too.

            Some generalizations might help keep tourists out of trouble (avoiding the Yakuza or staying out of bad areas) and it could create opportunities to advise or work as a translator for a major Japanese corporation or a large American corporation that was trying to do business with the Japanese… who knows.

            Most foreigners/tourists know nothing about honorifics or the different dialects of Japanese or that there are generalizations made about citizens from the Kansai region similar to those Americans make about red necks; so a collection of such generalizations might be as valuable to a visiting foreigner as a list of survival phrases that they learn when coming to Japan. It just seems like if you studied it and gave it more thought, then documented it well, that you could sell that data as valuable information to tourists…. e.g. as part of a book (Bang Bang)… hmmmmmm! You might not want to over step your understanding of the culture, but I’d take your understanding of Japan’s culture over any tourist – any day fer sure!! Don’t forget you are the King Seer oi (get it Ken Seeroi = King Seer oi)! Damn, I know that’s lame, sorry!

            • I do think it’s a good topic: how to distinguish one type of Japanese person from another. Probably be a pretty comical book, actually. Japanese people would love it, probably.

  10. How are things over there, is Japan watching the world cup?

  11. Well, hell on earth’s a bit strong, but yeah, it’s not heaven either. Japan’s just a normal country, like anywhere else, only it wears this giant, ten-gallon reputation.

    I think you’re right, the boom of the 80’s is what sparked all this. That and Bruce Lee, who somehow made having a fistfight seem cool. Ah, why do things always look so much better on TV?

    • Those are good, legitimate questions, so let me try to give you an answer. Plus it’s Saturday morning and eh, other than laundry, I don’t have much going on. Your timing is impeccable. Man, I hate doing laundry.

      So I basically came to Japan for the food. I started eating Japanese food years ago, primarily for health reasons. I’ve always been a big athlete, and into diet and exercise, but that’s another story. Anyway, I ate Japanese food (or what the media told me was “Japanese food,” but that’s another story) for about ten years, without any other particular interest in Japan.

      Then one day, because I had a good job in the States and made a lot of money, I decided to take a trip here. And it blew my mind. It was the wildest, most unreal place I’d ever seen. It didn’t hurt that I was on vacation with a pile of cash either. Plus when you’re fresh off the boat, that whole “gaijin treatment” makes you feel like everyone’s your friend.

      So then back to the States. Now, I’m probably the only English teacher in all of Japan whose childhood dream it was to be an English teacher, but that’s the truth. I majored in it in college and in something similar in grad school. So I realized if I went to Japan, I could live that dream, plus eat a lot of delicious food in the process.

      So far so good. So I came here and I must say, the food has never once disappointed me. The rest is kind of a mixed bag. I mean, you know, real life and all.

      The younger you are when you come to Japan, no doubt the better. If you’re twenty with a steady job, your own apartment, and a girlfriend, that’s awesome. For me, I’d already had that in the States, and wearing a suit to work or going to dinner with pretty women to fancy restaurants was nothing new. Still Japan was a new country, so that part was cool.

      When it comes to being treated like a normal adult in society, though … again, the younger you are, probably the better. You know, when the boss introduces the office staff by their last names and everyone bows silently and then turns to you and says “Oh, and I forgot, here’s Kenny,” and suddenly everyone holds up two hands and says “Hello!” Eh, I guess maybe if you were like five, that’d be okay.

      I try not to take it all too seriously, or think there’s some racial component, but seriously, really? After about the hundredth time it happens, it’s not quite so amusing. Like going up to a black man and saying, “Yo ma man, wha’s happenin?” I shudder to think how many times I must’ve done that. I don’t know how black people deal with it, honestly.

      So would I do it again? Man, that’s hard to say. I honestly would encourage anyone who wants to work overseas to evaluate a number of countries, using some real metrics, as opposed to “I like their toilets and comic books.” Like Australia consistently ranks as a top place in the world to live. And I’ve been to a number of great countries in Europe that would be worth a longer visit. Scandinavia’s looking pretty awesome, although I’ve never been there.

      I have no regrets about moving to Japan, and it’s given me a lot of perspective on life, language learning, and people. I think it would be a good first job out of college, but not nearly so great for someone who is mid-career. Another thing that seems like a good idea is to come here for a year, then bounce to somewhere like Vietnam, then on to Dubai or somewhere. A year in each place, and not getting too crazy about trying to fit in to the society might be a healthier approach.

      Well, I could probably go on like this all day, but I better get to this pile of laundry before it overtakes my apartment. Plus I gotta have something to wear to dinner tonight. There’s a great new restaurant I’ve been dying to check out.

      • Yeah, no worries. But before you write Japan off entirely (and it’s my fault), let me give you a bit more to think about.

        First, you’d have a pretty great time here for about a year, simply because you wouldn’t know what the hell was going on. New culture, new language, lots of stuff you can’t understand—it’s really fun. Then once it started to dawn on you that things weren’t actually as wonderful as you’d imagined them to be, it’d still take another six months to get sick of everything.

        I think the sweet spot is about a year and a half, maybe two. Stay for that long and you’ll leave thinking Japan is awesome. You don’t have to move here forever.

        Secondly, you won’t have the same experiences I did, so your outcome will necessarily be different. You know, it’s luck of the draw. You step off the plane, meet a nice girl or boy, fall into a circle of cool friends, and the whole country’d seem great. Sure, some ex-pats are worn-down and bitter, but others really love the nation. Finding a good job would help a lot too. Coming from a shitty country is also a plus.

        Lastly, you’ll have a substantially better time, I believe, if you don’t try to integrate too much. Most of the “foreigners” I know who are happy here view themselves as exactly that—foreign people living in Japan. If you invest too much time into studying Japanese and trying to behave like everyone else, you’ll be disappointed when people don’t treat you equally. If you can maintain a self-image of being an outsider, then that will be consistent with the treatment, and all will be right with the world. So learn Japanese, but not too much. Or just leave after a year and a half.

      • Ah, loss of JDrive. I hear science is working on a cure for that.

        As for your love of Asian women, I’d say you’re not alone in that. But from what I’ve seen, there’s a pretty effective remedy for that, called marriage. Seems virtually guaranteed to cure you.

      • Should be do-able. It’s all just culture, so people who look Asian but are raised in, say, the U.S. are as American as anyone else, unless their parents or community specifically exposed them to other influences. I’ve certainly known a lot of American people who looked Asian, so yeah, I guess that’s a solution.

        As for appearance, I will say that I don’t notice it any more. Japanese eyes don’t look special at all; they’re just normal at this point. It’s funny how you get used to things.

  12. As a foreign woman dating a Japanese guy I also cannot say much for what it’s like the other way around (as I’ve never dated a Japanese woman) but I agree with a lot of what you said in this post.

    firstly, there is so much ‘propaganda’ as you said. My personal least favourite is the ‘Japanese people don’t know how to express themselves/ don’t have opinions’. I’ve been studying here for two and a half years and I’ve never felt like that was the case although it seems to be one of those stereotypes about themselves that Japanese people have taken on in order to have something to dis about their own country to foreigners. The expectation being that ‘foreigners’ (ie, the rest of the world) just say whatever the hell they like whenever they like. I think Japanese people are just expressive in a different, more formalised way, for example how often have you been asked to give your 感想 about something at your workplace/ school/ club anywhere other than Japan? (sorry, kind of off topic)

    secondly, I think the assumption that it’s easy for foreign guys (and I assume what is being referred to here is white foreign guys) to ‘get’ (agreed about the bad wording) Japanese ladies is really, really rude towards any Japanese woman dating a non-Japanese guy. It’s basically saying that they’re easy and are obviously just in it for the fact that the dude is a foreigner. From my experience of being in a cross-cultural relationship in Japan there are already enough annoying assumptions made about your relationship without people thinking that you’re ‘easy’. In terms of being a foreign woman with a Japanese guy, here are just some of the assumptions I’ve found people make:
    – You’re boyfriend must have such good English! / He must be learning so much english from dating you!
    – You probably weren’t that popular with the (obviously superior white male) men overseas, thus you downgraded for a Japanese guy (sounds harsh but I get this a lot! and from Japanese people too!)
    – You’re Japanese must be as good as it is because of your boyfriend! (actually I was fluent before I met him…and unless you both really enjoy talking about physics or law or something, you’re likely just to use the same sentence structure and vocab within your relationship over and over again)
    – You must have so many relationship problems based on cultural differences (well actually… not so much. sorry to be dull)

    and while I’m on a opinionated rant like the expressive white person I am- I didn’t really agree with your previous post about Japan being a matriarchy though (I’m a person on the internet, I have opinions). I agree with part of what you said, for example that men have it really bad what with having the long work hours and no life outside of work and thus being a women may actually be a lot easier in some ways. But I don’t think that makes it a matriarchy (I can’t even remember if you used that word, sorry, but I know a lot of people do when making similar arguments) because the fact is that outside of the home it’s still a huge majority of men who make the decisions in just about every sector and I think (here comes my feminist rant… I’m studying gender in sociology in Japan so it’s hard not to be massively opinionated on this one) what a lot of people don’t realise is that Patriarchy can be just as bad for men as it is women (that doesn’t mean it’s not patriarchy). Also in a lot of the Japanese families I know the father is still considered the ‘central pillar’ of the house (大黒柱)and will get treated as such, so even though he may be having an awful time working his ass off he is still treated ideologically as superior… but like you said, everyone has their own ‘Japan’ experience.

    • Wow, lot of good stuff in your comment—thanks for that. I must admit, I was surprised when I first heard Japan described—by Japanese people—as a matriarchy.

      Of course, describing an entire culture in a single word is ridiculous. You can call it a matriarchy or a patriarchy, but both terms miss the mark. The truth is there are places and times where the woman is in charge, and others where the man is in charge.

      I think one thing that makes it look like men are in charge is the fact that men often treat women very badly. But . . . and I know this is going to sound bad, but . . . Japanese people often treat others quite terribly, both men and women. So when you see a man doing that to a woman, it looks like gender discrimination. But you also see it being done the other way around, and between the same gender.

      Of course, I’m not saying this is unique to Japan either. People the world over can be dicks to each other, given time, place, and opportunity. I just think the Japanese are more direct than other cultures (despite propaganda to the contrary), and when a man does it to a woman, it looks like the men are dominant.

    • >You probably weren’t that popular with the (obviously superior white male) men overseas

      Anyone who says this is an angry white male projecting his feelings of inferiority due to the fact you’re dating a Japanese man over him.

  13. Ken, it was a pleasure having you as a guest blogger. Thanks so much.
    I’ve been following all the comments that have come in ever since and it’s so insanely interesting.
    It seems that everybody has different experiences which is probably one reason why the topic is so controversial.

    I’m going to lurk around to read more comments, but I just want to say one thing.
    I’m happy you chose to quote that part of my previous blog post. I wanted to provoke a bit with it, so that people would speak up and tell me that it’s wrong.
    Why? Because I’ve seen so many blog and forum posts from Western guys where they were bragging about how awesome they are for getting one Japanese woman after another (well, whether that’s really true, who knows). And that in combination with the fact that I really see a lot of couples (foreign man + Japanese woman) just led me to write what I did. 😉

    I didn’t try to write about dating Japanese women, did I? I asked other people who had some experience with it to contribute. I just wrote what my impressions were based on what I’ve seen and heard, but I also made clear that it was only based on my PERSONAL opinion and experience.

    And who told you that I’ve never dated a Japanese woman?? 🙁 🙁 …. LOOL

    • “And who told you that I’ve never dated a Japanese woman??”

      Well if you did, you’re more than welcome to write an article about it here. Although to be fair, something more than a sample size of 1 would be necessary. A woman with a fair amount of experience dating women overseas and in Japan would provide a meaningful perspective.

      And thank you too for having me on your fine site.

    • Speaking of Japanese guys and western women/ vice versa, I’m sorry I hope this doesn’t offend you (although actually it should, but hey, I didn’t say it, I’m just the messenger) but I just have to tell you this story my German friend told me of being hit on by a Japanese guy.

      By hit on, I mean he approached her in a club, started talking to her and when she tried to leave, stalked her out of the club and around the city and into a convenience store (literally just walking a few paces behind her). She ran, he ran after her. She stopped, he stopped and she told him to rack off. And, after than great start, he pulled out the pick-up lines of all pick-up lines-

      ‘Come on, we were friends in the War weren’t we? We’re still allies!’ (translation: ‘Hey you, German person, I think we should spend the night together because I quite like nazis and I assume you do to’)

      If you anyone can tell me a pick up line to top that one, I’d love to know.

  14. I agree. One culture/ country can’t really be described with all the right nuances with only the words matriarchy and patriarchy. Especially a country so often misunderstood as Japan. I also know there are japanese people who think of Japan as a matriarchy as you mentioned (the phsychologist 岩男寿美子 for example). I’m interested to know what kinds of things you meant when you said japanese people are often unkind to one another (I mean I can think of a few).

    I don’t think Japan is a patriarchy in the way I think Australia is a patriarchy (I’ve never been to America so I can’t really comment but I geuss the general idea of a patriarchy may be thought of differently in a western sense) but I would still argue it is a patriarchy mostly based on the fact that historically women’s knowledge, experiences and rights have been valued less than men’s. For example it wasn’t that long ago that there were no women on the news and even now, though it has gotten a lot better the media still has a tendency to value men’s opinions and expertise more than women’s. Take for example the reporting leading up to the World Cup: on one news station a message screen you could write a support message to the soccer team on in a Toshiba store was being reported on and in the shot is a group of women writing a message. The male newsreader turns to the young female ‘announcer’ next to him and says ‘there were lots of women there weren’t there, just goes to show you don’t have to know anything about the game to get into the World Cup spirit’ and the female announcer replies with a perfect smile ‘there are a lot of women who like soccer-‘ he interrupts her by saying ‘oh well a lot of the players are quite good looking so that would explain it’. On another news station there is a whole daily segment entitles ‘ten top rules of the game girls should know before the World Cup starts’ including what a yellow card was. Japan has the strongest female soccer team in the world but still the idea that women could even understand the rules of the game is somehow incomprehensible.

    Anyway I digress, you could probably talk about ways in which the media is sexist in a lot if countries all day long. I agree that what western people might think of a equality is perhaps different to what Japanese people do . The feminist movement in the west has been all about allowing women to do what men are doing but in a society where men have it pretty shit too having to work long hours and being made to take on a load of responsibility in regards to the quality of their work (for example if a bus crashes in Japan then it’d be standard for the high ranking employees of the company to get down on all fours on the ground and bow in apology; even something not as serious like a brand of cheese not tasting as good as it advertises to could end up in bowing and shame) thus women don’t feel like getting to take on men’s roles exactly as they are would result in more freedom for themselves.

    I also agree that the docile geisha-like stereotype of a Japanese woman who always walks three steps behind her man that we have in the west misses the mark. Yeah, a lot of japanese women demand their husbands do the breadwinner role to their liking or they’re gonna flip the shit (except in a nonconfrontational Japanese way were they say not much directly about it but just start giving the poor guy less pockey money out of his own income).

    • “I’m interested to know what kinds of things you meant when you said japanese people are often unkind to one another (I mean I can think of a few).”

      What I mean is that Japan not a laid-back and forgiving place. Things are on time. They’re clean. They’re organized. And there’s a reason for that.

      If a worker doesn’t do his job properly, he’ll be berated, even physically abused, possibly in front of the rest of the staff. I’ve seen this many times. At school, if a student misbehaves even slightly, he’ll be yelled at, and possibly physically abused. At home, if a child or husband or wife gets out of line, somebody’s doing some yelling at someone, and somebody might get smacked.

      Japan’s a rigid place. And it’s a hierarchy. This isn’t always obvious, but it’s there in the background, and all Japanese people know it. It’s natural to assert your authority. If you have a higher position, you exercise that power. But when it goes too far, as in Boss–>Employee, it’s called “power harassment.” When it goes Wife–>Husband, it’s “Wife from hell.” Teacher–>Student: “Student abuse.” Student–>Student: “Bullying.” Man–>Woman, “Gender discrimination.” Japanese person–>Foreigner: “Normal.”

      This isn’t unique to Japan, but it’s certainly much stronger than any place I’ve ever witnessed. So just saying that women are lower in status in certain situations misses the mark. Because everybody’s lower in status in some situation. In Japan, things will be done properly, equality be damned.

      But that’s why when I yell for a beer, it comes in fifteen seconds and it’s always poured perfectly, and I like that. As long as I’m the customer.

      • (I feel like I’m commenting too much on your blog man but I can’t resist. Sorry…)

        My first eye opener was in 2005 when on exchange at 龍谷大学. I took a regular class on a whim about “European History”. They crammed two hundred people into this giant lecture hall where a guy droned on about witch hunting and animal trials, gargoyle statues and basically anything “weird” about medieval Europe + photos from his holiday. Then when all the kids got bored and started chatting he would stalk the rows of desks glaring at people. One day a kid spoke to his friend a bit to loudly, and the teacher walked right up to him and ordered him to stand at the front of the class. The student refused. The teacher insisted. The student refused again. Then the teacher actually physically grabbed this guy and hauled him up to the front of class. Yeah…. That was a “were not in Kansas anymore” moment for sure. That and seeing the army of black suits out a window one day when 就職活動 season started.

        What also amuses me is how much people like to trot out words like グローバル人材 these days. It sounds attractive, but I suspect many if not most companies wouldn’t know how to actually treat a foreigner even if they hired one. You have some foreigners coming in as high level execs, then everybody else doing it Japan style being incorporated into the hierarchy.

        I remember the first time I ever looked for part time work doing some translating or eikaiwa stuff. I went to have an interview and the 社長 of this old company started out by being suspicious of me for being too old to be a masters student, and then asking me which primary school I went to (I didn’t write it on my resume). If at first you don’t succeed… so I tried working for this other lady who then attempted to lecture me, a 28 year old at the time, on the responsibilities of 社会人 to do things on time. This was her feeling uncomfortable giving any kind of job to a new person she hadn’t personally got a feel for). She couldn’t just assume that I had my shit together, but rather because I was a “student” I didn’t know how to even put my pants on. It’s funny how big the difference is between the respect I thought I would get for learning the language and attending one of their famous schools, and the fairly regular suspicion or disrespect I ran into for not conforming to the rule that you aren’t a real man until you are a company employee by a certain age. Plenty of times I would have those conversations with taxi driver ojisans where they would figure out I wasn’t a 正社員 and be like “waaaaaht??” 早く仕事について両親を安心させてください、みたいな。So I guess that’s what I’ll do for a bit.

        On a side note, ever get wierded out now when you visit home and see all these unshaven thirty year old + guys dressing like they are 18 and nobody seems to care? That’s when I realize this way of judging people is totally seeping into my psyche also.

        • Man, totally. And not just 30+ either. More like everyone. The last time I was in the airport there was a man around fifty standing in front of me in line with gray hair, wearing cut-off shorts and flip-flops. I was like, In the airport? The guy’s probably a bank President, and this is how he dresses when he’s off work? It’s like I left America for a little bit, and when I came back all the adults had turned into children.

          If I was his teacher, I would have slapped him upside the head. I think that’s what they mean by turning Japanese.

  15. Sorry I’ll stop ranting off topic soon- just wanted to say on the topic of different japan experiences, out of interest have you been loving in Tokyo the whole time you’ve been here? Cause I think experiences can be quite different depending on where you are in japan. I used to live in Kansai and I got the foreigner treatment everyday ; could recite the Japanese seven off by heart. Now I live in Kanazawa in Ishikawa and I have NEVER heard the Japanese seven (well people do ask me my name but they call my Coll San at work and other places where appropriate and ‘where are you from?’ Is hardly ever the conversation starter- one guy I worked with didn’t know I wasn’t japanese for months and I’m as white as they come and don’t have a Japanese name or anything! But he seriously just thought ‘she lives here, I geuss she was born here and is japanese, I’m not gonna ask cause that’s might be rude’). I have almost never been spoken to in English and always get just as much Keigo as japanese customers when I go into shops etc.

    In conclusion, if you are sick of the gaijin treatment you should come to Kanazawa 🙂

    • Also, Kanazawa is just plain gorgeous. 😉

      I have found that Tokyo depends a lot on what part you are in. Where I am, Koto-ku, I stand out a lot more than I did back in Kyoto’s Sakyo-ku (lots of students around there).

    • Whoaaaaaaa what a post from Christina!!!!! I rekon it was probably longer than Ken’s original ha ha. All good points and well thought through.

      I was wondering what you guys think about yellow-fever while we’re vaguely on the topic. Do you think it exists, and if so does that impact on relationships? Ive got yellow-fever bad… like all the antibiotics in Japan wouldnt wipe it out. But then again, I grew up in Chinatown in Sydney, always had Asian friends, married a Japanese girl, lived in Japan… for me its not just nintendo and Bruce Lee films

    • I’ve been to Kanazawa. Great place. Actually, I’ve lived in other parts of Japan, and although I find the treatment slightly different, I still get the whole Japanese Rule of 7, on a regular basis. I’ll tell you why.

      Agreed, I’m treated very much like anyone else in a retail store. Okay, for the most part. I can recall a few instances of being actively ignored or denied service, but I can write those off as once-a-year things.

      So where do I get the “gaijin treatment”? Look, I like to eat out. I might go to dinner once a week. Or I might go once a day. I’m hungry, you know. And because I’ve eaten Japanese food most of my life, I go to Japanese restaurants, basically izakaya and shokudo. That’s just what I like to eat. Rice, fish, miso soup, that kind of stuff.

      If I went to Denny’s, or even Watami, I’d be treated like a normal person. But going to a regular izakaya like everybody else, forget it. For reference, this is roughly the equivalent of an Asian person going to a pizza joint in the Bronx and ordering a slice.

      I almost always have to answer one or more questions about my nationality, my ability to consume food, or what I think of Japanese women. Sometimes this comes from the staff, and sometimes from the customers. Occasionally, I become the topic of conversation for the entire restaurant and have to field questions from all directions; meanwhile I’m just trying to eat dinner.

      So that’s kind of how it is. Not every day, but often enough. And nowhere I’ve ever been in Japan has been much different. I’m pretty sure this happens to a lot of people who don’t look “Japanese.”

      • Yeah, a lot of these small places are like little worlds where customers are regulars and you can’t even be a little anonymous. It can be like walking into a saloon in and old Western and all the people turn to give you a look over. I remember walking into a 家庭料理 place once when I was still green and it was filled with over sixties folks. That was interesting. You are in the conversation and also the topic of the conversation at the same time. So, you’re not from around here huh? Speaking of which, how about how all them foreigners are marrying our women?

        Still, the small bars here are great. Food and drink selection is often really pretty good in even a tiny joint.

        • They’re great, and they’re cheap. I’m not trying to rock anybody’s world; I just want to have some freaking grilled fish and a little seaweed salad. What, a white man can’t have a salad? And I sure didn’t come half way around the world to eat at Denny’s either. Though their breakfast is pretty good, I must admit.

  16. Oh dear, unfortunate typo in there.

  17. As a black person, I have regularly heard (in the US, no less), “You speak such good English!” Apparently all black people are uneducated and speak poorly. I can’t help the schadenfreude I feel whenever I read blogs like these. A feeling of finally, YOU (white people) know what it feels like!

    Sorry. But I really do feel glee out of reading these stories. I should probably work on that…. Nah!

    • You’re a hundred-percent right. The world is one big power trip. It’s just a question of Who’s the minority in this situation?

      I grew up around lots of different races and can say with complete honesty that I never understood the subtle and pervasive effects of discrimination, until I came to Japan. From a “white-person”‘s perspective, it looks easy to simply ignore the inequities and social slights. In America, anybody can succeed if they try, right? But to actually have to live it, day to day, as a minority, yeah okay, that’s not so easy. All right, that was fun. Now can I go back to being the race in charge?

      By the way, your English … eh, same as mine. But your German, wow. That’s great, for a black person.

  18. I must agree that I don’t see so many couples of a western man and a Japanese woman. It is good to keep in mind, that if a single man comes to Japan, and finds a girlfriend, she’s likely to be Japanese? Why? Because they are the majority, and without any discrimination, it’s rather unlikely to find a girlfriend of other nationality from here assuming that one is not “keeping with his own kind”.

    I have seen couples where a rather good looking Japanese woman is with a rather “ugly” western man. But I also see couples where a rather ugly looking Japanese woman is with a rather good looking western man. But then again… I see the same in my home country, and I don’t start to generalize that Finnish ladies prefer ugly men, or other way around.

    I think finding a woman here is definitely not easier than in western countries (even for “ugly” people.)

    • What I’d really like is for somebody to go to a city center, like Shibuya or Shinjuku, and just sit there for an hour counting. I’m too lazy to do it, but I wish somebody would. Here’s what I’d like to know:

      In an hour, how many “foreign” guys do you see? How many are with women? How many are holding hands or walking arm in arm with the women? And finally, of the latter group, how attractive are the men, and the women they’re with? Those 4 questions.

      It might be interesting to put some numbers around this.

      One thing that’s overlooked is that a man and woman together doesn’t equal a date. I go out with attractive women all the time, who are either students or friends. Just being with someone doesn’t make them a lover. That’s unfortunate, but apparently God doesn’t love me enough.

      And of course, just seeing a man with a woman who’s more attractive still doesn’t tell the whole story. Guys are out every night hitting on women. I believe collectively they’re known as “eikaiwa teachers.” And I’m pretty sure that if anyone spent 200 nights a year trying to get a date in any country, eventually something would happen.

      • A friend of mine and I did that in Okinawa. It was quite funny to count the couples. Go to American Villiage. You’ll see what i’m talking about.

        • Fair enough, although having been to American Village, I’m not sure it qualifies as Japan exactly. Kind of like counting the people wearing costumes at Disney Land.

  19. I am a black recently divorced (4 months now) woman and I was married to a Japanese man. We have a 3 year old daughter. I don’t think it’s hard to meet Japanese men. When we would go out, we’d get the curious stares of course, but that didn’t stop us. We held hands, and did anything else a normal couple would do in public….. I think mostly because I wasn’t trying to “get” him when I got him, we hit it off immidiately. lol I recently threw him back! Nothing to do with him being Japanese though. Pain in the (BEEP) is universal. From what I’ve been told by Japanese men, if foreign women are open to dating Japanese men, they should let it be known. Happy hunting ladies.

  20. It’s rather interesting to have read what you wrote and what Jasmine wrote, but I will have to go with what the lady said. The only reason I even stumbled upon these rantings is because, I too, like so many other foreign women are getting no sex in the city. Initially I thought it was because of where in Japan I was located, and as I watched the months slip into one another, and the seasons change, my blood started to slow boil until it drove me mad. I MUST MOVE! I declared….so imagine my chagrin when I realized that this was a widespread issue.

    Needless to say it can be very frustrating when you realize that the most action you have gotten in nearly a year is that one time that guy stalked you one night when you were walking home from work. Oh and that one time a guy was bold enough to ask you for your LINE ID and then immediately text you to say he wanted to see and touch your outside human body<———-P.S this really did happen and I am quite ashamed to say that for all of 5 seconds I considered it. Thankfully I started to smell the desperation wafting up out of my pores before I could go along with it. I started to talk to myself, like I do most of these days while in Japan,because really who else is there to talk to? All your fellow male gaijin friends are indeed boasting about the ocean of women they are swimming in, the women they have had the luxury of turning down because they have a newfound power that enables them to pick,choose and refuse. Me on the other hand….I only get slapped with the afore mentioned 2 encounters which if you are truthful enough is just really the wrong kind of attention, potentially even the dangerous kind. Most days I do forget that I am a woman who has the ability to catch, hold and maintain the interest of a man. The only stares I get are the creepy kind or the viscious looking kind. Old men on the train obviously wondering what the hell i'm doing in their country and the occasional game head glancing up long enough from his iphone to see if it's his turn to get off the train,but he has to look past the gaijin standing at the door first in order to read the signs. There is no balance, I either stick out as a sore thumb or I seem to blend into whatever color the background is.

    I too have tried to hang out at bars, go to places and be sociable. Heck I have even approached men. Just the other day I asked the guy that lives upstairs if he was on Facebook or Line, you know…so we could talk. I was sure to ease into it so I wouldn't frighten the poor boy off. I saw him a couple of times,smiled,said hello, then on separate occasions I introduced myself and made small talk and maybe after a month I decided "yes! It's now time to offer my number, it should not be too weird now"
    Can you believe he had the nerve to still be freaked out that I would want to be facebook friends or Line contacts? I clearly made the poor boy so uncomfortable That I was embarrassed for us both-me for thinking he would not be, and him for….well I have no idea what he had to be embarrassed for! Dont think for a second that he was even my only attempt, I have tried it all, subtle, not so subtle….neither have yielded results. Lord how many times have I tried to smile pleasantly at a member of the opposite sex, only to be met with blushing and them hurriedly trying to look away,even if it's only at the imaginary red dot on the ground?

    I'm tired, fed up and I have decided to be celibate….not that I was given much choice in the matter but it sounds better than saying " I think I have failed as a woman at being a woman"

    I never expected it to be a walk in the park, and I have always enjoyed pursuing men I was interested in, as opposed to always being pursued, but I never expected…..this. Anyways that is just my tidbit, my contribution to the ongoing dialogue of foreign women woes in Japan. Maybe I should blog about it too, it'll give me something to focus on while I am alone in my apartment watching God he knows what, browsing for simillar stories so I don't feel so bad and eating overpriced and unhealthy conbini food. But just one last word in though….usually if so many people are talking about it after living in Japan, it is unlikely to be true. So many people can't be lying, there has to be some truth in it….and I just heard the chorus of lonely voices in my head say "hear hear!"

    • Hi Shan. That pretty much sums it up for me, and I’m a guy. Or it would sum it up for me, but I ended up getting together with a Chinese girl instead. And I speak Japanese not Chinese. I was surrounded by Japanese, single and desperate, and a guy, for about a year here. Nothing. But I wasn’t teaching English. I was in a regular university, far away from gaijin bars. Those foreign guys who you see doing well? I would hazard a guess that they are doing well because they are mixing with the relatively small, predominantly female, segment of the country which is interested enough in the outside world to the extent that they want to learn English. The guys you mention, being (I assume) English teachers, get to come into contact with pretty much the few small percentage of girls who want to meet/hang out with gaijin. Most Japanese girls would rather cross the street than talk with us, and the only thing you gain by knowing good Japanese is actually to rule out the interest of those few percent who want to speak/learn English or go abroad. One step forward two steps back. It was so weird when I visited shanghai having all these girls looking at me, when in Tokyo I am pretty much invisible except in the sense like you mentioned (obstructing somebody’s vision or being glared at).

  21. Check this out, Ken!

    Worst date ever! Japanese ladies reveal the top five date ideas to avoid
    http://www.japantoday.com/category/lifestyle/view/worst-date-ever-japanese-ladies-reveal-the-top-five-date-ideas-to-avoid

    Maybe you can do an article on “the top five date ideas to do with your Japanese girlfriend.”

    Stay thirsty, my friend.
    -Jack

    • Not that I’ll ever date a REAL Japanese woman, but that article Jack referenced just about destroys all Japanese romance TV series and Anime romance series standards I’ve ever seen. Eeeeeh, no car dates because she might get car sick… what the heck is up with that and KEN… OMG, can you believe that going to Izakayas are bad for Japanese women because “It’s too loud, the atmosphere is all wrong”; at least according to that article. Oh well, glad that it’ll never be a problem for me then…LOL!! Nice article Jack, thanks!

  22. Nearly half of Japanese adults are not having sex: Fatigue and lack of interest blamed as birth rate continues to slide

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2918747/Nearly-half-Japanese-adults-not-having-sex-Fatigue-lack-blamed-birth-rate-continues-slide.html

    • Are you implying that Japanese girls only look sexy, but aren’t actually into sex? Next you’ll tell me the Emperor isn’t God.

  23. Hi ya’ll!

    really interesting thoughts, so I thought I’de contribute.

    As someone who just arrived in Japan 2 weeks ago for a one year stay, I must say, this all sounds very depressing!

    As for your suggestion Ken to go counting mixed couples at Shibuya: I’de do it if you send me a sheet with the questions and a clipboard. I have all the time in the world!

    Another thing I noticed in here, is that there is a lot of hatin’ goin’ on here! You might say that I’m still in this illusion of Japan thing, although I don’t think I really am… but stuff like the rule of 7 (which i actually don’t really know, but I guess it must be around 7 things that people always ask) may it be Japanese or not, seems normal to me. People who never left and never will leave their country can’t possibly understand what it is like to leave ones country, and I guess can’t understand why in all the world people would come to Japan with all it’s problems. But the fact that they are coming forward and asking you stuff… doesn’t it show some sort of interest in you?! I’m french but was born and raised in Berlin, so I’m a foreigner as long as I can remember. In other places, people don’t even bother to ask! And to be honest, while in Berlin, I wasn’t too interested in foreigners either.

    One thing I realised while reading everyones thoughts, is that I get asked a lot if I was into mangas or Japanese women… as if there wouldn’t be another reason to come to Japan! When I say that there are plenty of reasons, for instance food, culture, budo or simply the joy of speaking Japanese. I get very surprised reactions. Is it so uncommon to come for other reasons? I also get incomprehension and doubtful looks when I tell them that I find more similarities than differences when I think of French and Japanese culture or German and Japanese culture for that fact.

    What really struck me though, was a couple of years ago, when I was in Okinawa. I was trying to talk to an older man selling stuf on a market, and he was pretty reluctant to talk to me about the smallest things, although I wasn’t asking for much with my rudimentary Japanese skills. He Spoke pretty good English, and then he asked me if I was American (I picked up a pretty bad southern accent while living in Alabama). When I answered “furansujin!”, he was completely exchanged! A big smile came up his face, and he asked me if I knew how to prepare parfait.
    I mean, I don’t know where ya’ll are from, but it seemed pretty americanish… and we all know the reputation of American tourists, not just in Japan right? (sorry if I’m stepping on some toes here)

    It’s gotten pretty long already, but I have one more thing before I quit, so I’ll cut right too it: I’m a bit disappointed in the Topic-Title relationship here… I actually thought I might find some rules or hints as to cultural dos and don’ts when interacting with Japanese women… not that I’m here just for that, but to me, women are the better persons, and I’m french… and livin’ ain’t livin’ without some lovin’!

    Nic

    • Thanks for a nice, long comment.

      As for whether you’re “still in this illusion of Japan thing,” here’s the test: What really bugs you about Japan?

      Now, I don’t mean that to be negative. It’s not actually about Japan, but about anything. Think of a job, a person, even your own family. Or France, for that matter. Can you list things that you don’t like? Of course you can. Because hey, that’s relality. Once you know something well, you see both the good and bad sides, and how they’re connected. So if you don’t have a list of negatives for something, then either you don’t know that thing well enough or you’ve stumbled onto some magical thing in which the rules of the universe no longer apply. Far as I can tell, beer is the only substance that fits that criteria. Absolutely no downside to that beverage at all.

      Also, unless you speak a lot of the language, and spend great amounts of time immersed in Japanese-only environments, you really can’t know the country at all. You probably wouldn’t know San Francisco very well either, if you were a Chinese guy who lived only in Chinatown, if you get what I’m saying. You can easily live in Japan for years and not know it at all. Although that’s arguably the key to happiness, and why women should never tell people that their boobs are fake. Keep the dream alive.

      As for interacting with Japanese women, I’d say this: if you really want to know what they’re like, speak only Japanese. Compared to speaking French or English, I suspect you’ll see a very different person. Let me know how that works out.

      • Well there are a few things that bug me a little, but I can’t say “really bug ” me… What does that make of me?
        I’m not the typ of guy that goes to a country to stay in his comfort zone. But I’m confused now… Does that mean either know the place or keep the dream alive? Guess i’m gonna have to walk a thin line there.

        I went to shibuya yesterday (sat) night, and since I was a bit early at the Hachiko I took the liberty of trying to do some work in your honorable name… I was there for about an hour and started counting a little.

        I saw foreigners too great a number to count.
        Most of them met with other guys (so maybe gay?)
        I probably missed some, but for my (probably too european) standarts, I saw only a handfull of couples and of those only 3 mixed ones. The women were by far better looking than the men and they were all holding hands or walking arm in arm.

        So what do you make of that?
        Nic

        • Three foreigners with women, out of numbers too great to count…Mmnn, who knows. It’s interesting, although I have a feeling that counting visitors to Shibuya, like tourists in Disney Land, lacks a certain scientific rigor. But whatever. I will say that after dealing with ladies in this country, that anybody who thinks it’s easy to date Japanese women has a Mr. T-like tolerance for pain.

          What really jumped out at me in your comment was that “the women were by far better looking than the men.” My experience has been that, when I first got here, all the women looked amazing. And then later, well, only some were. And now, eh, I’m down to about one a month, if that. After a while, you just notice different things, is all. I can look at a Western guy and get an impression of whether he’s from Milan or Kentucky, but it’s not so easy to distinguish girls from Saitama from those from Gunma. So I’d encourage you to look again.

          On a similar note, I recently met a Western guy (who was, coincidentally, very good-looking), with a Japanese girl who was smoking hot. I mean, like daaaamn. Which was surprising, because very few Japanese women actually strike me as sexy any more. And after talking with them for a minute, I realized why—she was Taiwanese-American, not Japanese. So maybe add that to the statistics too.

          • hilarious! I’m cracking up here!
            Well if you work in a bakery you’re bound to loose your appetit for cakes!

          • I did have to laugh at the guys meeting other guys. I doubt that Japan is any different than any other country. Go to any public place, a bar for example, and look at guys not currently with a female and probably 98% of the time they will be straight guys hanging out with other straight guys. There to pick up women or just to throw back a few. I know in the US, most guys will be meeting up with other guys just to hang out, not because they are gay. I’d say a majority of the time its because they are single and most of their friends are guys.

            I do have to laugh about the women getting worse the more you are around them. I learned long ago to never judge looks on first look. I have seen way too many that I thought were 10s on first glance that I had to revise down to 3-6 by the 4th look. I remember going into a bank a few years back and seeing 2 women behind the counter and the one I thought of as a 5 or so became someone I thought of as a 9 at 4 ft away. I know she’d still look like a 5 if I went back to the entrance again. Because of that I knew she was one of those women that guys would keep in the friend zone but I became smitten with her in the few minutes there.

            I looked at the website you linked and was aware of that extreme difference prior to today. I have seen many models without their makeup and have to say a good portion are really not very pretty until they put on the makeup. The women I like to see are the ones that do apply makeup but only a tiny bit and are still attractive to me. I have seen a few that were attractive and then they put on makeup and actually got worse looking. About a week ago I was looking up pictures that was related to the schoolgirl skirts. I just found it hard to believe there could be that many schools that had that kind of wardrobe requirement. I was wrong. I admit that I think most of the pictures were probably of 17yr old girls with their male/female classmates. But I did notice one thing about the women. I found that I thought only about 2% of the women shown were pretty. It was what you and Jasmine had said about makeup that I didn’t know until today and it makes sense now why I thought of Japanese women as gorgeous. Its the makeup that makes them that way not how they actually look. But that is true of any country and Japan is not unique in that area although they may be more skilled at than those in other countries. All countries have their good and bad looking males/females. One thing I have noticed that probably isn’t true across the board is that asian females that have a bit of western blood in them tend to be better looking.

  24. There’s a pretty big thread right now on Reddit about dating disasters in Japan. Thought you might enjoy it: https://www.reddit.com/r/japanlife/comments/4ohenu/its_friday_regale_us_with_your_tales_of_dating/

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