Today I’m very happy to present you a guest post by a great fellow Japan blogger.
It’s Ken Seeroi from “Japanese Rule of 7“. I’m sure you’ve heard of him, and I highly recommend reading his blog. I adore his writing style. You’ll learn what life in Japan is really like – in a funny and sometimes sarcastic way. Check it out!
“I’m originally from the U.S. I first came to Japan in 2003, and started studying Japanese shortly thereafter. I moved here permanently in 2008, at which point I gave up eating cheeseburgers, wearing wrinkled t-shirts, and speaking English. This has had some mixed results, but at least my wardrobe looks fantastic and my cholesterol level is nice and low.
I spend a tremendous amount of time asking Japanese people, in Japanese, what they think about Japan, love, sex, foreigners, language, and everything else under the sun. This seems to elicit very different results than speaking in English. What I see often seems unlike the Japan depicted in books and on the net, and sometimes I wonder, What country are these people talking about? Anyway, I just try to present what I’ve learned and experienced in the most authentic way possible, so hopefully others can think about Japan in a well-rounded manner.”
This article is an insightful and slightly controversial follow-up to “Is Dating Japanese Women Really That Easy?”
1. Approaching A Japanese Woman
Sure, Just walk up and Whoops! spill a drink down her blouse. Works every time. Because actually no matter what you say or do, a certain number of them will pretend to like you. That’s the game.
Western women will generally let you know up front that they’re not interested in you, while Japanese women will act cute and ooh-and-ahh over you while secretly thinking you’re an idiot. Like so many interactions in Japan, things often start off promising, only to become vastly more complicated before hot dog hits bun, so to speak.
First of all, understand that very few Japanese women are interested in dating men of other races.
You’re an immigrant, and well, who wants to date those people? Of course, if you hang around in gaijin bars, then yeah, you’ll meet the one-percent of “Japanese chicks who study English.”
And they’ll come equipped with tons of stereotypical ideas about white, black, and miscellaneous brown people. They’re like, “Oh, you eat sushi rolls, and drink sake? Wow, that’s so cool!” Yeah, real cool.
Don’t forget to mention your manga collection and the fact you’re a yellow belt in karate. They’ll love that.
So when you initially meet someone new, you’re already pre-defined as “a foreigner,” someone whose skin color, clothing, habits, and beliefs places them instantly outside of the social order. Overcoming the racial stereotypes and just being treated as a normal person is a big barrier.
Then, consider what most women want in a partner: someone financially secure, respected in society, and with whom they can build a family. Then there’s you. Driving a sweet Mercedes through the middle of Shibuya. Oh, you ride a basket bike? Well, that’s cool too. Chicks dig a guy with the ability to smuggle ET to safety.
Have a house? A job with a future? Or are you just going to peace out back to Canada and live with your mom after a couple of years? How will you raise a family? Can you even read? What woman would settle for an illiterate man with no money and little social standing?
A woman with few other options, apparently.
2. The Truth About Getting Married With a Japanese Woman
I gotta level with you. As a man, you’re setting yourself up to be the breadwinner in a society where you’re a perpetual outsider with minimal advancement opportunities. If you get married, or have kids, you can pretty much kiss your ass goodbye.
Case in point, I ran in my buddy Tim-Bob the other day, having beers in a gaijin bar. I call him Tim-Bob, because the first time we met, I thought his name was Tim, and the second time I thought his name was Robert. Then after we became friends he finally told me, “You know, my name’s actually Jeff.” Turns out I’d been calling him by the wrong names for about a year. Hey, is it my fault Tim-Bob slurs terribly? Must be all that beer.
Anyway, Tim-Bob was halfway into his fourth drink and onto a familiar lamentation about his Japanese wife.
“Every night I go home,” he said, “and she’s on me to do the dishes, vacuuming, and change diapers. It’s like I can never relax.”
“And that’s why God invented Irish bars,” I said. Ken Seeroi, master of putting a positive spin on things since 2013.
“Anyway, she’s probably stressed, with taking care of your daughter and all.”
“Yeah, don’t tell me about stress,” he said. “We haven’t had sex since she was born.”
“Uh, yeah, I thought your daughter was like two.”
“Two and a half,” he said.
“Jeeez, that’s almost as bad as Ray. He’s in the same boat with his lady.”
“Nah, it’s not that grim,” he replied. “Ray’s daughter’s three.”
So the deal is, if your wife has a job, she’s likely to be stuck in a low-paying position where she works every day until 11 p.m. Well obviously that sucks, so it makes more sense for her to stay at home and take care of the house and kids. Don’t worry, she’ll make this quite clear as time goes on. And you’ll have kids for sure, because that cements the argument. She’ll see to that.
Japanese people value working ridiculously hard, and they’ll expect you to do the same.
So now your wife’s at home every day, washing the sheets, scrubbing the bathtub, and cooking meals, which sounds all hunky dory, except that she’s going to require the same amount of effort from you. That means you can forget about breezing home at five, ordering an extra-large pizza, putting your feet up, and watching TV. What is this, the Philippines? No, you either have to stay at the office until midnight, or come home and get busy. So it’s work late, or iron sheets. Your choice. And that’s where salarymen come from, Jimmy.
These ideas aren’t just hers alone, of course. The entire society functions in this way.
Once her family and friends hear about you lazing around the house on the weekends, or out riding your skateboard or whatever, they’ll pressure you to get a second job, or at least work in the garden. Imada-san holds down two jobs. Takeda-san raises all the vegetables for his family. What’s wrong with you? Hope you like hoeing turnips, cause that’s all the hoeing you’re gonna be doing for a long, long time.
Will your salary be sufficient? Sure, for about six months. Then the money troubles will start. Your wife can’t make more, since she’s a Japanese woman, but Oh, you sure can. Plus, now suddenly she’s pregnant again, and you need a car, and junior’s not going to survive on them turnips alone.
So after you finish tilling the earth, you better head off to teach a weekends-worth of corporate classes.
3. Dating in Japan – Western Women Vs Western Men
Think about a typical salaryman. Now think about a typical Japanese woman. Understand that they’re exactly the same. Identical in every way – not exactly fountains of energy and interesting conversation, if you know what I mean. And when it comes to solving relationship problems, they’re fully equipped with a skill-set that includes such gems as sulking, pouting, and passive aggression.
They’re merely flip-sides of the same coin, only one wears a suit while the other puts on fake eyelashes and a push-up bra. Put enough make-up and hairspray on a soccer ball and it’d look pretty good too. Come ‘ere, Wilson.
I’ve heard foreign women complain that they can’t meet Japanese men, but eh, I’m not so sure.
Seems like you’d have no problem if you were willing to A) Settle for anything that walks, and B) Plan interesting activities for your loved one to enjoy, do virtually all of the talking, and pretend to find him infinitely fascinating. Be sure to make lots of jokes and entertain him.
That’s some of what dating a Japanese woman entails. The difference is that men will put forth whatever effort necessary, and settle for a woman who’s boring, poorly educated, unemployed, even unattractive, so long as it results in some sex. Sorry, I meant, “true love.” My fingers slipped off the keys. Gotta quit eating this extra-large pizza while I type. Anyway, it’s not easy for foreign men; we just have ridiculously low standards.
4. Case Study (A.K.A. Ken’s Personal Weird Experiences)
Okay, let me give you a few snapshots. Like I was on a date with this Japanese girl – this was a couple of years ago – and we went to a Mexican restaurant. They have really good fish tacos. And we were hitting it off, drinking Coronas and laughing and making flirty eyes and then out of nowhere, and bear in mind this was our first date, she asks, “Are you a witch?”
I had to think for a moment. You know, I have a pretty checkered past, and I really needed to refer to my daily planner, just to be sure.
“Um, I don’t think so,” I answered unsteadily.
That seemed to disappoint her. That’s when she told me she was a witch.
“I’m a witch,” she said.
“Well, that would explain the eye makeup,” I said. “So, I’m getting another fish taco, how ‘bout you?”
Things kind of degraded from there, and we never went out again. Which is a shame, because I was kind of into that whole witch thing.
Then a few months later, I met a Japanese girl in a club in Roppongi. She was short and cute, and as the night progressed we ended up outside, walking down the street. I think we were going somewhere to play pool, but I’m not really sure why. Anyway, at what seemed to be the perfect moment, I swept her into a parking garage and we started making out against a concrete wall. I’m real romantic like that.
After a minute, she looked at me and said, “Are you the Devil?”
This time, I didn’t have to think so long. “Uhh, yes?” I said.
That seemed to be the right answer, and we abandoned playing pool in favor of her apartment, which really made me regret not answering the witch question differently.
A few months later – and okay, I know this is kind of a theme, but that’s just how things worked out – I met this girl in a bar in Shinjuku and we ended up in a love hotel. We paid the money for a room with lots of mirrors, went in, started making out on the bed, and then just as we were about to, as they say, consummate matters, she looked up at me and asked, “Are you my husband?”
I was like, What the hell? Are all the women in this country mental?
And you know I’m not trying to lead anybody on, but for Christ’s sake. I mean, really, have some timing.
I looked at her and said, “I think we can safely conclude that, for tonight, baby, I am.”
5.’Getting’ A Japanese Woman – Easy or Not?
So let’s see . . . if you’re a guy and just looking to hook-up, then it’s all good, right?
Please. Japan consistently ranks at the bottom of countries for frequency of sex, and almost half of all Japanese women flat-out state they aren’t interested in it. Even the ones who’ll endure it seem determined to lie there like slabs of tuna and wait for you to finish.
If you want a vivacious woman who takes an active role in lovemaking then, I dunno, maybe go to Brazil or something, but definitely not Japan.
Okay, so I haven’t dated that many Japanese women, statistically speaking. Probably not even two percent of the population, but in general I’ve gotta say they have amazingly low sex drive, little experience in bed, and that the most exciting thing you’re likely to hear is, “Jeez, this is so embarrassing.”
With all that, it’s surprising how many foreign guys end up with rather homely Japanese ladies. Granted, there are a few good-looking foreign dudes with pretty Japanese girls, but overall, attractive, successful foreign men do far better in their home countries. Or anywhere, for that matter.
So can you “get” a Japanese woman?
Well, if you spend enough time fishing, you’re bound to hook a boot or an old tire eventually. But in the West, if you’re a handsome, well-spoken guy with a good career, you can date sexy, generative, and highly successful women.
Here, well, you’ll get something, but it’s unlikely to be someone on your same level. Anyway, hot dog bun.
You know, I initially believed Japanese women were wild about foreign men.
Thanks a lot for hyping that wisdom, internet. What’s really happening is self-selection: foreigners frequent places where the few women interested in foreigners all congregate. Outside of Irish bars, international parties and the like, in the society at large – and I hate to say this, but well – foreigners are not highly regarded in Japan, including by Japanese women.
Foreigners occupy a space similar to that of gays in America: a group viewed as not really “normal,” with values and behaviors outside of the mainstream, but also thought of as flamboyant and entertaining. Everybody loves them when they’re up on stage or out on parade.
And all right, maybe if you’re drunk enough, you might try sleeping with “one of them,” just to see what it’s like. Or if you’re desperate to get married and trapped in a place where no one else is available, well hey, prison wedding. Meet my new bride: Hank.
6. Ken Seeroi’s Final Words of Wisdom:
Ok, let me add a couple of disclaimers here. First of all, this is an article from a guy’s perspective. Women have very real constraints and concerns in this society. It’s by no means easy being a woman, of any race, in Japan. I get that. But here, I’m only presenting the male perspective. Sorry about that. There’s a whole flip side to this story that bears keeping in mind.
Secondly, I’m by no means saying that “All Japanese women are like this.” Because, okay, some are also like “that.” So I know I’m painting with a broad brush, and naturally there are exceptions to everything. Somewhere out there, there’s a 30-pound house cat and a Labrador Retriever small enough to fit in your pocket too. But if you ask me to describe a cat or a dog, I’m gonna try to give you a realistic picture without writing an encyclopedia in the process. So yes, I’m generalizing, and I’m sure your girlfriend/wife/co-worker/neighbor is really a wonderful person and a fabulous lover. In that case, it’d probably be in everyone’s best interest not to show her this article, really.
In the end, Japanese women aren’t simple and gullible, although they’re good at pretending to be. You really shouldn’t mess with ladies who are better than you at math, you know. And like women anywhere, they can be controlling, angry, and vindictive if you screw up. Do not screw up. Trust me on this. They want a house, kids, and a husband who brings home a paycheck. That’s the game they’re playing, and this is their home turf.
So If you’re a foreign guy who’s determined to chase Japanese women, then, well, I guess have at it. I’m pretty sure that eventually, one’ll catch you.
Disclaimer by Zooming Japan:
This blog post contains Ken Seeroi’s personal experience and opinion, not Zooming Japan’s.
Also, take this article with a whole bucket of salt.