In previous posts people complained and said what I’m writing is not true or even disrespectful.
I want to mention once again that everything I write is based on my personal experience. I’m well aware that it’s not true for everyone.
Don’t take granted that Japan is exactly the way I describe it in my “A German Alien in Japan” series.
It’s Japan how I see it though my eyes.
I know that I can be too sarcastic at times. Please take everything I write with a grain of salt. Or better a cup of salt. Or sugar, if that suits you better.
Today’s post won’t be any different, so better get ready …. or run for it NOW!~
Today I want to list a few more possible reasons why Western women might not stand a chance against Japanese women.
Some of the things I’ll mention might even be true for Western men, so you guys, keep on reading as well!
The Hassle of Living in The Land of Lilliput
As a foreigner in Japan, especially coming from a Western country, you might run into several problems.
One of them might be very surprising. At least I didn’t expect it when I moved here!
Am I Bigfoot or are Japanese shoes just too small?
So, I don’t like buying shoes. I’m not fond of owning a lot of shoes.
But since I moved to Japan I’ve NEVER bought any shoes (apart from slippers).
Why is that, you ask?
MY FREAKING SHOE SIZE DOESN’T EXIST IN JAPAN!!
My Japanese shoe size is a “27“. That’s roughly a 42 in most European countries.
Yes, even for European standards I might have large feet, BUT at least I can manage to find shoes in my size back home.
However, it’s simply impossible here in Japan!
I can only buy slippers. Sport shoes are available in my size (men shoes), but they’re too wide.
I’m not really a Hello Kitty fan, but I was so happy when I found female slippers in my size (3L). It was such a rare discovery!
There are so many adorable shoes for girls here in Japan. I’m sure I don’t have to tell you!
I don’t own a single pair of high heels. No wonder I can’t compete with all the cute Japanese girls, when I’m the only one who can’t buy CUTE things!!!!
I’ve stopped looking at shoes completely. It’s simply too frustrating.
Previously in a shoe store:
Staff: “Oh, these are lovely, aren’t they?”
Me: “Yes, but I doubt you have them in my size.”
Staff: “I’m sure that’s not a problem. What’s your size?”
Staff: “Pardon?” (probably thought I don’t know the right shoe size in Japanese)
Staff: “Oh, I’m sooo very sorry, but we don’t have that size …”
Me: “I just knew it.”
Another time I wanted to buy new slippers for work:
Staff: “May I help you?”
Me: “Yes, I’m looking for slippers in size 27.”
Staff: “Oh, I see. Are they for your boyfriend? ^__^”
Me: “No. They are for me…”
Staff: “Oh, I see. I’m sooo sorry. Please follow me. They’re over there.”
The same goes for socks or tights and things like that.
I’ll always have to wait until I go back home to Germany to stock up again (which happens roughly every 2-2.5 years). No fun!
International Shoe Size Chart from Wikipedia (click to enlarge):
Most women shoes are available up to 24/25, so if you have smaller feet, you can buy all those cute shoes. Sometimes they go up to 26/26.5 cm, but that’s it.
People seriously gave me the advice to look in a “drag queen shop” for lady shoes in my size.
For men most shoes go up to 28, sometimes 30, so if you have larger feet, you’ll run into similar problems as me.
As you can see, most Japanese guys have smaller feet than me! (T______T) ….
Buying clothes can be tough, too:
I’m not short, but I’m also not very tall. I’m about 172 cm (5 ft 8 in). That’s taller than the average Japanese woman (158 cm / 5 ft 2 in), though.
As I’m slim, I don’t have any issues squeezing myself into Japanese clothes, but most of the time they’re too short!
Trousers, leggings and long sleeve shirts are always an issue. However, skirts and tops without long sleeves are perfect.
Finding gloves where my long fingers fit in can also be a drama.
I’m not entirely sure, but I think it’s quite difficult to find clothes if you’re overweight. As most of you know there aren’t many “fat people” in Japan and what is available in shops is for the “average Japanese” with small feet, short legs and petite fingers plus a super slim body shape.
Same goes for Japanese men (average height: 170 cm / 5 ft 7 in).
If you’re a tall Western guy – no matter if you’re slim or fat, you’ll struggle to find clothes that fit.
It’s certainly going to be easier in big cities such as Osaka and Tokyo, but if you live in the countryside like me, you better stock up back home.
The good news is that for accessories size doesn’t matter.
Also, Japanese kids and teenagers are getting taller and taller recently. Some of my junior high students (even the girls) are already taller than I am.
I think in the near future the size of shoes and clothes will change accordingly.
I can’t fit into half of the clothes as they’re too short and my shoe size doesn’t even exist, so many of the adorable things available just have to stay in the store – or a cute Japanese girl will buy them instead.
Round 1: Me (0) – Japanese girls (2)
Why Being A Doll Is The Way To Go: About Make-Up and Shrill Voices
I see a lot of girls every day who are wearing tons of make-up. I’m sure they spent hours in front of the mirror.
Layers of make-up, false eyelashes and whatnot. They’re trying to look like cute little dolls.
And what is worse, some of them even try to speak like dolls!
I suppose if you’ve been to Japan you might have heard them on the train. They change their voice on purpose to sound super cute (and annoying), but apparently some Japanese guys seem to like it.
I’ve seen a lot of Japanese girls wearing heels when they went hiking. Some even tried to climb Mt. Fuji wearing those kind of shoes. WHAT THE …??!!
I kind of understand that some want to look like cute, innocent dolls, but it’s all so fake!
And I remember reading an article where a foreign guy wrote about his experience with Japanese girls and how they slammed the bathroom door in the morning when he tried to enter because she hasn’t “put on her mask” (a.k.a. tons of make-up) yet. He even wrote that he was sure he took a different person back home the night before.
I’m all for dressing up cute at times, but I hate people who are fake.
If that’s what I have to do in order to get a (Japanese) guy, then I’m out!
Round 2: Me (0) – Japanese girls (1)
Japan’s Ideal of Female Beauty
Of course the ideal of beauty differs from culture to culture and what is considered pretty in Western countries might not be true in Japan.
The classical Japanese beauty still seems to be the most popular: long black hair with a porcelain white skin.
When I first came to Japan I was really shocked to see that almost everybody was avoiding the sun, especially the women. They were all wearing hats, long gloves and had parasols. Sunblocks are super strong. And to top it all, there is “whitening cream“.
I got the shock of my life when I bought my first facial cream in Japan. I just grabbed a cream that looked alright without taking a second look. After using it, my face turned white. I looked like a clown!!! A lot of Japanese women try everything to keep their skin as pale as possible.
In most Western countries the ideal of beauty nowadays is that a nice tan is the way to go. If you’re too pale it either means that you’re a couch potato or you’re sick.
In Germany we try to get out as soon as summer comes to get a tan, comparing who got darker afterwards. Here in Japan, they probably compare who’s whiter instead.
This is another thing where I’m not playing along. I don’t want to be too pale.
The sun in Japan is very aggressive and you have to be careful. I’m also using sunblock and cover my arms with long gloves if I’m out in the sun for too long, but not because I want to stay pale.
With that ideal of beauty it can be very difficult for you to find make-up in Japan. All the foundations and powders are too pale for my skin tone. If you’re naturally a bit darker, it might be challenging to find good make-up here.
Round 3: Me (0) – Japanese girls (1)
You’ve Gotta Be Stupid, Girl:
What I find even more stupefying is the fact that apparently some Japanese men WANT a “baka onna” – a stupid woman.
A lot of Japanese men seem to be horrified by the thought of a woman being smarter than them.
There’s a really interesting article on Tofugu about that, so go ahead and read it.
Young women dressed up as maids in Akihabara. Cute, innocent and obedient.
And sadly I’ve experienced that as well.
Japanese people often freak out when they find out that I’m (more or less) fluent in English, German and Japanese.
I get comments like “Wow! Sugoi! You’re a genius!”.
At that point I usually decide not to mention that I also learned French, Latin and Spanish (though I’ve forgotten most of it now).
Where I’m from it’s not such a big deal if somebody can speak two foreign languages or more.
While Japanese people are really impressed by it, I’ve noticed that some Japanese men seemed to be a bit intimidated.
At least they’ve reacted in a way I’ve never seen a Western guy react to it.
However, I will not pretend to be stupid. Well, maybe I am – and all is good, but I’m certainly not doing it on purpose …. unless I’m trying to be funny like in front of my little monsters (a.k.a. my students). And to cite them: “Oh, My Gaga!”
Apparently this also has to do with the fact that a lot of Japanese men want their wives to stay at home, taking care of the kids and the housework, cooking delicious meals and all that. If a woman is “too smart”, they might not want to give up their career. At least that could be one thing Japanese guys are afraid of.
Luckily not every guy’s taste is the same, so no need to freak out.
Round 4: Me (1) – Japanese girls (0)
Being a foreigner in Japan certainly has its good and its bad sides.
I’ve mentioned some of the possibly inconvenient points today.
However, a lot of Japanese would love to look like a (Western) foreigner. They want to have longer noses (why, oh, why?), want to be taller, want to have a different hair or eye color.
As a foreigner you do stick out, because your looks are different. Often you are much taller than the average Japanese which will attract a lot of attention. People will stare at you, you might even be treated like a superstar.
They’ll squeal and tell you how cute, pretty or handsome you are. You’ll certainly get to hear nice compliments much more often than back home – and I bet that makes us all feel good, doesn’t it?
On the other side, it can be difficult if you live in Japan for a long time. Like I said you might struggle to find clothes, shoes … – or for the girls the make-up you need. And because you look different, you might be treated like an outsider – even if you were born in Japan!
What is your experience with this?
Do you have issues finding clothes or shoes in your size in Japan?
If so, where do you get your stuff from?
Have you met the type of “doll girl” I described? What do you think about them?
And what about the “Baka Onna Theory“?