Life in Japan

No Wonder Men are Only After Japanese Women!

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. smilie

Today’s post won’t be any different, so better get ready …. or run for it NOW!~

I’ve already explained why I think that it’s usually harder for Western women to find a Japanese man than it is for Western guys to find a Japanese woman. Although there are exceptions, of course.

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! smilie

 

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.

Cute Hello Kitty Japanese women shoes

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. smilie

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?”
Me: “27…”
Staff:Pardon?” (probably thought I don’t know the right shoe size in Japanese)
Me: “27!!”
Staff: “Oh, I’m sooo very sorry, but we don’t have that size …”
Me: “I just knew it.” smilie

 

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.”
Me: smilie

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):
International shoe size chart from Wikipedia

 

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.

Cute Japanese women just like a doll.

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.

Shocking!

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.

Cute Japanese women / girls in front of a maid cafe in Akihabara.

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. smilie

 

Round 4: Me (1) – Japanese girls (0)

 

Result: Me (1) – Japanese girls (4) (I so don’t care!)

 

Conclusion:

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“?

84 Comments

  • I just want to say.. Asian girls are cute but the only ones I seem to really like are 2d and I know I wouldn’t enjoy being around them if they actually existed xD “baka onna” .. cute and funny in a cartoon.. almost slapstick even .. but being around that hazard in life would just be unpleasant. I actually prefer smarter girls… It’s just more fun that way. I also prefer taller girls (I’m 5’5″) although I still would like to be with a girl that’s much shorter than me xD. But aside from that I also prefer Hispanic girls.. yet I have never dated one. Anyways I loved the article.. just wanted to say that I, miraculously, prefer a brainy girl over one that keeps herself dim.

    • That’s nice to hear, Danny. :)
      But as you’re not a Japanese guy you’re not the main target of those “baka onna”.
      I wonder though if really the majority of Japanese guys prefer that type of girl. I don’t think so. It’s probably just a certain type of Japanese men who prefer “baka onna”.

  • Japanese clothes, shoes and make-up actually fit me better then european xD And I also want to be as pale as possible, JAPAN IS MY COUNTRY

  • Ever since I came to Asia I was wonder what people with truly large feet, especially women who love shoes, actually do to survive in this part of the world. Feet here are ridiculously small. The odd thing is that in the area I am living now (In China), at least at the university I attend classes there are some fairly tall women and men, but their feet still either are quite small (I have seen it), or they fake it.

    Like the author of this article, my feet are huge for WESTERN standards, which are already for world standards rather big feet. You can imagine then what I go through over here. I am the equivalent of (be ready to laugh), a 340 in China, which is 34 in Japan (50 in Europe). I’m am also 1.8 meters on a good day, so my feet are ridiculously long. The expressions of utter amazement at the sight of such enormous “boats” would be so old by now if it wasn’t so funny. Some people think my shoes are “mystical” (the word they use), because they have never seen a pair of loafers so large. I really have not tried going to shops much for obvious reasons, but a couple of times I did out of sheer curiosity and the consensus is that size “34” is not an actual shoe size, because that number is off the scale. I also should go see a doctor. :)

    I wonder what Asian people really think about such huge sizes like 27 for a woman ( which is large but not like clown sized) and 34 for a guy (definitely clown territory!). Do they think such big feet are just typical western “oddity” or do they find it a bit bizarre, dare I say even gross, that feet can get so large?

    Also ich kann Deutsch, jedoch weil ich derzeit in China um die Sprache zu lernen wohne, ist mein Deutsch total verrostet. Es ist wirklich schade, ich fnde diese Sprache so schön und faszinierend. Vor einem anderhalb Jahre konnte ich eher gut sprechen. Jetzt kann ich immer noch ohne viele Probleme lesen, und auch noch zühoren und verstehen. Aber meine mündliche Fähigkeit is ßßßß geworden. Wenn ich überleben in Deutschland hätte, würde ich es schaffen, trotzdem möchte ich meine Stufe viel nach oben vertreiben. Hoffentlich nächstes Jahr kann ich das genau tun.

    • Haha, I wonder about that, too.
      I’ve never ever had anyone comment on my feet in Asia thus far. But I did care a lot, when I put the shoes next to those of my male co-workers and my shoes being the LARGEST by far … and that as a woman. ^^;; …..

      • Ich denke, vielleicht weil du eine Frau bist, sagen dir kein Kommentar. Sie glauben du wirst wütend oder verletzt. Ich bin ein Kerl, also warscheinlich raten est ist mir egal. Der Unterschied zwischen den Japanern und Chinesen ist aber eher groß, Ich vermute die Japaner sind noch viel schüchtern als die Chinesen (kaum zu glauben!). Eine ziemlich klein Minderheit sagen mir meine Füße sind echt riesig, aber dann kann ich mir vorstellen, was die anderen, die gar nicht sagen, darüber denken muss. =0

        Aber ja, wenn du eine Frau bist and deine Schuhe machen die anderen winzig, am Anfang musste das shockierend… Mein problem ist kann überhaupt keine Sandalien finden, wenn ich die Wohnungen meiner Chinesischen Freuden betreten muss. Dann können die sehen, wie groß meine Buschfeuer-Auftreter wirklich sind. Die meisten können ihre Schuhe innerhalb meiner setzen!! Wenn man meine Zehe abschneiden würdet, bleiben meine Fußsohlen länger als die Füßen den Rest des Meschen hier!

        Darum geht es, ich frage mich was die über unsere Fußgröße auf sich selbst denken.

  • I think this is not a fair description of the situation. Japanese women are not dolls or stupid. They have simply not forgotten that the point of being a women is not trying to be like a man. They are generally feminine, intelligent, hard working, fit and classy. Western women have some like that too, but many are just lazy and use the word “doll”, “freedom” or “innocent” just to justify their lack of effort. To have a partner should be to reach your extraordinary you, not to get comfortable and criticize other women for putting more effort. This is like putting down out of hatred sport men saying they are empty headed because they train hard. Any woman or man Ive seen to fight hard to make themselves better for the opposite sex have been always fortunate. Make your luck and forget about hating othet people’s luck (aka effort).

  • Thanks tor the information, its nice to know that I am almost average there. Actually though my legs are longer than most of the girls in my county in Michigan, while measuring my femur in school, mine was 15” longer than the guys in my group at 13/14”. So I guess my legs are long, and I am not that skinny, but I am 5’3 so I should fit in with the hight, and my size shoe is 23.5 in Japan. It was nice to know that I would fit in. I am currently learning the language, hope to visit the country some day!

  • I came across this site while looking for tips for an upcoming trip to Japan.
    You seem to have the opposite problem than me re shopping.
    I’m 5’2 and weigh around 105 lbs…..so shopping anywhere outside of Vancouver in Canada is a pain.

    Same goes for cosmetics….blue eyeshadow on yellow-toned skin = green!

    • I think it’s always sad when you cannot buy something because you don’t fit in.
      But it really sucks if that happens in the country you live in. Not that bad if it’s somewhere you’re just on vacation. Sad yes, but not dramatic, I’d say. ;)

  • I agree with all this post.
    I want to add a grain of salt.
    Your size determine the cost of your living.
    We are couple of foreigners – thin and busty XXS 164cm/48kg women and tall, very slim (very thin bones), athletic 192cm/71kg men (36cm biceps while wrist circumference is only 17cm)

    My husband envies me that I can buy super shoes and clothes for super price.
    I can buy super blouses, clothes for 1000-2000 yen because I need Japan Size 5 or 7, JP S or JP M. I have bought more than 10 high heels and 4 flats shoes during 1 year.
    While before coming to Japan I struggled to find my shoe size (35 Euro) in Canada.

    It is not a problem to find shoes for my husband – US 12/Euro 48. But it cost money – 150..200 usd in Tokyo… me, I pay 10 usd for one pair.

    The same story for clothes – one piece of clothes in correct size will be at least 100usd

    (or 60 usd one shirt if you order few pieces with one tailor)

    So, if you want to know how much it would cost for you – clothes and shoes in Japan…

    Find one Japanese with similar taste – ask how much he/she spends for clothes -> multiply that in 10 times

    Live can became more expensive in Japan because of your size

  • Hmm. Fun reading the comments. The women talk about shoes and clothes. The men talk about Japanese women. Occasionally there’s a comment about stereotypes.

  • I never been to Japan, so I am not sure about if I can find my size, but I can imagine I am bigger than the average Japanese guy.

    I am a Latin guy, 27 years old, 170cm tall, 59 kg, and slim frame.

    I used to live in the US, and for me finding clothes in the US was a nightmare for me as not only the average American guy is taller than me, but also is much wider and heavier/fatter than me.The clothes in the US or from most American brands is too baggy/loose for my frame. At Banana Republic, my shirt and sweater size is extra small, which is rare to find on stock. I had to order my clothes from Zara online or go to Mexico to shop as Zara is much more common to find there than in the USA. Funny is that for shoes, I did not have a problem finding my size as my size is common in the US and most Western countries (size 42 in Europe, size 9 in the US)

    However, at Spanish stores like Zara or Italian stores like Armani Exchange, my size is small, and I never had problem finding my clothing size at Zara, Armani Exchange, or even at H&M. And here the opposite happens as Americans complain Zara and Armani clothes are too small for them and do not fit them perfectly. I suppose us Latins are not only shorter than Germanics,but also more slender on average.

    Thanks for sharing your experience :)