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Discussion in 'Dating & Relationships' started by Wwanderer, Mar 21, 2012.
First attempt to make this post fails.
Second attempt fails in the same way...not sure what is going on.
A friend sent me this link
No Sex in the City: What It’s Like to Be Female and Foreign in Japan
and asked if the article gives an accurate/realistic picture of the situation of single Western women living in Japan. Not being a woman (or single), I don't think I can give a very useful answer, but fwiiw, there seems to be a significant element of truth to what the article reports, although it seems a bit exaggerated and superficial to me.
What do all of you think, especially Karen I suppose?
I seem to have hit a bug in my first two attempts to start this thread above. Using the preview function before submitting the post seems to cause a problem with the link. Anyway, you can ignore the first and second posts above and go straight to the third. Then ignore this one too...which, I realize, is a paradoxical suggestion, sort of like signs that say "Do Not Read This Sign!".
There are elements of truth, but I wouldn't say they're significant. Certainly there are exaggerations.
I believe everything she described is accurate, but her perception of the reasons behind are too simplified.
If she wants to get laid, she can obviously get that done with zero problems.
But if she wants to start a relationship with a Japanese man, I certainly think that intimidation would not be the primary reason. She said it herself in her writeup, Japanese men are attracted to western women. They'd be more than happy to get them in a love hotel and have their way with a western woman. But to get into a relationship with one? That's violating big family expectations when you're dealing with such a strong patriarchy based society. So in Japan, I would say the biggest reason for that would be culture and tradition, more so than intimidation.
Where I believe she is wrong in her writing was when she wrote, "Strong, independent, assertive and outspoken, they were interesting to admire from afar, but no man would ever dream of striking up a conversation with one. Western women were so different, so foreign, they were virtually un-datable."
It should be more like, "Strong, independent, assertive and outspoke, they were interesting to admire and have sex with in a love hotel, but no man would ever dream of marrying one and having children with them. Dating a western women would be abhorred by his parents."
As for the reverse situation, that's a reciprocating prejudice. The recent census results for mixed marriages in the US showed the same. White male and Asian female married couples far outpaced other sex/race combinations. Look in any magazine and you will see advertisements depicting the same. It is become an "acknowledged" combo in terms of first world nations. So that is nothing new. Certainly it's worth noting that interracial marriages are also prone to even higher chance of divorce, but that too is stating the obvious.
Thanks for the reply, and your point (above) about the important difference between a brief hook-up with a Western woman and a more serious relationship that might bring her into the family etc makes a lot of sense to me. It must be at least a big part of the story.
Nevertheless, I don't see that it sheds much light on what seems to me to be the most puzzling point, namely the gender asymmetry. Why are relationships between J women and Western men so much more common and apparently work so much better by contrast?
doesn't make sense to me (or maybe I don't understand it properly). You seem to be saying that it is more acceptable to everyone, including families, because it is more common and familiar. But that is circular reasoning; the question is why is it more common. Put slightly differently, why did it become more common in the first place? In terms of your explanation, why would Japanese parents object so much less to their daughter marrying a Western man than to their son marrying a Western woman?
I guess one possible answer is that Western men act more like Japanese men, at least in the context of family life, than Western women act like Japanese women.
I re-read the article again after seeing your follow up post, and she really is quite venomous in her jealousy rant. To be less polite, reading that link to me, came off as "white woman bitching". If you sum up her points in a shallow and crass manner, she basically said "After 9 months in Japan, I concluded that Japanese men are pussies. They are also close-minded. So my inability of not being able to date someone in Japan is totally other people's fault, not mine." It is not just shallow, but quite ignorant. Look at this line: "underemployed, socially-awkward, samurai-sword-collecting neighbor, Kevin. But in Asia, dating rules defy all logic or evolutionary law. In Asia, the nerd is king." Seriously? The she follows up with: "These men wouldn’t have been able to score a date at home if they’d been a calender but in Asia they’d nabbed the prom queen. They were true success stories. Who could blame them for taking advantage of a magical loophole that allowed them to date women out of their league?" Wow, bitter much? Anyways, I'm just discounting her "article" even further. It is quite a work of "everyone else is wrong, it's not me" whining.
These days "circular reasoning". Just natural acceptance over time because it is so prevalent in the media. So you're asking about how it came about in the first place.
Daughters in Asian societies are(were?) expected to be "married away." When they marry, they are expected to join the other family. Certainly that has changed some in modern times, but speaking from general expectations and tradition, daughters were not expected to retain your family lineage. Sons were, and thus it is far more vital that a son carries on the family name. A traditional Japanese woman understands these expectations because that's how they were raised. Marrying a Westerner whom will bring language barrier and different cultural expectations would dilute the family tradition.
I know the authur in the link you posted and you both used the term "Westerner" but I think the subject at hand is also very much racially based, not just culturally. The US census results I mentioned are all figures about race.
So how did the reciprocating prejudice start? I'm not a sociology major, but I would say that just as many social and cultural trends go (which are all learned behaviors), it's a matter of people experimenting and pushing the envelope of what used to be acceptable. Obviously the two sides (white male, asian female) felt something was lacking or they desired something that they believe they couldn't find in their immediate social environment. From the white male's perspective, I would say it's about expectation of a mate that is more devoted to you (than you are to them?). From the Asian female perspective, I would say it's expectation of romanticism.
If the expectations match up, or at least are not in conflict with each other, the coupling gets off the ground. White males and Asian females have what no other racial combination has, which is that reciprocating prejudicial expectation. Of course, everyone is an individual. No one person is just like any other. These are all generalizations and while prejudice exists in all aspects of life, one must morally check oneself when dealing with any other human being, whom is an individual, just like oneself.
Fwiiw, in the long thread of comments following the article, some people take the author to task over the same points you mention, and the author replies and (as usual online) some arguing and flaming ensures. I just glanced through a part of the pages of comments...just mentioning it in case anyone is interested. Anyway, I basically agree with your comments about the author's attitude...but of course her attitude isn't relevant to the gender asymmetry she points out. It is clearly a fact.
Interesting and plausible (to me, anyway) insight...thanks! I hadn't thought of it that way.
Yes, very true. And indeed the individual situations vary all over the map. I passed the same link to two American women I know who have both been living as expats in Tokyo for roughly the last 20 years...and asked for their comments. One said that the article was accurate, and that she had never once been asked out by a Japanese man in that whole time. The other said that she had heard the same sort of complaint from many other Western women living in Tokyo but that her personal experience was that she had never gone "more than three weeks without having some Japanese dude seriously hitting on me". She is also married to a Japanese guy. So, yeah, individuals and their experiences need not conform to these generalizations.
Anyway, thanks much for the interesting commentary.
It would be great to date a western woman again. You can talk, share same cultural experiences. Japanese girls are cute but that's about it. When there is a language barrier the same sequence of events occurrs. Out for the hunt then game over. No communication, clean the house and wash the dishes. I want a lover not a mother. If I wanted that I'd move home. Western women are cute, fun and at the end of the day just as sweet an any woman of any culture. Did I mention communication was important.
As far as I can see, it shouldn't be particularly difficult to find a Western (native English speaking) GF in Tokyo, if that's what you want. There are quite a lot of Western women around, especially in certain parts of town, and as the article I linked above points out, many/most of them aren't having much luck with dating Japanese men...and so are probably well disposed (on average, at least) toward meeting and having "good communications", among other things, with male expats in Tokyo.
In short, if you want'em, go get'em!
@Ww, sorry you had problems posting! I'll poke the guys about it. It happens to me on a rare event.
About this thread, I did not read everything but I just wanted to say that my view of dating other foreigners has been lackluster. I have met a lot of over confident and arrogant men from English speaking countries such as the U.S., U.K., Australia... etc. It's hard to have a relationship when you guys jump from girl to girl and then lie to us about it! (not specifically pointing at people here, just saying in general)
I'll come back with more thoughts later, I have to run out. (It's Saturday night after all!)
Null problema. I'm persistent, but it might occasionally discourage someone from making a post, so it'd be a good idea to fix it if practical.
Sorry to hear that...
It would also be interesting to hear any comments you might have about your experiences, or those of other western women living in Tokyo you know, in dating etc Japanese men. Basically, my OP was to try to see if the description of the situation in the article I linked is accurate.
Are you, like...saying...we aren't supposed to do that??
Hope you had a blast...whatever the ethnicity of your companion(s)!
I can some up the whole thing like this. Over here in Asia it's a buyer's market for men, period. A western chick looking to date a Japanese guy is Rotsa Ruck. Oh, and Japanese men don't want to be bossed around by a bitchy Western gal.
Mister Roboto's "some up" is a nice quintessential example of the assessments I've made regarding the article's author and the reciprocal biased mentality of the sexes and races at hand.
Sum people . . .
I think I read that article a while back. I think there's a bunch of reasons why this could generally be the case, many of them previously mentioned. Note that this post contains a bunch of generalizations that don't apply to everybody, or even most people in a particular class, so if I forget a 'generally' or 'stereotyped to be', this is a blanket caveat.
There's a bunch of cultural elements going into it. Japanese society is very 'polite', so JP men don't routinely chat up women at the drop of a hat on the train, etc. Japanese men are the carriers of their name. Japanese men, being the 'breadwinners' in society, work 12+ hour days and then maybe come home drunk after going to the izakaya with coworkers, and that's not a lifestyle that appeals to JP women, and doesn't give them much time to meet women in general. Honestly there's a stereotype of Asian men, including JP men, that they treat their women like crap (don't treat them as equals in relationships, aren't very affectionate, aren't interested in women older than 30, aren't interested in their own wives after they have children, etc), so JP women may be looking for something else.
In addition, JP women, being the 'lesser' sex in society are probably more interested in seeking out things outside their society, may be more interested in breaking the rules and/or rebelling against family/society, etc. Plus, American men are everything that Japanese guys are not beyond just the 'forbidden fruit' aspect- 'forward' when meeting women in public, affectionate, willing to have a more equal relationship/share in household duties, etc.
I have a few anecdotes that I'll pass along:
-I've met the occasional western woman that is dating or married to a Japanese man, but the western men I've met are overwhelmingly involved with or married to Japanese women. I think I can count the exceptions to this on one hand, and in those cases the guy came over from his home country dating or married to the girl.
-I was talking to this waitress in Texas a few years back between my trips to Japan, and coincidentally she had just come back from working in Japan for a year - I think she said she was modeling/working on TV. She was in her early/mid 20s, blonde and cute as hell. She told me that after dating a few Japanese guys, she refused to date them anymore, and she said she met some Scottish guy who wasn't really that attractive, but she thanked her lucky stars that she could date a 'normal' guy.