This entry is perhaps long overdue.
OK people, prepare yourselves for a shock...
have ... a girlfriend.
been dating Aya for about three months. I've felt a
little dishonest writing about all this other stuff
and not writing about my personal relationships, but
I haven't written about her for several good reasons.
Or actually... only one reason... and come to think
of it now, it isn't even a very good reason.
a Japanese girlfriend over here has a bit of a stigma
attached to it. You see foreign guys with Japanese women
all the time. It's much more usual to see a foreign
guy with a Japanese woman on his arm than another foreigner.
Japanese women, as a whole, are a lot more meek, a lot
less opinionated, and a lot more pampering than other
women. A womanizer's paradise. The Japanese women, in
turn, see it as very chic to have a foreigner as a boyfriend.
To their friends they are "cool", modern and
in fashion. As a result of this, a lot of foreigners
who couldn't get a date to save their lives in their
home country often find themselves the object of many
women's desire. I refer you to the following cartoon
for illustration of this concept.
are some generally-held opinions about having foreign
guys dating Japanese women in Japan:
Didn't work too hard to find her; it's too easy to find
women who will date you
2) They enjoy the lack of attention and respect they
must pay to the Japanese women as opposed to their foreign
3) They enjoy the submissiveness of the Japanese women;
he's a womanizer
4) The woman is not so much interested in the foreigner's
personality as opposed to the fact that he is a foreigner
are the major gripes against foreign guys dating Japanese
me, not all the stereotypes are true. A Japanese woman
will never go out with a younger or shorter guy (that's
pretty much the same in the States, but to a lesser
extent) and they are often very materialistic. I never
thought that I'd find a Japanese girl here who I wanted
to go out with because they seemed (no offense here)
to have less "personality" than Western women.
As a whole (and this generalization is true), Japanese
women have a much smaller field of interests than Western
women. I like my women to be interested in everything
and anything, from physics to role-playing games. From
Neurobiology to philosophy. But a woman like that is
hard to find here and the pool of Western women over
here is a little thin. I was thinking I would just wait
til I got back to civilization before seriously dating
anyone again... and God knows it took me long enough
to get over my x-girlfriend (who was just about everything
I ever wanted in a girl, you don't get over that too
easily). But then I met Aya.
the daughter of a teacher at one of my schools and her
mother got my email address and gave it to her daughter
so she could practice her English. That's how it started
off. Just email. Then we'd meet. Then it was dinner.
Then it was shiatsu massages. Then before I knew it,
we were dating.
didn't want to go out with her at first. I didn't think
we had enough in common. I still don't think we do.
But she's terrific. Pretty (if you want to see pictures,
you got to join the Notify
List!), brilliant, travels incessantly. She has
two jobs going just to earn money to travel. She's 21
years old and attending one of the best universities
in Osaka. I really enjoy spending time with her. Sure,
we've had our fights, arguments (about so many things..
existentialism, society, personality...), but we've
always come back with a better understanding of eachother.
several problems, though. Even though her mother is
the one who sort-of introduced us, she can't tell her
that we're dating. If she did, Aya says that she would
make her break up with me. Why, exactly, I can't say.
She's 21 years old. An adult, even by Japanese standards
(but in a society where the children live with their
parents, for sometimes their entire lives, who can say,
right?). As a result, she lies to her mother when she
comes to my apartment to see me. We can't really go
out on evening dates because she has to be back home
by a certain time. We both think we are "boyfriend/girlfriend"
status, but this not being able to go out
with her really bugs the piss out of me.
has a funny concept of what a relationship is supposed
to be like. OK, that's a bit culturally supremacist
there, I know, but check this out. It's perfectly normal
(supposedly) in Japanese society for a couple to see
eachother on a date, but then not see eachother for
a couple weeks. Hurmph. Now this happens in the States
all the time, but not when the young couple live two
or three miles from eachother, right? She thinks it's
kind of strange that I want to see her more often than
once every week or two weeks, especially because both
of us have so much free time. Well, sortof. I keep myself
pretty busy with whatever major project I'm working
on at the time. She says she's busy a lot, but usually
it's a lot of nothing, you know what I mean?
was one of my main concerns before we started dating;
would I still have enough free time to do the things
which need to be done? Wound she be too "high-maintenance"?
The answer, I soon found out, was a resounding "no".
She is so low maintenance that it isn't even funny.
Too low-maintenance for me. Never thought I'd say that.
has been travelling through Australia for the past three
weeks. Visiting friends, big cities, and undoubtedly
having a kick-ass time.
hasn't sent me one single postcard or email.
I ran though all kinds of scenarios in my head... what
if it takes more than two weeks for a postcard to get
from here to there? What if her plane crashed (she was
flying the very infamous Korean Airlines to save money)?
What if..? What if..? What if..? Well, the most likely
situation is that she has just been so busy having fun
and seeing cool things she's never seen before that
she has been to busy to write her boyfriend a postcard.
This is probably standard in Japanese culture... the
Japanese boyfriend would just tell his gf, "Just
give me a call when you get back", or something
like that. She just can't seem to adjust to the more
frequent contact and "need" of the Western
ethos of the relationship.
friends have been telling me to break up with her for
a while now. And they're probably right. Last week I
told myself that I'd break up with her if she went the
whole time she was over there without sending me a postcard
and now her three weeks of vacation are nearly over
and I haven't received one.
I do follow through on this, we'll have "the talk".
I hate that talk. Not that I've had to do it that often,
mind you. I'm usually on the receiving end of the dump.
But it's going to be hard. She'll say that I don't understand
her or her culture (she's said that before) and through
tears and hoarse voice she'll tell me that she'll tell
her mother we're dating and we'll go out as much as
I want from now on... I'm afraid I'll crack. That I
won't have the resolve to do what I think I have to
do. Maybe I'll crack because of the crying. Maybe because
I think it really could be better...
see. She comes back any day now. Maybe it would be better
once we've hashed all this out. But she's known that this
is a serious issue for me and she still hasn't adjusted.