Living in Japan: Dating & Marriage
Be prepared to be disabused, for whatever images you have conjured in your mind about finding love in Japan are certain to be skewed and not realistic, that is unless you’ve lived in the country before and you know the score.
This isn’t to say that you as a foreigner can’t find love in Japan, because some people do indeed have success, but it does mean that you need to ‘clear your mind’ and realize that there is much that is different and much to learn on the subject of love in Japan.
In order to save you from heart-break the tone of this article is rather aggressive.
"I can’t speak Japanese, and my partner can’t speak English"
“Although we can’t communicate, we love each other and that’s what’s important”
If this is what you’re thinking then you are either a) completely blinded by love and are unable to see reality or b) have an IQ level of 30 and are in legally an imbecile.
Relationships like these rarely last long, and are usually short lived. Unless both parties start industriously studying each others’ language and learn to communicate with each other the relationship will be over in less than a month.
How on Earth could you possibly think a relationship can grow, let along stay stable if both parties are not able to communicate? And we don’t mean typing messages in Google Translator, we mean actual relaying of feelings and concepts.
Therefore, for all foreigners, men and women, who seek to find love (and by that we don’t mean one night stands, as you don’t need vocular skills in order to pull off that achievement) you will either have to learn Japanese or you’ll have to find a partner who is capable of speaking good English, and those are few and far between.
Conclusion: Learn Japanese.
Finding the Japanese
Japanese People who Speak English
Guess how many people speak English in Japan? A whopping 0.1% ! That’s around 100,000 people out of the 120,000,000 population, and you can bet a good deal of that .1% are not even Japanese.
So let’s say you’ve already given up learning Japanese and will only settle for an English-speaking partner. Well where do you find English-speaking Japanese?
- Metropolitan Areas. So, find yourself a nice big city.
- Airport Staff. The staff at airports typically speak English, and are often rather pretty, bonus!
- English teachers at schools. Who’d’ve thought!?
With the above list in mind it may appear daunting to find your English-speaking Japanese partner, however you should turn your frown upside down, because since the advent of the Internet you can search out actual groups in cities (again, it must be a large city) that exist solely for the purpose of meeting foreigners. These groups/activities are called ‘meetups’. A quick search on Google or Facebook of ‘tokyo foreigner meetup’ will reveal several groups.
You can also search for ‘language exchange’ or ‘conversation exchange’ to find groups of foreigners and Japanese who meet together to chat and work on their language skills.
Piece of cake! Now you’ve not only selected out people who probably speak some level of English, but people who also are interested in foreigners! Pat yourself on the back for killing two birds with one stone.
Dating the Japanese
So by this time you have found yourself a Japanese which you like and he or she seems to like you. So what do you do now?
First, it is important to identify your goals and the goals of your partner. Do you want a one night stand or something more meaningful. It is important to establish this early on.
Rule: If your Japanese person of interest (be it male or female) is rather attractive and dresses very stylishly, or a just little bit sexy or is the least bit ‘touchy feely’, then there is a very very good chance that he or she is ‘loose’ and is only looking for some casual sex. Whether this is good or not depends on what you’re looking for.
Aside from the man-whores and sluts, the Japanese take sex and relationships very seriously so if you want to have a successful long term relationship with a Japanese it is necessary that you follow some rules:
Rule (men): Before you kiss or try anything physical you must communicate your feelings. You would say something like: “I like you, and I think you’re lovely”
Rule (women): Don’t be touchy feely with him, as he’ll think you’re a whore and just after his trouser snake. The same rules still apply in Japan, the men must make the first move, and the women must first give him the ‘sign’ that she is interested.
Rule (both): Don’t be fast. Give your partner several dates in order to start developing & showing feelings for you.
Rule (both): Get you and your partner tested. This if for your protection. While Japan only has around 10,000 people infected with HIV (which is low), their lifestyle choices and behavior are rather reckless as the believe only foreigners have HIV, they themselves will not get tested and will not use condoms. Therefore, be safe and get a free HIV test done at a clinic.
Warning: If your partner (Japanese male) insists (emphasis on insists) on not using a condom, be warned that he is a player.
Rule (men): Control yourself. Japanese girls are notoriously easy (for various reasons including the cultural subservience to men), and if you put enough pressure on them they will give it up. So show them some respect and wait until the moment is right for both of you.
Rule (women): Depending on his Job, he will put it ahead of you and you will see very little of him. This is true of Japanese businessmen. However, if his job is at a convenience store then you shouldn’t have this problem, but you should be aware of it, as it is part of their culture.
Rule (men): Don’t get upset and insist that she shave her junk. To the Japanese, shaving the ‘hair down there’ is considered very uncool, and has the connotation of being like a child.
Rule (both): Don’t count on the phrase ‘I love you’ to have the same weight that it does in the West. It is no longer the end-all of your arsenal. Instead you’ll have to come up with something more lengthy and creative to describe your feelings, such as: “I want to be with you for the rest of my life, etc etc etc”
Rule (both): Splitting the bill on a date is perfectly acceptable in Japan.
Rule (men): If your Japanese girl lets you sleep over at her house while you are still only friends she may be a whore.
Warning: Japanese men are known to be controlling and like subservient women. So be aware of this early on and know very your partners temperament well before you even think about getting married. They also have a terrible time admitting their feelings or communicating their emotions, as this is against their cultural mores.
Warning: Japanese women are notorious for lying, concealing their real feelings and tolerating relationships which they are not happy to be in, which then leads to cheating (this is also true of Japanese men). This fear of speaking up is part of their cultural upbringing. You must go the extra length to find out how they really feel.
Marrying the Japanese
Depending on your mate (if you’re a female), your Japanese husband may expect you to quit your job and become a house wife should you get married. This is something you should discuss before you tie the not, obviously.
And the same goes for men, many women will expect that once they are married that they will just stay at home all day. However in this modern and evolving society, women are leaning more towards having careers than wanting to sit at home all day.
The average number of children per family is one in Japan. So if you are one of those types who wants to have a child farm then you’ll have to work that out with your partner. It is also not uncommon for Japanese to not even have children. Many want to focus on their work.
If you’ve made it this far then you are to be commended for your endurance and apparent saint like qualities in tolerating and understanding your partner. It takes a very understanding, determined and giving person to be able to bridge the gap between these to very different societies; and indeed there is MUCH more to understand and learn that was listed in this article. Consider this text as a collection warnings, focusing on the difficulties of said relationships.