Jennifer Gutierrez | Saturday, May 16, 2015 12:15PM JST
Maybe I’m a little crazy, but without that personality most people wouldn’t love me as much as they do. Fine, I’ll come clean. I’m only as crazy as silly is. If that doesn’t make sense to you then find a window, open it and get some fresh air. Now, let’s move onto my topic on dating in Japan minus the crazy part.
Sex and the City
The fictional character, Carrie Bradshaw, was the queen of Sex and the City and a writer at that. She wrote about love, heartbreaks and how it all connected to living in New York City. On the opposite side of the world, let’s say Japan, how does love life affect a woman in her 30s? For one, there is the cultural difference that after three years, I am still trying to get my hands around. Being the stubborn person I am, some of this is tough to swallow. Although this amazing and traditionally rich in culture country has its standards. Western cultures have surely been embedded in Japan through media, but not 100% in the dating area. There is a form of group dating. It is like a mini speed dating, but not really.
A group date takes place at times where about three or four people get together from the opposite sex, adding up to 6 or 8 people sit down and mingle possibly at a restaurant. They find out who has a connection with who. At times, in these dates, they inquire about blood types, professions, and what their working hours are. One of my Japanese friends educated me on this. It is quite technical and in my eyes, a bit scary. However, it works for them. Hey, it's one way of dating! In those dating meetings, if two people are interested in one another, it is common for them to continue dating on their own time.
When dating a Japanese guy, I have realized that when they are into you, they take you out more, show you around many beautiful places, but everything else goes in slow motion as if the world is never going to end. Most people love that because it is a great way to be cautious of one another, truly learn about the other’s personality and allow love to grow for one another. Seeing if that person is the perfect match for you to spend the rest of your life with is significant in assessing at a leisure pace opposed to rushing it and later on regretting having children with someone you never really knew in the first place. However, one person I dated a few years ago took slow pace dating to a level I could not get used to. It meant not kissing, not being intimate, and not having interesting conversations. Yet, he loved spending time with me. He probably just enjoyed the company. It merely consisted of going to restaurants, movies, bars and watching me be the outgoing person that I am with other friends. I preferred to be outgoing with him. He said he was outgoing, but in my eyes, he was shy. It confused me a bit.
Dating can differ slightly or greatly from the west, the USA in particular. This snail pace process not only takes place in Japan, but other parts of Asia as well. In the United States, people could move slowly or be daring and test their chances at another pace. At times, in America, chemistry moves faster than a speeding bullet and that can lead to good or bad outcomes. It all depends on the couple and their connection. There is nothing wrong with the Japanese method or any other for that matter. Personally, I think that it all depends on the person you meet and how fast you want to move mutually. I don't have a special rule I live by. After all, I am a unique Latina.
A Latina in Japan…Yikes!
As a Latina from the Bronx who likes to have control over some situations, Japan can be my playhouse where I can learn and enjoy so many things about people or it can be a hell house if I can’t communicate with those I am attracted to. There can be a downfall to everything. One of my hobbies is enjoying music. I love listening, singing and dancing to music at home. From time to time, I get so into it that I pump up the volume. I have noticed that none of the areas that I have lived in while in Japan has someone played their music loud. I know many Japanese people like music. Nonetheless, playing loud music is definitely not a common feature in this country. It’s a western thing. I imagine if I were dating someone, would they mind me playing my favorite music loud as I clean my home or would they join me?
An Outspoken Woman
Outspoken people aren’t necessarily praised in Japan. It is almost frowned upon. Some men here say that they like an outspoken type of woman, but a majority do not know how to handle it. In Japan, that quality can be intimidating and men may not know what the best way to deal with it is. I have heard that most Japanese women do not argue with their boyfriends or husbands. They pretty much understand each other or ignore situations to avoid confrontations. They do this in order to keep the peace at home. Yet, as the Latina that I am, I like asking questions, figuring out why some things are done and understanding situations to continue building a stronger relationship. I am not afraid to speak and listen. That leads to the key of communicating with one another.
Communication is Key
When in a relationship, communication varies from country to country. As an American, I would say that speaking is key to a healthy relationship. Of course, so is listening and understanding one another. It leaves little or no room for big mistakes. In America, having good conversations and goals about love and life help us move into the direction we want with our partners. In Japan, it seems that talking about feelings may not be as common. Of course, when Japanese people date each other, there may be an air of insight that they may have with one another that a foreigners may not comprehend unless there is stunning chemistry between the two. They communicate with one another, sometimes without words. I actually like verbal and nonverbal forms of communication. It displays how synchronized the couple is with one another. This can happen with any two individual regardless of their backgrounds.
Some Japanese people are interested in being International People. For those who do not get it, it means that they want to learn more about international cultures and do not remain centered on their own culture and beliefs. One of the ways of becoming more of an international person is being open to dating someone from another culture. Learning and teaching with patience is necessary. With love, anything is possible. It helps in knowing how to deal with situations in a way that one did not handle them before. More and more people are interested in becoming International-minded. I have noticed many Japanese women tend to be very open to learning about different cultures. Yet, in the latter couple of years I have lived here, men are stepping up to the plate and showing their interest, too.
Being in Japan and dating someone from a different culture is not only about them appreciating my culture and playing by my rules, after all, I am in their territory. The more I surround myself with Japanese men and learn about their dating culture, their ways and the more I connect with someone who is open to mine as well, the better it would be for us to get to know each other.
What I have learned from living in Japan is not the fact that I merely want to date Japanese men. It has been a learning experience knowing about cultures that span outside of Japan, the US and Latin America. I love learning about people on a global basis. It is a beauty discovering more about individuals and their cultures even when I have not visited their countries You never know who I will end up marrying!