Thursday, November 25, 2010

Japanese Women and Me

For whatever reason, when I go out at night to clubs, etc (which isn't often) Japanese girls seem to be very attracted to my friends and I.  They want to take pictures with us, and exchange phone information.  Very often they are touchy, and sometimes grab my breasts and exclaim that they are large.  This kind of reaction is interesting, but also slightly unwelcome.  I know they don't mean anything by it, so I don't mind and I am friendly, but it makes it difficult to go out and just have fun without garnering a lot of attention for being foreign.

{{  I met these girls the first time I went out.  They were very touchy and wanted to take a ton of pictures  }}

I'm not sure why this is, but from their attitudes towards me, I think that they feel as though Western women are more open about themselves and overtly sexual.  Being kind of shy, this isn't me at all.

One time I met with a friend and we went to meet several Japanese women that she had met.  Their meeting was strange to being with: they rushed her on a train and introduced themselves, then gave her their contact information.  In any case, after meeting with them they suggested that we have a girls night and watch movies and "share our feelings."  They seemed very excited by the prospect.

I think that perhaps my friend and I's label as "American women" (whatever that entails) gave them the assumption that we would be more open to "sharing our feelings" and talking about our real emotions.  This conclusion is just based upon the connotation I felt their words had and the emphasis I've seen in Japanese society on how one really feels versus how one acts in public.

This thought on what one really thinks versus what one shows was further confirmed through a brief conversation with my host mother.  It was in Japanese, but translated it was as follows:

Mom: "Did you see Daichi's principal?  Ah, she is a nun, and she is very mean." 
Me: "Oh really?  She seemed like a nice person ... but I guess I don't know if she actually is or not." 
Mom: "Ah, well, you know, my real feelings are that I think that she is nice.  But because none of the other mothers like her I must say that I don't as well.  Do you understand?"  
I told her that I did, and that was the end of the conversation.  This kind of reaffirmed to me that the overly familiar way in which Japanese women approach me may be because of their own stereotypes concerning the culture I come from.  But then again, I don't really know for sure.

1 comment:

  1. "Very often they are touchy, and sometimes grab my breasts and exclaim that they are large."

    ... Firstly, I love how clinical your description is. Secondly, I have no idea how you managed to deal with that! (I feel like I would've somehow ended up offending someone by asking them to NEVER do that again. ._.)

    The whole deal with the principal is really interesting. It makes me wonder if the other mothers actually believe the principal is mean or if one stated the opinion and it became the popular stated opinion just for the sake of conformity.