Monday, September 18, 2006

Why I Couldn't Date A Japanese Woman

When the idea of travelling to Japan to teach English rolled its way into my brain, I truly questioned a lot of things about what my life would become. Then when the job was confirmed I began telling people about it and they had their own advice and opinions to give. While almost all of it held different kernels of knowledge and advice there was one comment that seemed to be consistent throughout: "You are going to go over there and come back married to a little Japanese girl." This comment varied from person to person with slight changes in desire, such as "You better not go over there and get married" but the message was very much the same. While back in Canada I never really thought about it. I was more focused on the trip and the sightseeing and the language, not the women. But now that I am here and settled into work and my neighbourhood I've thought a bit about this subject. The answer became quite clear the other day...there is no way in hell I could date a Japanese girl. Let me tell you why.

Don't get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with Japanese women. It's like any other country: you have all different varieties. And it seems that the consensus on what would happen to English-speaking gaijin (means foreigner) living in Japan is very true. The majority of the older male teachers have Japanese wives and girlfriends. So there is a reason why people have constantly commented on this. But luckily I'm very aware of it and I have the ability to look at the situation objectively. It was two days ago when this epiphany struck me so suddenly that I mentally stopped all other thought processes and focused in on this one little nugget of reasoning. And now here we are; I'm sitting at my laptop now writing this entry. So please, read on and try to understand the logic that is Don.

Two days ago I met up with my roommate, Andrew, in downtown Yokohama after work. He called and asked if I wanted to see a movie with him and a friend. Not having seen a movie in the theatre for well over a month now I felt the pangs of withdrawl swell in my brain, urging me to spend whatever amount was necessary to see any shit American film playing. I naturally said yes and met up with him in front of The Diamond, a massive underground mall inthe center of downtown Yokohama. With him was this little Japanese girl who I would later learn works at Andrew's NOVA branch as a receptionist. Andrew had talked a bit about her and I thought that it was odd to ask me along if he wanted to hang out with her. But that's neither here nor there so I tagged along and we looked for a theatre. And it was here that I began the observation of how a fluent gaijin communicates with a somewhat fluent Japanese girl.

First of all, this girl was not bad at speaking English. She was in the U.S. for a couple of years taking communications in West Virginia so she has some knowledge of English. But it's a limited, non-Native Speaker knowledge that will forever restrict her from being absolutely fluent. And though it was easy enough to have simple conversations with her, there was always that pause and questioning whether she had the right words or not. While she struggled with words or longer sentences I wanted to assist her like we were in a classroom and I was teaching. It felt like we were in a lesson and that is just a feeling that I couldn't deal with. Imagine trying to teach 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Not to think about the reverse of that as well. I'm not even close to competent with my Japanese. It's a good way to learn, I'm sure, but the frustration would kill me.

Another reason is simple enough: the investment of cost and time is way too much. It sounds a tad shallow because it is. I'm here because I want to be here, not because I want to find a Japanese girl and hunker down for life. Please. I'm here to say that I was here, I lived in Japan, I saw the sights and taught English. If I were to get attached, I'm not able to focus on me 100%, which is something you have to do that first time in a new, completely foreign country. And not only is it a time factor but it's a cost factor as well. The cost of living is fairly high if you are being extravagant and ritzy. I'm doing well because I get by with cheap food and simple, cheap entertainment. The most money I spend is on transportation and beer. If there was a girl involved there's just so much more expenses: food for two, transportation, entertainment, anything and everything becomes doubled. I'm cutting my Japanese experience in half to pay for someone else. That's just not gonna happen.

There's one final point that I would like to stress: attachment to Canada. I love Canada, I miss Canada and I want to return to Canada when all of this is over. While you may be saying "You can bring your girlfriend with you" there's always that possibility that she would not go and would want me to stay in Japan. I know already that that is just not going to happen. I may consider a second year here after this one but that will probably be it. It's a great country but it's got nothing on Canada. I also wouldn't want to take a Japanese woman away from her family and home country to emigrate with me. Seems a bit much to ask someone, if you ask me.

I know I write this now and that I still have another 11 1/2 months ahead of me but I'm fairly resolute when it comes to this idea. Dating a Japanese woman is just something that I could not be bothered with. I'm more likely to date a fellow English teacher than a Japanese girl, but even that is looking pretty out-of-the-question considering female teachers are few and far between. So there you have it, Don's reasoning why he cannot date a Japanese woman. I hope you enjoyed this entry! Please, feel free to comment on this subject below.

5 Comments:

At 10:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

...he said, mere days before meeting the "perfect girl" and falling madly in love. Rational considerations such as these are rarely a factor in relationships, my good man.


***

Andrew's Art of Japanese Art #001: Tradional Japanese ethstetics have been describe as sparse, minimal, and empty room. This practice of minimalism and emphasis on a single decoration(placed in an alcove there for just that purpose) dates back to the Edo period. Merchants of that time could not be seen to be too rich or the shoguns would have had them brutally executed. After all, obvious displays of wealth are clear forerunners of open rebellion. A crafty bunch, those shoguns.

Merchants still wishing to display their wealth had homes built in the tradional style, the only change being the incredibly expensive material(rare wood and stone, etc.) used in construction. They would also display, exactly one at a time, the art objects they owned.

Keep this on the down low, the shoguns never found out.

~Andrew
~Andrew

 
At 1:17 PM, Anonymous Jessica said...

...interesting rational Don, I think the main concern in this comment, at least coming from me, was that you would not come home, and in my case I lose my best friend...however as the previous comment suggests if you fall in love then there will be no stopping that train, perhaps you will meet the perfect Japanese girl, who speaks proper English and knows all the cheap yet delightful spots to go on date and loves Canada as much as you do....just a thought...

 
At 11:52 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very interesting fact this entry Andrew! By the sounds of it the Shoguns were not the smartest bunch eh?

~ Jessica

 
At 6:35 PM, Blogger Don Ames said...

Not going to happen folks. Though relationships and love are something that cannot truly be looked at rationally, it is usually when two people are on very similar plains. There's just too much of a difference here, therefore I am able to be very rational and objective. I'm not saying it could never happen, but I'm saying that the likelihood of me dating a Japanese girl is less than me dating a fellow teacher.

 
At 1:03 AM, Anonymous Heidi said...

Don, you crack me up!

 

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