Hello there, this is Satoru Yamagishi. I hope you are doing well.
In recent years many Western girls have been taken over by Asian, and in particular Japanese men. They are handsome, kind and… well, let’s be honest, the anime and drama culture has kind of made them the fantasy for many. If you manage to land a Japanese man you might start thinking that you are quite lucky, and you are most probably right. But this doesn’t mean that having a Japanese boyfriend or Japanese sugar daddy won’t be coming with a package of cultural surprises. In this post we will go over a list five of such common cultural shocks that come with dating a Japanese man. Just so you can compare the differences from ‘regular’ dating and the all new alternative ‘sugar dating’.
The initial confession and the actual lack of saying “I love you”
Unlike Western countries, where couples tend to develop after going to a few dates and tasting the waters, in Japan as well as in many other Asian countries, a pair establishes themselves as a couple after a dramatic kokuhaku – confession. Though girls in Japan also tend to confess to the boys of their dreams, usually the ones who make the move in Japan are the guys.
Now you’d think that when a guy confessed to you, tried to ask you out and all, he is going to be telling you how much he loves you all of the time. Sounds nice doesn’t it? Well, unluckily for you this is not the case with a majority of Japanese men. While the words ‘suki desu’ which can be roughly translated to ‘I like you’, you will rarely get to hear ‘aishiteru’ which stands for ‘I love you’.
While in Western cultures we tend to express our feelings quite often, be ready for your Japanese boyfriend not announcing his love for you to the rest of the world as often!
Oh, and public expressions of affection? Forget about that too! Japanese people are too shy and find it very rude to do all of the hugging and kissing in front of other people! The culture is all about respect, after all.
Meeting each other’s families
Now let’s say you have a long running Japanese boyfriend. If your Japanese boyfriend doesn’t want to introduce you to his parents and family after years of dating, then he has no intention of marrying you. Now this might stand true for Western cultures too, but we can put it into perspective. In Europe and the US, there are many couples who get along with each other’s parents even if there is no plans or intentions of marrying in the near future or whatsoever.
In Japan though, the introduction process happens mostly if the guy is indeed planning to marry you, or has already made a proposal. Of course, this isn’t an absolute rule, but is still more common than you’d expect.
Now, the next thing connected to meeting each other’s families that can be quite shocking for Westerners is that couples can easily end their relationships just because the parents are against the marriage. And some of those reasons might just sound ridiculous to you. It’s not just because ‘the girl is a foreigner’ but also something like ‘when she changes her surname the number of strokes it will take to write her new name is an unlucky number’… That’s Japan for you!
Having a good relationship with your Japanese boyfriend’s family
While the above mentioned is true and quite common even in modern Japan, with times changing the parents of your future husband may also treat you really nice! They will invite you for dinners almost once a month, will pay for you, give you some nice food to take home with you and just be really sweet to you in general.
This, obviously is a really good thing, but one quite shocking incentive of dating a Japanese man’s family is the fact that they will give you okozukai pretty much every time you meet. Now let’s discuss what this okozukai is: it normally translates to ‘pocket money’ or ‘allowance’ and is something kids get from their parents or grandparents as a gift on New Years and so on. Honestly, receiving money even from your own family members is usually something difficult.
The first time you meet your Japanese boyfriend’s father he may give you okozukai in exchange for taking good care of his son. While it is really nice and sweet, it’s definitely not something that would happen in a Western setting.
The key factor here is that if you refuse to take the money you may offend them, so take it without resistance and say your thanks to avoid any inconveniences.
Holidays in Japan
Now here in Japan some holidays have a bit of a different meaning to what we are used to in the West. For example, Christmas is the big date night for any and every couple. While in the West we might associate Christmas with family gatherings and dinners and well, Jesus, in Japan it’s all about love! During Christmas season, the cities in Japan get decorated with illuminations. Those also serve as some of the most popular date spots.
Up next is Valentine’s Day in Japan, which is a day when girls give their homemade chocolate to the guys they like and make a confession, kokuhaku, and even ask the guys out on a date!
Typically guys don’t do anything on Valentine’s day. Instead in return they give chocolate to the girls they originally got chocolate from on March 14th, the so called White Day.
Ladies first… or not?
Okay, so if you’re from Europe or the States, you have been brought up in a culture which respects the idea of ‘ladies first’. Before coming to Japan you are used to guys holding the door for you, opening the door of a car and letting you take your seat first, helping you take your seat on a chair in a restaurant and finally insisting on paying the bill.
Now when you come to Japan and started dating with a Japanese boyfriend you may notice that he will may never do the above mentioned. It can be a bit shocking in the beginning.
Culture shock is something that will happen to any and every international couple. It doesn’t matter where you are from or how long you’ve been dating, it is bound to happen at some point. In this respect, if you prefer to not deal with some of the mentioned ‘cultural differences’ above then there is always the option of going down the ‘sugar dating’ route. Where all expectations are set from the beginning. Whatever way you want to try dating in Japan, make sure you get what you want out of it!
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