What I have learnt from dating a Japanese guy?

Dating has been quite hard for most of us especially when living in a foreign country. You have to deal with culture differences and sometimes get a bit stressed with language barrier. Certainly, there are number of reasons to be skeptical about when it comes to dating – but not for me.

When I first landed a job in Japan last year it never came to my mind that I would be dating a Japanese guy. Probably because I’ve read some unfortunate stories about it. When you read these stories most likely you will start making prejudices. But along the way, these prejudices change. We learn to accept and understand these differences equally with ours. So, what’s it really like dating a Japanese guy?

Why is he not talking much?

How I met him was primarily through an online language app recommended by a previous Japanese student. Our first month of communication was focused on him, improving his English and me, learning the basics of Japanese language (which I’m still doing in slow progress now). This was originally how things went as specified by our goal of using the app. To cut the story short, a month has passed we decided to meet each other.

First impression, shy.

I’m talkative by nature so meeting him was like, oh my this is going to be fun! There wasn’t really much to talk at that time since we have talked on the phone before meeting up. Most Japanese men are timid and less talkative when meeting non-Japanese women. They get intimidated with the aggressiveness of most foreign women. Thus, don’t expect him to be as chatty as you. So, the entire conversation we had was like an interview, which is normal for me (being a teacher). I asked questions, he answered. He asked I answered. But that changed gradually as we progressed into being a couple within a few months of dating. He’s got the unique humor I couldn’t resist (mostly silly stuff though). Pretty much the quality I like most about him.

Initially, Japanese men are shy because of their conservative culture so they are often quiet and reserved but they vary the moment they get to know you. So I guess we just have to give them time. Never take it too personally.

Why is he not holding my hand?

For most non-Japanese women, holding your boyfriend’s hand gives that feeling of security and pride of having a partner. For most Westerners this is acceptable and practiced with no judgement. But what if your partner seems not to give a damn on displaying his affection to you?

I definitely have my own share of disappointment on this at first. I asked myself many questions which didn’t help either. It is one big truth that Japanese aren’t the type who will show their affection through physical contact in public. Like when he often walked ahead of me like I didn’t exist together with him. It was annoying. I’m not that clingy on him but girls we love our boyfriends holding our hands on public, right? Of course, I talked about it with my boyfriend and I realize that it’s socially shameful to hug your partner and kiss each other publicly. Holding hands isn’t a big deal here though.You just don’t have to do it too much wherein it attracts people’s attention. In our case, he never hesitated to hug me after discussing the matter to him and managed to steal kisses when he wants to (which is exciting). Sometimes this cultural difference on P.D.A.(public display of affection) triggers arguments which may affect your relationship.
It’s only a matter of discussing and coming up with ways to compromise the differences.

Lesson : Communicate it and never assume.

Am I not his priority?

Japanese are the most hardworking people I know so they value their job more than anything else (literally). They live their life solely on working each day. An inevitable fact that I have to accept. I was indignant at this of course. Imagine only seeing your boyfriend once a week knowing you both live in the same city. However, I never hesitate talking this matter to him which made me comprehend on the struggle he has to deal with too.

Some of this working duties he does involve drinking which may conclude late at night. So, instead of attacking him with thousands of hate messages or perhaps break up messages (which he may just ignore for sure), just sleep.

Best thing to do, be patient and wait.

Who should pay?

It is standard nowadays that both partners pay their equal share of the bill. However, for some Japanese men, they tend to pay everything (quite a generous gentleman) which I personally don’t like. It is really not a problem to be generous to your partner but once you become a couple, it is likely also to split the bill especially when both of you are working. I guess all of us are saving, aren’t we?

With this, my boyfriend understands. We often have Dutch pay which is fair enough for me. We get to enjoy meals and dates without worrying on who will pay. No elaboration required.

Please listen to me!

Relationships isn’t as exciting as it may seem without arguments. For most Westerners arguments usually involves aggressive talks often in a nagging way.
I tend to express my emotion straight away which somehow made my boyfriend tired. He usually prefers to talk things out when I’m less emotional which irritates me knowing that I’ve reserved energy telling him all of my feelings. I learned that lesson the hard way recently. We had this argument on not being able to spend much time with each other on weekends. Of course, I burst out! But he was always calm which made me wonder if whether or not he’s ignoring me again. Unfortunately, I did too much again. One thing I admire about my boyfriend is the level of patience he has on me. I’m a bit of a stubborn at times but he always made sure that I realize my flaws before the day ends.

He’s right about it. Never let your emotion overpower your mind. They may ignore you but deep inside they care. Only that it has to be expressed in a calm way.

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