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February 20, 2004




drop him on a dime

The most recent Quote Of The Day on Japan Today by "Divorcee Kari Nikaido, 28, who says she has four boyfriends and is not missing married life one bit. (Spa!)":

"I don't want to worry about anybody else and if I fight with one guy, I know I can go to another guy to make me feel better."

And then a comment on it by reader, Snow:
this kari sounds like she's found something that works for her, which is great. i wonder why she wouldn't want to solve the underlying problems that cause fights rather than treat the fights themselves as the problems, though.

And here is where I say stuff. Japanese girls won't discuss things; they'll just drop a guy in a second, not contact him again, and the poor guy won't have a clue what happened. I speak both from (*gulp*) personal experience and discussion with friends. That being said, I've also chatted with Japanese girls who don't think it happens as well. However, there's still the aspect of discussing about the relationship that seems absent with Japanese couples. This phenomenon (or lack thereof) was even discussed in a former television drama aired on NHK titled Sakura. Girl doesn't express grievances, girl gets fed up, girl leaves without notice.

I'm still not sure, however, if this is just or mainly the situation between inter-cultural relationships. Linking back to the L-word article at the Japan Times, a quote about this Japanese girl cold ditching can be found:

She stopped taking Gregory's calls or answering his e-mails and just "dropped the whole thing, because he probably wouldn't understand if I told him what the problem is."

Dude can't even get a clue about what he did wrong, and he won't know anything about how to fix it for the next relationship either. Man, that's some messed up shit.

Comments

My mom and dad weren't americanized yet when I was growing up, so I can partially understand what the culture difference is. My parents didn't really have too many long talks with me when I did something wrong, instead just punishing me rather quickly and letting me mull over my mistake. So perhaps japanese girls grow up without the concept of talking it over.

Another way to look at it is that the mistake is so obvious to the girl that she feels it doesn't need explaining. The only analogy I can think of is that perhaps you're dating someone who eats everything without his hands (like a dog). It's so obviously wrong that you probably will forget trying to reform him and just get the hell out of there.

#35 - Posted by: Andy at February 21, 2004 02:51 AM

It's pretty common over here too, my parents were very passive aggressive "If you don't know I am not going ot tell you" in conflict and then walk away, and ended up divorced. I try try not to be like that, but it was the way we were brought up. I hate to say it but women in general are sometimes that way, I note men are more apt to drop stuff and move on. I have been struggling as of late with a friend who won't drop stuff that mutual friends did pretty long ago.

#36 - Posted by: Carol at February 21, 2004 03:06 AM

Andy,

Hey, I never thought about it that way. My thinking was maybe it's because dating is a relatively new phenomenon, so this way of "dealing" with problems developed in its own Japanese way.

Hmm, I'll have to contemplate about your theory over coffee.

#38 - Posted by: Ivan at February 21, 2004 04:26 AM

Carol,

The thing is, guys don't know there's a conflict cause they're never told. The guy thinks he's in a nice happy relationship, thinking he wants to spend a nice Friday night with a girl, calls her up a few times, and gets no response... except maybe a small email saying, "I won't see you again."

Do Americans do this too?

I admit that I'm not an authority on American dating patterns, so I may be prejudging Japanese too quickly on this matter.

#39 - Posted by: Ivan at February 21, 2004 04:31 AM

American's are passive aggressive big time. I think mostly the older generations.

#40 - Posted by: at February 21, 2004 09:14 AM

Oh yes, Ivan. Americans do it too. American men, specifically. Okay, before Andrew jumps all over me, SOME American men. And (GULP), I speak from experience.

I think Andrew has it right. Its so obvious for That Person that Its Not Going To Work, that its gotta mutual, so a discussion over Something That's Barely Even Begun to Get Serious (for them, anyway) is ridiculous.

OR, maybe its the Power Thang (remember that? I got that from you a little over a year ago with my last mess). Its easier for the gal to ditch a guy that she kinda-sorta-likes-but-not-really when the guy is enamoured in her more than she is with him. She's got the power (so to speak) and drops it. This goes both ways.

Or maybe she's just a player. Who the fuck knows.

I'm wired on caffiene right now and can't think that straight, so I reserve the right to amend stuff that I typed up above when my head clears up. Actually, waiting for the head to normalize won't help. Its a perpetual enigma in any state of mind.


#41 - Posted by: Jenn at February 22, 2004 01:40 AM

I forget. Do you have any cool Japanese girl-friends that you can ask?

There are a lot of Japanese women at my school. Almost all of them are married to Taiwanese men.

A former Japanese classmate Eiko was discussing relationships with my ABC classmate Jiaying. Apparently, you say "I Love You", like, when you first lay eyes on the person (or something crazy early on, like that). Jiaying, of course, was aghast. Shit like that would scare any other guy the other way. Eiko says, "If you don't say it, how do you know when its time to tan(2) lian(4) ai(4)?" (which basically means, "courtship"..or more literally "to discuss & read love").

How interesting. There's the pre-dating before the actual Dating. Is it really like that over there?

I should get down to the bottom of what its like with the Taiwanese. I should go make some more Taiwanese friends who date and can tell me things.

#42 - Posted by: Jenn at February 22, 2004 01:56 AM

Hey, how come my little description of TanLianAi didn't appear?

It basically means "courtship". The literal translation is "discussing & reading love".

#43 - Posted by: Jenn at February 22, 2004 01:58 AM

Why would I jump over you about American men? I defend men in general, not just Americans =P

But men do that too, it's obvious. It's all over TV shows too now that I think about it. There was just a Friends episode recently where Joey went on one date with Phoebe's friend and said he wouldn't even call her the next day because she took food off his plate. And Seinfeld was just full of this dating dropping stuff.

If I think about it, men don't do it because they don't like confrontations. I know I'd feel weird trying to explain why I'm turning a girl down (while my man ego is supposedly telling myself it's not her fault, i'm irresistable =P j/k). So maybe japanese girls just don't like to turn people down and put it to the extreme of just ignoring the other person.

#44 - Posted by: Andy at February 22, 2004 06:13 AM

Woah, I get drunk and pass out at my friend's place for one night and the discussion takes off from a jog to a run! Good job, guys. :)

Now, as for my responses. Let's start with the loquacious :) Jenn:

Its easier for the gal to ditch a guy that she kinda-sorta-likes-but-not-really when the guy is enamoured in her more than she is with him. She's got the power (so to speak) and drops it.

This is actually the case with one girl I know here. She was told me that she was going to break up with her boyfriend soon, and I asked why. Her answer was that she didn't love him as much as he loved her. I'd say that The Power works differently here, though: he had no power over her... (this goes into a different discussion about how I can't figure out how the hell Japanese girls can like Japanese guys cause the men are such wusses)

And your question:

Do you have any cool Japanese girl-friends that you can ask?

I do. I think I've been asking the wrong questions to them, though. I need to ask them more about whether they discuss greivances with their boyfriends (not just about whether they drop dudes out of the blue).

A response to your other inquiry about "I Love You" warrants its own discussion! See the next entry for more on that. But, keep reading here for the rest of my responses to this discussion!

(P.S., the reason your explanation didn't show up was because you used the left and right-arrow characters, which can cause trouble with formatting. I've edited your comment so it uses parentheses instead.)

#45 - Posted by: Ivan at February 22, 2004 02:04 PM

And now for my rebuttal to Andy :)

If I think about it, men don't do it because they don't like confrontations. I know I'd feel weird trying to explain why I'm turning a girl down. So maybe japanese girls just don't like to turn people down and put it to the extreme of just ignoring the other person.

First, I've got to say that Seinfeld has got to be one of the best TV shows of all time. Second, I think I agree with you here about the Japanese girls.

#46 - Posted by: Ivan at February 22, 2004 02:42 PM
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