February 22, 2004

nice to meet you, i love you

I've been drinking too much recently. For the past eight nights, I've been inebriated for seven of them. Alright, besides me and my recent habitual drunkedness, it's nice to see some great discussions going on in the comments. That said, Jenn (the one in Taiwan, not the one in New Zealand) recently had thoughts and wonders about Japanese relationships in my last post:

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").

Folks who watch too much anime *cough* may be familiar with this image: a girl and a guy standing under sakura trees and the guy gives his confession to the girl. The confession being that he loves (erg, loaded word) the girl. (At this point, usually, in the anime the guy gets rejected, hehe) Or, it can sometimes be the girl making her confession.

I don't think they're actually saying that they love each other when they make their confessions, however. In Japanese, they're saying something like: あなたのことがすき (anata no koto ga suki), which translates directly to "I like you." But some things get (here we go again!) lost in translation because "I like you" in Japanese means more than just the "I like you" in English. I'd say that in Japanese, it's something equivalent to the place between "I like you" and "I love you." Stronger than your typical like but not exactly (but maybe close to) love. So, this is what Jenn's friend, Eiko, may be meaning by Love.

Now, back to the matter at hand. I get the impression that platonic relationships are very new things in Japan. In the city, it may be more common that girls and guys are friends. (I really have to emphasize how this is speculation with educated guesses on my part, since I've only been here for 5 months!) I've found that girls from the countryside or conservative girls are less likely to have guy friends. These are the kinds of girls who would find a guy attractive and make her confession to a guy she likes. Maybe Eiko is from the countryside?


In response to your post on my page, Samster does rock. If Golden retreivers were cats he'd be one. His personality is that good.

Of course I know you are talking about something else, but during WWII it was common for people to meet and marry, (say I love you etc) in one night. In fact my Mom's cousin did that and they stayed married forever.

re: the drinking. Well, my friend Jen (not the NZ one, another one) were just talking about how we went through a boozing phase when we were like your age and both knew we were sowing our oats and it was just that, a phase. So I wouldn't sweat it, but it's also normal
to start to question it (especially if you don't feel good!)
Man now I get 3 day hang overs at this point in my life. Arghh, so I would be dead if I did 7 days.

#48 - Posted by: carol at February 22, 2004 04:36 PM

Yeah, actually, I think she is from the countryside somewhere.

How can Japanese girls like Japanese men??? My question is how the hell Taiwanese women get with Taiwanese men. Now Taiwanese men, my friend, are Wusses, with a capital W. Its mind-boggling.

Are you starting to dress like the Japanese? The young people here supposedly dress like the young Japanese..and from what is looks like, the '80s is IN. Long, loose necklines, tight pants, mullets...*shudder shudder*.

#49 - Posted by: Jenn at February 22, 2004 05:19 PM


That's really interesting about people during WWII. I wonder when dating as we know it now in US was formed. I'd think that maybe the roots of the current ways of dating started around the 20's when kids started rolling around in cars (and... making them jump up down *wink*). Hmm!

As for my drinking, all the drinking and partying started taking a toll on my body (not to mention my wallet!). I'm 8 for 10 for drinking nights now. I don't get crazy dumbfoundingly drunk, though (erg, except for one of those nights...), and I'm not really worried or anysuch. I'm just having lots of great fun! I just kind of need to roll into a bit of time of sitting and reading again too; kind of lost a schedule of normalcy recently.

Hey, and I'm getting back into learning some more bboying (breakdancing) now, so I can prepare for the next club I'm gonna hit! :)

#52 - Posted by: Ivan at February 23, 2004 11:39 PM


Oh-ho-ho! You've delved into topics that I thought of a lot in my first few months here.

I think Japanese girls learn to like men who are weak. This is a theory of mine, however. I don't meet too many guys who are very self-confident, and there seem to be many more girls than guys who've got some kind of gut and gusto to them. Watching TV, girls seem to get suddenly attracted to guys who are fragile or in a weak state. The girl comes in to help him, feeling sorry, and works her motherly role--tada! she falls for the guy and there's cheesy happiness with flying colors. (I can go on and on about this topic...)

I haven't started dressing like Japanese. I haven't gotten any new clothes here (yet!). My hair does grow longer than I usually keep it, though, but that's for both monetary and lethargic reasons. It's a hassle to go to the salon cause I have to describe how I want my hair cut, and they always think I want that strange lion's mane cut or some kind of weird spikey thing. I just want my badass Ivan haircut dammit!

But, yea, guys dress pretty pathetically here, I think. I'm not really one to speak, though, since I've never regarded myself as a highly fashionable guy. And I really can't stand the 80's Bon Jovi haircuts all the guys have. Like I said before, it's a freakin' lion's mane!

For people who don't know what I'm talking about, Japan Today has some pictures of guys on their survey pages: these two fellows on the top of this page are how most guys look on the streets.

The girls, though... I have no problems with the way they dress around here. ;P

#53 - Posted by: Ivan at February 24, 2004 12:19 AM

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