After sumo wrestling, dating and talking about dating is the most popular sport for Japanese women. Considering everything is so private here, I was surprised when I was quizzed about my very (non) eventful lovelife. I often go through the whole explanation, well I’m only here in X,Y,Z for X weeks and I’m leaving then, so there’s no reason to think about any commitment to someone I only half-like. However, making friends is possible. I explained to a Japanese friend of mine that I’ve made friends with a few guys, maybe she would like to meet them. I was rolling into talking about my new male friend, that we went for dinner and clothes shopping together. This is often torture for me in the UK at the grand height of 5"2. It’s wonderful in Japan because I’m the average size. I also consider shopping a torture that girlfriends dish out to their boyfriends when something is not quite right or perhaps flattery is required. The public arena of the changing room is not the best space to answer your girlfriend when she’s fishing for compliments. “Does my bum look big in this?”, and quite rightly the male of the species begins to squirm for the right answer. Does anyone answer, “yes, of course it does”, with the exception of Jamaican men to their beloved.
I normally take the male role of waiting outside the changing rooms and giving opinions on clothes, minus the flattery. I give very straight answers, I’m the human anti-serotone, those who fish for compliments are often sorry. Likewise, I don’t fall over swooning at a compliment, this makes me very difficult and stubborn to catch. I keep a pinch-of-salt on the radar for such occasions.
“Is he your boyfriend?” she asked. “Well he’s really cool and ....... “. But you don’t like his face”, she interjected. I spluttered at her bluntness, she’s Japanese so I didn’t expect it, but the language barrier was the probably the cause of the most accurate sentence I’ve ever heard. She’d managed to beat me at my own skill.
“O.K, who do you like? I found myself trying to retreat from the conversation, (I tried quickly making up a person), but I guessed she’d caught me there. “Well there’s someone attractive to me, but I’m not sure about the personality, so I don’t think about it seriously.” “Ah, it’s very difficult, you should switch the personalities and the bodies of the two men.”
If only I’d thought of that before!