Love and Relationships: Lonely Planet

Dating is an experience like no other. Everyone likes how they feel whenever they are dating. The anticipation, the first kiss, shopping for the perfect outfit, the restaurant choice, the first ‘’first’’, talking about the dates with your friends, evaluating your date with your friends, and the weeks of butterflies that fill your stomach every time you receive an email/text/SMS from him/her. Who wouldn’t?

With this in mind, recently I have been bombarded with quite a few friends who have not been in the dating game for some time, but however have been forced to take cover on the ‘’reserve’’ bench waiting for the coach (Cupid) to call their names to run into ‘’play’’.  And what made me put my strawberry milkshake down, fold my arms and really think about this was the fact that these friends are attractive, educated, have some sort of Japanese ability, are both straight and gay, and are foreigners. After taking a good gulp of strawberry shake, many questions started to strut through my mind, some of which I have no answers for. Is it that it’s impossible for foreigners to date in Japan? Is it that Japanese are afraid to date foreigners? Are foreigners afraid to date each other? Why is it that it’s easier for a straight foreign guy to land a date than girls? Why are so many foreigners (who have gone through the stress of learning the language) still left date-less and distressed after being in Japan for so long? Why are Japanese men so afraid to approach a girl and ask her out? Why is it that when a girl asks out a Japanese guy he says he is ‘busy’?

With a half cup of strawberry milkshake left, I was determined to get answers, so I went to the source: my gaikoku-jin friends indeed. After several interviews, testimonials and semi-counseling sessions [and now I need to talk to Dr. Phil and Oprah], it was clear that there is an EPIDEMIC: Distressed foreigners at the end of their ropes.

My fabulous gaikoku-jin girls complained that even after studying Japanese and being able to speak it, it is very difficult for them to land a guy. At first, they assumed that the Japanese guys were afraid to speak to them because they (the Japanese men) do not speak English, but then they soon realized that that wasn’t the issue. While reassuring my friends that they are fabulous and attractive and they shouldn’t feel bad, they expressed to me that back in their home-countries they are not accustomed to approaching guys (as guys back-home would be chasing after them), but since coming to Japan and realizing that men here do not approach women, they (the girls) have decided to be the ‘’approach-er’’ and see if that would yield them a good ‘catch’. Well, needless to say the ‘fish basket’ is still empty and no one has bitten the bait yet. As attractive, educated, and international as these girls are, it lead me to wonder, what are Japanese guys looking for?

Then it dawned on me (still drinking my milkshake), maybe they are just not into foreign girls and would rather date their own-kind: and that’s perfectly ok! So, I suggested to my friends that they should seek refuge in the land of the ‘’gaikoku-jin’’ boys. This was where another shocker hit me. According to my very reliable friends, my own observations and Facebook (and you know that Facebook never lies), the foreign men are not so keen on dating other foreign girls, but have opted to date Japanese girls.

To my friends, this is like a slap in the face, a grenade in your pocket and vomit in your lunch box. But it’s all good: it’s a level playing ground and all is fair in love and war. With not much milkshake left, I decided to add some vodka (to settle my nerves) and make it into a cocktail, just to deal with all this information. Well, you heard here first: Foreign guys are into Japanese girls, big time! But do you blame them? (YES!) – Who wouldn’t like a girl who laughs at everything you say, wears Mickey-mouse hair bows, sports fake eye-lashes and never leaves home without tights? So, after taking all that into my pipe to smoke it, I am left speechless. Cupid has flown the coop and left our dear foreign girls to ‘die’.

So, after realizing that the milkshake won’t cut it and I would need a stronger drink to deal with the ‘’interviews’’, I switched over to vodka based cocktails and then called up the boys (gay) to hear their side of the story. Well, the guys are not in as bad a position as the girls (well, depends on how you look at it), but still not in the best position. It would seem to me that the active gays (tops) are the ones who are having an easier time on the lonely planet, than the passive gays (bottoms): And this just opened up a whole new can of worms (see my next article for that).

But even though these guys don’t speak Japanese and are getting some sort of ‘’action’’, it still lacks the ‘’za-za-zu’’ of typical dating, in that the Japanese guys (gay) are not willing to date the foreign guys, but however will take part in one-night stands in the blink of an eye. While this might be fantastic and oh so fabulous for some of the guys for some time, most of the guys are still looking for that special ‘one’; the one who they want to build a lasting relationship with and share special moments. While the lonely planet might be lit on a Saturday night, and even a few bright stars might fall, the remainder of the week serves a cold, lonely plate of bitterness as the guys (foreign) try to contact the Japanese guys for a cup of coffee, a bowl of ramen, a cone of ice-cream or just merely socializing. Just another failed attempt at dating on this oh-so lonely planet.

As I leave my apartment to go to the supermarket to fetch a fresh bottle of vodka (I ran out….), I ponder, are we as foreigners missing something? Is there a pamphlet/manual we failed to get at immigration? What else can we do? I, for one, have taken a personal resolution and have made peace with Cupid/karma/destiny. Their loss! I am fabulous!

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One Comment

  1. I totally agree with this, japanese gay men would rather have a one time thing than dating, but that’s probably because we’re not japanese.

    I think they only see us to be worth a shot like a sample test but they don’t see having a future with a foreigner.

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