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Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Japanese Men Not So Romantic

You know it's a slow news day when I report that not many Japanese men buy flowers for their wife or girlfriend or mistress.

Did you like that? I slagged Japanese men with that one. Or maybe I slagged Japanese wives or mistressessessesesessesses. I have no idea how to spel that.

Anyhow… Valentine's Day is coming up on February 14. So consider this blog entry a warning.

In the west, it's supposed to be a day where people show their love for each other by gifting with a card, flowers, candy, jewelry. Maybe the guy takes her out to dinner?All of the above.

It seems to be a day when women get something nice. I have no idea what men get out of it. Really, I don't. Sex? Socks? Socks suck.

We men get to show we are romantic? Once a year? Is that what we are being reminded to do because we don't do it enough during the rest of the year?

But… in Japan… Valentine's Day is ass backwards.

In Japan, only the women get into the spirit of Valentine's Day. They are the one's who give out presents on that day, while the men… the men sit on their ass and don't have to put their heart on the line.

It's on March 14 - one month later, that the men can give out valentine's on the manufactured holiday known as White Day. White, because that color - or absence of color - is considered 'pure' - something very important to the Japanese - or so they say.

So… basically, women are the one's who have to buy presents on Valentine's Day, the men receive them and thus see just which woman is treating him nicely… in this manner, the man now knows who likes him and now, on White Day, only has to spend money on the woman or women who gave him a present.

For the men, it's win-win.

The women are the one's doing the hunting and spending and putting their hearts out there to be broken. The men… no risk for them.

And you people wonder why I love Japan.

Okay, one of the reasons was because of the sex, but I also like some of these chauvinistic things because I am a man, and no matter how hard I try, I am a bit chauvinistic. Hey… at least I admit it.
A rose by any other name is probably someone named Juliet. That's a Shakespeare bon mot.
And so… pre-armed with that knowledge, would you be surprised to learn that in Japan, the men don't spend much money on flowers - and certainly not for Valentine's Day?

I'm not surprised. I just explained why they don't. Valentine's Day is NOT when Japanese men need to spend money. Not even on flowers.

My pal Vince sent me an article that complains that "the less romantic in Japan have long complained about Valentine’s Day, saying it is little more than a commercial ploy to sell chocolate during a quiet time of the year for the economy."

Uh… this is hardly a Japanese thing. The less romantic everywhere call Valentine's Day and every other holiday save perhaps Arbor Day, a commercial ploy. Let's not pick on the Japanese here.

However… regardless of the holiday, we can perhaps pick on the Japanese men for not being very romantic at all.

Which… if you are a gaijin (foreigner) male in Japan, this is a good thing, because if you ever wanted to make inroads with a Japanese woman, showing off your romantic side is the best way of doing it.

Women - most women - secretly want to be swept off their feet. They want to feel loved. Why just be a wife or a girlfriend? Why not also be a wife or a girlfriend who is loved, and is respected?

That can be you, gaijin boy.

I used to go all out for Valentine's Day… put my heart out on the line and see if any woman would care to pick it up. In truth, for me, Valentine's Day has always pretty much been a bloody massacre. It's no longer something I even care to participate in after decades of heartbreak.

I can't think of even one time where I felt my heart skip a beat on this date.
I have no idea what to write here,
Anyhow…

Japanese men…

So… because it has been discovered that Japanese men are not very romantic in the gifting of flowers, the Japanese flower industry is looking to change that by using Valentine's Day - NOT White Day - as an opportunity for the fresh-flower industry to turn the day into one where men might give flowers instead of, or even including, standard fare as chocolates or lingerie (that's my dream present to purchase).

The Japanese flower industry would also like to increase its profits, says the less romantic side of me. A rose by any other same would still cost a lot of money.

Interlude: A Rhyming Joke 
Twas in a restaurant that they met
Romeo and Juliet.
He had no cash to pay their debt, 
So Romeo'd what Julie et. 

But still… this is Japan's fresh-cut flower industry looking to eliminate White Day essentially, to get Japanese men to take a chance on a woman one month earlier on Valentine's Day… and to say it with flowers.

Really? Why not at least start with going after the men's pocketbook in anticipation of White Day? Why chose to change the Japanese public's perception of Valentine's Day?

"We’ve been encouraging men to give flowers to their girlfriends and wives. Japanese men hardly buy flowers. By educating them, we can expand our market base," says Ogawa Noriko (surname first), a female florist who manages the long-running campaign called Flower Valentine. She says that about 8,500 (1/3 of the 20,000) Japanese flower shops are promoting the men-giving-flowers-to-women custom, and have been doing so since 2011.

Okay… so how are they promoting this concept? By soccer. And gaijin (foreigners).

On the Flower Valentine website (HERE), it has designated the famous and good-looking Japanese soccer star Miura Kazuyoshi (surname first) as Mr. Flower Valentine.
Mr. Flower Valentine Miura Kazuyoshi, enjoys kicking balls.
It's just my opinion, but maybe you should have created a more masculine moniker. Maybe something like: "Mister Valentine". Or how about something like "Mr. Romantic". You don't HAVE to have the word flower in there. Just ensure that every image of Mr. Romantic has him holding a bouquet of flowers.

Interestingly enough, though the Flower Valentine website is indeed a Japanese one, with the main image at the top (also see the image at the top of this blog) showing a White guy presenting a bouquet of flowers to a gushing White blonde woman with nice legs peeking down below a thigh-high skirt. She sees the flowers and has her hands crossed over her heart. The single bent leg also shows a bit of flutter.

Do foreign people doing things make Japanese people want to copy them? If that were true, then more Japanese men in my town would have been sleeping with more Japanese women. And… loving it.

I used to purchase flowers ever week from my local Iseya department store, which had a florist located there at the Ohtawara-shi, Tochigi-ken location. Every week.

It was for myself - or rather for my apartment - to stinky the place in a nice way. I would arrange the flowers, and on mow than one occasion a Japanese woman would comment on my flower-arranging skills of ikebana (me just put where flower look pretty), and all seemed surprised that:
  1. I, a single guy, had flowers that I purchased myself in my apartment;
  2. arranged the flowers in a tray with a spiked strip at the base rather than use a more standard vase;
  3. actually thought about how the flowers should be presented;
  4. I, a man, would think about ikebana (the Japanese art of flower arranging), because it is a traditional woman's hobby.

I had no idea that buying flowers and arranging them in my apartment was considered a female thing, but since no one thought I was feminine, I suddenly became more intriguing to the women who visited my den of inequity.

Even if someone thought I was effeminate - whatever. I know who I am. That type of sh!t doesn't bother me. Being dumped for guys that appear more masculine - that pisses me off, but then, I can always assume they never knew me in the first place.

Anyhow… as well, once a month or so - or whenever the mood hit me - I would also purchase a special bouquet of flowers - something nice (and more expensive) that I thought my girlfriend or date might like.

To me, purchasing flowers and giving them to your woman means that you, the guy, has actually taken time out of his busy schedule of thinking about food, sex, sports, sleep and sex, to actually think of one particular woman… and that maybe it would be nice to get her something completely unexpected… just because.

"Here, XXXX-chan. I had someone kill these flowers just for you."

Now… the odds are quite good that she will love your thoughtful gift, will hug and kiss you, but you
won't get sex because it's probably that time of the month. It's always that time of the month, I've
found. I really should have kept better track of these things when I was dating.

Oh well… at least the chocolates I bought during that time of the month were always appreciated. I will say, however, that this was where I began to experience less conventional sex - so you see, things do have a way of working out in the end.

Or… if that's not your thing - "floral for oral" (copyright Andrew Joseph, 2014.) Sure… why not say it. You know you are thinking it.
I'd buy that for a dollar! Sorry... I just watched the original RoboCop.
Anyhow… back to the flower-valentine website… it shows a now bespectacled Miura looking kind of sloppy in a box ad located directly below the gaijin advert. He's smiling and holding a bouquet of red roses.

He also is wearing taupe colored tie, but is doing so while wearing a dress shirt with the top few buttons undone. That's kind of scruffy. Dude… do up the buttons if you are going to wear a tie, otherwise ditch the tie.

Effing Miura… if you are going to be Mr. Flower Valentine, look dapper! World-class soccer player who dresses like a no-class slob.

Another ad on the website has the popular (?) Japanese actor Show Aikawa (yes… his name is "Show") who describes the start of his relationship with his wife: "I gave her flowers frequently. At that time I didn’t know what she liked. So, I chose flowers because flowers make everybody happy."

This is a great point. Don't know what to get a woman? Buy her flowers - and don't cheap out! Women know! And if they don't, they will go to a flower shop and inquire. You will be found out for your generosity or your cheapness.
How much??!! Now you know why men don't buy a lot of flowers. Can I buy just one?
Anyhow, Japanese flower shops are trying to help you men get laid with a Japanese woman. They really are trying, putting petal to the metal.

Go and check out a flower shop in Japan… you have a one-in-three chance of seeing the shop done up with red heart-shaped ornaments, ribbons and red roses - and just for you men - they are putting up posters of a man giving flowers to a woman.

Yes, men… Valentine's Day is not just for women anymore (it never was!). Get involved.

To prove the point, the Japanese flower shops are handing out the results of a survey it performed, that says that 85% of the 500 female respondents said:

"men who give a bouquet as a gift would make a very good impressions on them."

Guys… even if you don't believe that self-serving survey from the flower association… believe me.

I'm not a shill (but would be if anyone gave me some money - really… I can be bought! Despite being considered priceless, I can be bought cheaply), but:

Women enjoy receiving flowers. Period. (Hopefully no period.)

Anyhow, despite spending lots of time and effort trying to educate Japanese men on the allure of purchasing flowers for a woman on Valentine's Day, it still has a ways to go.

According to the Chocolate & Cocoa Association of Japan and the Japan Anniversary Association (I can understand why there is the first organization, but the second one - I need to investigate!), of the approximate ¥130 billion ($1.24 billion) Valentine’s Day-related spending, chocolates account for half of that.

Really? ¥130 billion? That's a lot of money spent on Valentine's Day presents… especially when you know that it is still pretty much just the Japanese women spending that money on men they want to chase them.

Do the Japanese men spend that much on White Day?

Somewhere wondering if women would prefer "oral to floral" (copyright Andrew Joseph, 2014),
Andrew Joseph
PS: The Japan Anniversary Association is responsible for coming up with such non-traditional Japanese holidays/celebrations as: February 2: Twin Tail Day (pig tails - NOT pony tails); and December 10: The I'm Sorry Day (because the Japanese need to make sure they apologize for everything). That last one is kind of cool, actually. And the first one… that's kind of sexy, but even when I had long hair, I would never break apart my 20-inch pony-tail to make it into a twin tails.
I mention this in case you want to know just how much stock one needs to put in survey numbers created by the Japan Anniversary Association.

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