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Friday, February 13, 2015

Noboko And Andrew: Stop The Maidness

This isn't a true continuation of the story of my life in Japan, but it is a small attempt by myself to explain the psyche of Japan, the Japanese people, Japanese women and the Japanese family, as related to current events as depicted in the blog.

I had always thought that Noboko, the love of my life, was a strong person… and she would have to be, to look as hot as she looks and to survive the repeated advances from every man within noseshot (that hair of hers always smelled great!), including myself.

Prior to us knowing each other, she had moved out of her parent's home and those parental unit rules to to and live in Kobe for a few years.

At some point in time, she rebuffed an engagement to a Japanese man, gone back to live in her parent's home when she took over a maternity leave teaching position at a school in my city.

At the westernized young age of 27, which is the old maid age of two years beyond acceptable marrying age for a Japanese woman... well… despite all of that being atypical of a Japanese woman, she still maintained enough of her Japanese-ness to never be confused as anything but as Japanese.

Here's the thing… the Japanese-ness trumps the female-ness every single time in Japan.

It's like the people of Japan are Japanese first, and everything else afterwards.

For the Japanese:
'I am Japanese. I am a man. I am Suzuki-san. I am a teacher.'

The 'I am a man part', that would be obvious, but that shows an accepted order of respect amongst the sexes. Men in Japan are treated with a higher level of respect than Japanese women. Even myself - a gaijin (foreigner) man was treated with more respect than what a Japanese woman would earn (though admittedly there are exceptions to that - just not as many as one would think).

In my own opinion, for the average westerner, a person's foreignness does not affect the level of respect garnered.

For me:
'I'm Andrew. I'm a writer. I'm a man. I'm Canadian.'

While I have a distinct pride in being Canadian, and it is indeed a defining part of who I see myself as being, it's not THE defining element.

It's my name and what I do that truly define me. Family status would also there (as part of the job - 'I'm a Mother', for example, as I know a proud momma or two who would beat me senseless if I didn't at least mention that).

For the Japanese, it's all ass-backwards relative to myself, and what I assume for most westerners.
  • Being male in Japanese society, they gain special privileges in society over women.
  • The name thing… it's NOT the personal FIRST name - it's the stoic FAMILY name… the job, while extremely important to the Japanese, doesn't define the personality.
  • The job is considered something that all good little Japanese sheeple must perform well and at long hours, at the expense of little things like personal life or family.
For us westerners that don't own their own business, while we may hold certain loyalties to our work, we all know that while important, it's not the be-all and end-all in our life.

Being Japanese. Being a good worker. Being a good family member that always honors and respects the wishes of the father.

There is no being personally happy. That is expected to be achieved by following the above three rules of Japandom.

There is no individuality. You can try, but as ever, in Japan: The nail that stands up, get's hammered down.

There is really only what is good for the unit, not the individual.

Aside from finding a husband themselves, what can old maid Japanese women do to halt the decline into old maid-ness?

There are arranged marriages. There are arranged dates. There is death before dishonor. There is honoring thy mother and thy father. Eww... Christians might recognize that line... I do, but there are limits to that ideology in my mind.

Does that limit exist in Japan?

Noboko's mother had been fighting for her daughter against her own husband.
  • Was it being done because she wanted her daughter to be happy?
  • Was it being done just to get her married - what with her being an old maid at the age of 27?
  • Was it being done just to get her married (regardless of her age)?
  • Was it being done because Japanese women should be as empowered as their western counterparts?
  • Was it being done because she liked me? No... I think she like me, but that's got very little to do with it.
I have no fricking clue. Even if I asked Noboko's mom, I am unsure I would ever get the real answer.

What was Noboko's father fighting for?

There are a few things - many of which contradict each other.
  • Personal honor - to be the man and head of the household, and for his demands to be respected regardless of the content.
  • He is correct about his job - that his daughter marrying a foreigner would indeed impact on his job and future job status. He's a proud man, as any man would be… who would want to be shamed at work?
  • He really is a racist and doesn't want to have his bloodline sullied by gaijin blood and brood.
  • He doesn't want to lose his daughter to a foreigner that will take her away from him to a foreign country.
  • He doesn't want ME to be part of the family, because I may not be as perfect as his opinion of other foreigners might be.
  • He is still pissed off at his daughter for not getting married previously, and is tired of her having her way, when it should only be what is good for the family rather than the individual.
  • He hates being known for having a daughter past the standard Japanese marrying age (that was 25, and she's now 27), but he hates the fact that she would resolve it with a gaijin. Do you get her married, or do you gain a gaijin? Which is more important?
I'm sure there are many other reasons out there as to why he is against Noboko and myself…

But, I am sure there is ONLY one reason why Noboko and I should not only be dating, but should be married.

Andrew's Reason #1
I love Noboko. Noboko loves me.

But that's just my naive western ideology… but, it doesn't count for sh!t in Japan most of the time.

So why create this particular blog? Just to give you all a better an idea of what some people are like, and what it was that I was up against, what Noboko was up against, what Noboko's mom was up against, and what Noboko's father was up against.

Andrew Joseph

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