My chingu and I constantly talk about our love lives, or lack thereof, in Japan. As two single girls, there’s only so long we can go without some “rabu rabu”, especially in a country that’s so culturally defined.
To put you in the loop: in general, foreigners in Japan are usually given a certain amount of attention. No matter how your physical appearance is regarded in the western world, (I’m not sure what South Africa is considered – Western or Southern?) here you will get stared at and/or complimented on your looks frequently. We’re unique and “sugoi” and exotic here. And while it feeds the ego nicely, making you feel like a special little rose full of hope, it rarely goes beyond that for some sad few of us. Compliments in Japan are something I have never taken too personally anyway, because we’re a novelty. And while some of my fellow foreigners are constantly like “OMG you guys my students keep saying how beautiful I am teehee!” I just think dude…get over it.
As mentioned before, we live in the Japanese countryside, and very different parts at that. I’m on an island, which is pretty far from mainland Japan. Because of this, there aren’t usually many young (and by young, I mean people in their twenties) people around. My island is pretty much where people retire, farm, and fish. Their kids school here and leave for a life on the mainland, returning only for vacation time. The ones who remain here get married straight after school and have kids and then take over the family fishing business.
Anyway, for a twenty-something year old foreigner with minimal Japanese language ability in the inaka, dating prospects are pretty bleak. Every foreigner has been asked the question “do you have a girlfriend/boyfriend?” numerous times. This is the timeline of my “do you have a boyfriend?” conversations.
1. When I first got here
Japanese person: Do you have a boyfriend?
Me: No, haha.
JP: Oh really? Why?
Me: I don’t really want one…
JP: Waa- sugee!
Me: haha hoohoo! [Feels like an empowered female!]
2. Middle of the year
JP: Do you have a boyfriend?
Me: I donno
3. Now, Scenario #1
JP: Is [gay guy I hang out with] your boyfriend?
JP: [hehe, they’re so cute, pretending they aren’t in wuv]
4. Now, Scenario #2
JP: Do you have a boyfriend?
Me: Cos no one likes me, okay?? GOSH [Resumes putting beer cans in shopping trolley].
I’m not going to make this a blog post about how unfair it is that foreign males have an easier time dating here than girls, blah blah. I’ve Googled this topic until my computer overheated, and there are loads of articles on this subject. It’s hard to talk about without sounding bitter, and it’s pretty controversial, so I’m skipping ahead to Conversations with my Chingu (soon to be a paperback – check the Spiritual section of your local bookstore. Haha, jk).
So, we’re constantly talking about how lonely we are and how we’d like someone to have a decent relationship with (or whatever) and not just drunkenly saying “you are so beautiful!” and passing out. After realizing that this is extremely frustrating, and looking to the wise Dumbledore for guidance, we’ve come up with our Gayly Plan.
My chingu’s patience was cracking and she admitted that she was pissed off with guys in general. “I’m giving up!” she said. “Over it!” So we agreed to support each other. Sisterhood and all FTW.
You know how some closeted gay people are forced to pretend they’re straight to fit into society in order to survive? Our plan is pretty much the opposite. We wanted to be gay. Although our version of “gay” might be a little warped, and I’m sincerely sorry if I do offend gay people in this post.
*(Side note: I’m pretty much a supporter of gay rights; I actually have more gay friends than straight friends and I know this doesn’t really justify anything… but they’re pretty much amused by this whole thing).
The Gayly Plan is basically an acceptance of our current situation by exploring other options. So far the plan consists of changing the little things that we are in a habit of doing which reinforces how deprived we are. Things like not looking at pictures of handsome k-pop stars (this is HARD, yo!). Refraining from staring at a cute guy as if he were a chocolate cake and we’ve been starving for a week. This is all very creepy.
However, we seem to be lacking the actual dating other girls part. It’s day two of our Gayly Plan and things aren’t looking very good. If getting a boyfriend in Japan is so difficult, what makes us think we’re going to get girlfriends in our towns? What the hell, man! We’ve already relapsed by “accidentally” finding pictures of our favourite Korean rappers.
On a serious note, we’ve realized how bloody awful it must be for some gay people to constantly have to pretend they’re straight, or feign interest in the opposite sex. Living a lie is ridiculous and goes against the natural order of things. Respect.