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View Poll Results: How much freedom do you consider normal while in a relationship (both ways) ?

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  • It's ok to meet one's ex-boyfriend/girlfriend from time to time

    17 36.96%
  • It's ok to have lunch/dinner at a restaurant with another man/woman

    33 71.74%
  • It's ok to do activities (sports, karaoke...) with another man/woman

    35 76.09%
  • It's ok to go to nightclubs without one's partner

    22 47.83%
  • It's ok to have sex with somebody else

    1 2.17%
  • It's ok to travel (and share the same hotel room) with another man/woman

    4 8.70%
  • None of these is ok while in a relationship !

    7 15.22%
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Thread: How much freedom do you give to your partner ?

  1. #51
    Occasional visitor nekosasori's Avatar
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    Maciamo, it sounds to me like your issue is not with your wife personally but the societal values that she was brought up in. Only you and she can be sure about how likely it is that she may cheat on you. Presumably she can't be called "typical" of all Japanese (if generalization were valid, which it actually isn't) - she's already "different" enough to have married you, someone from outside of Japanese culture, with your particular set of values and clearly defined comfort zone.

    Incidentally, ALL my interests (and my ways of analyzing situations and making decisions, which are very INTJ) match my husband's exactly. But do I need to be a modeller, as my husband is? Does he need to be fluent in Japanese and well-versed in classical music as I am? Not necessarily. However, they are hobbies we can both indulge in, in the same room, but separately - we "share" quality time but doing different things. Your "utopian" notion of being "the same" is something I made a prerequisite towards marriage (though not towards relationships in general; I've learned a lot from dating people very different to me). I think while it may be a challenge to find a partner who mirrors all your passions and hobbies, it's not impossible - it's a big world out there.

    If you can't sit down with your wife and really talk about these issues (I'm not saying you haven't tried, it's just that it seems to me you haven't arrived at a resolution), then it is a major obstacle in maintaining a healthy marriage. She is only partly responsible for making you feel secure in her faithfulness - you have to trust in your ability to discern who she is fundamentally, and not be swayed by the friends and peers she may have who are obviously not identical to her. If you can't do that... well, I'm sad about your situation.
    Last edited by nekosasori; Dec 13, 2004 at 18:48. Reason: grammatical mistake

  2. #52
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nekosasori
    Maciamo, it sounds to me like your issue is not with your wife personally but the societal values that she was brought up in.
    That's right. It wouldn't make much difference if I left her and found another Japanese girlfriend/wife. So I'd better solve this with her.

    Only you and she can be sure about how likely it is that she may cheat on you.
    I can't because as I said before I had never encountered any culture where someone who loves you and tries hard to make you happy also cheat on you just because they don't think it's wrong. But reading that "43 percent of the young people surveyed in Shibuya said they keep five or more sex friends at a time" (but the remaining 57% could very well have 2 to 4 sex partners at a time too). Then "many young Japanese people, everything about sex is casual. Girls now share their boyfriends like theyfd share chips. Everyonefs hand is in the bag". And again in the same text "Condoms are hard to sell in Japan right now because young adults refuse to use them", how many chances is there that a Tokyo girls who also frequents Shibuya think the same way ? Of course, that is not the only article I read about it. There was even a BBC documentary about it (called "Sex in Japan").

    I read some articles from the Mainichi Shimbun (and a compilation called "Tokyo Confidential") just after I arrived in Japan, and I had to stop because it made me dizzy, angry and suspicious of all Japanese women.

    If you can't sit down with your wife and really talk about these issues (I'm not saying you haven't tried, it's just that it seems to me you haven't arrived at a resolution), then it is a major obstacle in maintaining a healthy marriage. She is only partly responsible for making you feel secure in her faithfulness - you have to trust in your ability to discern who she is fundamentally, and not be swayed by the friends and peers she may have who are obviously not identical to her. If you can't do that... well, I'm sad about your situation.
    I do not want to feel secure and reassured. If she is the kind of person I described above who cheats without guilt, she is likely to be very good at reassuring me that she loves me and would never cheat, and even buy me presents or cook for me so that I don't suspect anything. But how could I really know ? Of course the chances that she doesn't cheat seem much higher, but there is always that small percentage of chances that I am being duped. I think all the conditions to make me doubt are present; 1) the stories I read or heard directly about Japanese morals, 2) the fact that she is attractive and likes going out and meeting people all the time, 3) the fact that there are love hotels everywhere in Tokyo, which are made to facilitate cheating (that is why they are always full, as it is Japan, with people not guilty of having 5 sex partners at the same time and not using condoms).

    I think that there just couldn't be any Japanese woman like her who I could trust more than her. I won't have peace of mind if she goes out, just because of her country's culture. I know there is virtually nothing I can do about it, as no talk is ever going to change my suspicions, with her or anybody else. I will just have to live with it. Anyway, I wouldn't stay with her if I didn't think that there were more chances that she was faithful. I guess that means I trust her enough to stay together.

    What I was wondering is whether anybody else married to a Japanese (man or woman) was also aware of that Japanese morals and felt the same as I do.
    Last edited by Maciamo; Dec 13, 2004 at 21:25.

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  3. #53
    Regular Member misa.j's Avatar
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    I think all the conditions to make me doubt are present; 1) the stories I read or heard directly about Japanese morals, 2) the fact that she is attractive and likes going out and meeting people all the time, 3) the fact that there are love hotels everywhere in Tokyo, which are made to facilitate cheating
    Maciamo,
    Those stories you read or heard might easily have been exaggerated, though. I honestly have a hard time believing the Japanese morals you talked about is based on the reality. Have you spoken to those youths who hang out in Shibuya personally? You'd be surprised how unreliable their thoughts and opinions might seem.

    Aren't you happy that your wife is attractive?
    Maybe your wife and you can go to one of those hotels together sometimes just for an adventure.
    Sorry, if I upset you; I am not trying to make fun of you or anything, but a change helps lots of times.

    What I was wondering is whether anybody else married to a Japanese (man or woman) was also aware of that Japanese morals and felt the same as I do.
    My husband is protective, at the same time he educates me how to protect myself, wishes I were stronger and a badder a**, and I really respect that because I understand what he cares about. I guess this is not answering your question at all, but I don't think he feels the way you are feeling.

  4. #54
    Anjin Brooker's Avatar
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    @Maciamo...
    I can see why her being affected by these Japanese morals has given you some concern. Japanese often see Western views on love and fidelity as being naive and unrealistic.

    The only thing you can do is assess the situation and her as best you can. Does she seem like a person who would lie a lot? Do you seem like someone who would be easily lied to and gullable? I'm guessing the answers are NO. So, until you have reason to think she's cheating, I wouldn't worry too much about it. Don't blame her for the way her country is.
    For information on the pros and cons of teaching at Nova English schools in Japan, check out

  5. #55
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brooker
    I can see why her being affected by these Japanese morals has given you some concern. Japanese often see Western views on love and fidelity as being naive and unrealistic.
    Exactly. That's the point.

    The only thing you can do is assess the situation and her as best you can. Does she seem like a person who would lie a lot? Do you seem like someone who would be easily lied to and gullable? I'm guessing the answers are NO.
    The problem is that Japanese people also have a very different approach regarding lies. The Japanese are famous for their politeness and hypocrisy, and about any Japanese would think that lying is ok or even necessary if it is to avoid causing trouble (harm, offence, anger, sadness, whatever). I have experienced it many times, also with my wife. She (or other Japanese) also expect me to lie when necessary. That does not fit my personality or values at all, as for me frankness will always be better than a lie, even if it causes much pain. So if my wife asks me what I think of the new clothes or bag she bought or the food she cooked, I used to always tell her exactly how I felt about it, be it positive or negative. That made her angry a few times and she eventually told me "but can't you just say you like it and made a very good choice, even if it's not true !" How am I suppose to understand that ? I best I just don't say anything, or say "I am not sure" or change topic, but lying (or cheating, for that matter) just feels like a crime to me. It's certainly as bad as stealing. From this point of view, that makes almost all Japanese petty criminals. The question is, can I live with it, being married to one of their number ?

  6. #56
    Junior Member DoctorP's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo
    Exactly. That's the point.



    The problem is that Japanese people also have a very different approach regarding lies. The Japanese are famous for their politeness and hypocrisy, and about any Japanese would think that lying is ok or even necessary if it is to avoid causing trouble (harm, offence, anger, sadness, whatever). I have experienced it many times, also with my wife. She (or other Japanese) also expect me to lie when necessary. That does not fit my personality or values at all, as for me frankness will always be better than a lie, even if it causes much pain. So if my wife asks me what I think of the new clothes or bag she bought or the food she cooked, I used to always tell her exactly how I felt about it, be it positive or negative. That made her angry a few times and she eventually told me "but can't you just say you like it and made a very good choice, even if it's not true !"
    I am so sorry for you if that is the case. All of the friends that I have (both Japanese and Okinawan) prefer to be straitforward and honest. If I do something that they do not approve of they say so to my face...as I do the same to them! We correct each others children all of the time...even when the parents are around...that way we ensure that the morals and values being taught are being enforced. We constantly talk about this with each other! I have seen some of the activity that you refer too (wife looking the other way if husband goes out) but not enough to call it the norm! But then again, I am not the one living in Tokyo and the big cities so I can not comment on what you see. I suspect it is much like life is back at my home. In the countryside, people act differently, are less likely to screw around (it does happen though) but in the city, there are so many places to go without seeing someone you know that you can get away with it more I guess! I still haven't seen enough of this behaviour to call it the norm...and many of my friends are originally from Tokyo.

  7. #57
    I jump to conclusions mad pierrot's Avatar
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    I think this argument is stemming from

    Maciamo just being honest.

    There is no way anyone can ever be 100% sure of another person. I know this is generally unsettling to most, but none-the-less it's true. Of course, people can be more or less comfortable with this concept than others. Maciamo isn't very happy with this concept, I think.

  8. #58
    Anjin Brooker's Avatar
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    You can't know ANYTHING with 100% certaintly. But you can know someone well enough to have a pretty good idea of what kind of behavior they're capable of.

  9. #59
    Occasional visitor nekosasori's Avatar
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    Thanks for the response Maciamo (I apologize for not reading the earlier posts carefully enough; I'm at work and thus short on time!)

    There's one way to know if she'd been lying to you - have regular and frequent STD tests.

    I think that even if the percentages of people in Japan having casual (and "cheating") sex is high, you're doing your wife a disservice by tarnishing her with the same brush.

    It's also your choice to not want to feel secure (feeling secure is as much having confidence in the choice you made to marry her, as it is her "convincing" you that she's not cheating on you). But her being Japanese was not a sudden shock or surprise to you - she's been Japanese (AND who she is, personality and behaviour-wise) the whole time that you've known her. And yet it was your (mutual; love is a two-way street after all!) decision to marry despite the cultural differences. And if you knew that certain cultural differences could be a "deal-breaker", you should have researched further and waited until you felt you had all the facts BEFORE marriage.

    To be perfectly honest, I don't think it's healthy for any partner to presume that someone is guilty until proven innocent - and in that sense, perhaps you may eventually need to consider separation. Doubting her actions when she's out of your sight is, in my view, paranoid and disrespectful, even if EVERYONE in Japan is supposed to think nothing of cheating and ALL of those love hotels exist solely to tempt the people who find your wife to be attractive.

    If both you and she are STD-free, and furthermore remain that way in subsequent blood tests, personally I would get rid of those emotions of insecurity and doubt. Otherwise, if you continue to be unhappy, I would separate and/or divorce. Let's say she's cheating (no matter who around her initiates this) - well, you don't want to live with it, so you should go your separate ways. Let's say she's not - then you're constantly poisoning your marriage with your doubts and worry. Either way it's not healthy.

    I don't think that moving outside Japan will help - your wife will always be attractive and extraverted, and add to that the fact she'll look more exotic and be more enticing to non-Japanese. Even in a western country, I think there are plenty of people who enjoy having extramarital affairs. There are businesses that thrive on this. In Canada, for example, there's this e-business that's doing very well:

    http://cwww.mii.ashleymadison.com/app/public/index.p

    Sorry Maciamo, that you're feeling this way. Even if you have EVERY reason to suspect her or feel doubt, the bottom line to me is that it's not good for your relationship. And also no offense is intended by my advice - I just see it this way.

    I have some more points to add... I've now lived in Ireland for over four years. I've come to understand quite a lot about the history and culture over here, and I have to say that I am totally incompatible with the way society works here. I am North American, and as such my values and behavioural expectations do not complement Irish ways AT ALL.

    However, I married an Irish citizen who grew up here. And I believe we have a strong marriage based on a foundation of communication, trust, and innate compatibility. The only reason why we have this is because my husband seems to defy every single Irish stereotype there is. He's the polar opposite of the kind of man you'd expect an Irishman would be even remotely like. Yet he's a product of Irish society since it was all he knew until he graduated from university.

    My parents are Japanese, yet they became immigrants because of the aspects of Japanese society that upset and infuriated them. They too were immersed in Japanese culture for the first 30 years of their lives.

    My points from above is that just because people belong to a certain heritage, they will not sheepishly become cookie-cutter representatives of said culture. Many rebel against the status quo (in different ways). Many will reject societal values if said values are incompatible with their unique personality traits or choices in life. Not everyone will rebel overtly - my own aunts come to mind - they haven't moved out of Japan, but I can't say that they "conform" to many conventions that are dictated by Japanese masukomi, nor do they follow trends.

    So again, this is why I don't believe that you can blame your mistrust of your wife solely due to how the statistics read. Your wife is an individual, with her own set of ideas, values, and past experiences that have shaped her. Her having known you and your values is also a part of her past and present. Unless she wants to get out of your marriage, I don't think she would be so disrespectful of your doubts that she would go out and around, cheating on you. Casual sex is just that (you seem to be more afraid of that than a full-blown emotional affair). Since it's casual, she can easily go without cheating unless she's a sex addict.

    As for emotional affairs, I'm sure that they happen the world over, despite certain cultures being so intolerant of infidelity. The most that married or intensely committed couples can do in those situations is to accept that we're all human, and insist on timely communication so that minor misunderstandings and tension don't escalate into deal-breakers.
    Last edited by nekosasori; Dec 14, 2004 at 17:34. Reason: To add some points

  10. #60
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brooker
    You can't know ANYTHING with 100% certaintly. But you can know someone well enough to have a pretty good idea of what kind of behavior they're capable of.
    I would normally agree with you. Let us not forget that we are only discussing trust about faithfulness and not trusting the other person in general. There are many ways of trusting people : trust regarding money (knowing that your partner isn't going to use your credit card without permission), trust about their not revealing some secrets, trust in their love, trust that they are serious about their commitment to live together, trust about the children's education, trust about taking care of one's health or one's partner or relatives' health, trust about helping/supporting each other in hard times, etc. I can certainly say that I trust my wife for all of these (at best it is her who would not trust me for some of these, although unjustifiably). The only apprehension I have is regarding morals related to faithfulness (as well as the "lying" thing) as this is a cultural difference, and therefore stronger than the character of the individual in question (my wife or any other Japanese woman or man).

    I am sure that she is a very good person and would try all she can to avoid hurting me (even if that means lying, as it is acceptable in the Japanese culture), and our relationship is good enough for me not to fear that she cheats on me if she was a Westerner. My doubt come from the Japanese culture itself, which is much more of a problem, because in case I were right I couldn't blame her for being a bad person without blaming the entire country; and if I do I am not going to like Japanese people anymore. But after three and a half years of close inspection of the behaviour of the Japanese in Tokyo, after discussing with hundreds of Japanese, watching TV, reading about Japan, etc., my doubts do not dissipate, but at the contrary get stronger with time, to the point I have felt the need to discuss it here. You will notice that I posted the article from Newsweek about the young Japanese's promiscuity 1,5 years ago.

    Quote Originally Posted by nekosasori
    There's one way to know if she'd been lying to you - have regular and frequent STD tests.
    ...
    If she is STD-free, and furthermore remains that way in subsequent blood tests, personally I would get rid of those emotions of insecurity and doubt.
    As you may know, many STD's cannot be discerned so easily. HIV takes at least 6 months to appear in blood tests (long enough to be contaminated), and other diseases like herpes (nothing serious) or syphilys do not appear in blood tests. We did have a blood test recently, with negative results, but that was only because it appeared before that that she had a benign STD. However this STD is so contagious when it comes out that it can be transmitted by just touching something a contaminated person has touched, and anyway she could very well have had it for a long time before metting me. There is just no way to know when someone got a STD.

    And if you knew that certain cultural differences could be a "deal-breaker", you should have researched further and waited until you felt you had all the facts BEFORE marriage.
    And how was I suppose to know that in any culture on earth there was one were cheating (and lying) was not a big deal !

    I had one more thing to add... I've now lived in Ireland for over four years. I've come to understand quite a lot about the history and culture over here, and I have to say that I am totally incompatible with the way society works here. I am North American, and as such my values and behavioural expectations do not complement Irish ways AT ALL.
    That is eventhough Irish and American culture are very close and there is indeed a very sizeable Irish community in North America. So, I guess you can understand that I didn't expect the Japanese culture to be so different in regard to morals, esp. that is not something that is usually mentioned in books about Japanese culture or mentality.

    My parents are Japanese, yet they became immigrants because of the aspects of Japanese society that upset and infuriated them. They too were immersed in Japanese culture for the first 30 years of their lives.
    Yes, I know there are always people who are different. I am a good example myself, being so "culturally different" in many regards (though not all) even from my own parents. But I don't think cheating is more of a cultural thing than murder, well at least not in periods of history when fatal STD's exist (I would have been much less nervous about it before AIDS appeared in the early eighties). It is usually considered a "bad thing" in any culture to kill someone. Cheating can very well be equal to murder, making it the 2nd worst crime, before rape, torture or anything else, because it can feel as psychologically depressing as rape and torture, but with the consequence of murder (however the culprit also dies, so it makes it "less bad" than only murder).


    Casual sex is just that (you seem to be more afraid of that than a full-blown emotional affair). Since it's casual, she can easily go without cheating unless she's a sex addict.
    Actually, I am less afraid of a full-blown emotional affair, because it would be more difficult to hide (so I can get out of it as soon as I find out), and the chances of getting STD's are much lower as it's only one other person that is involved. What I fear is not so much the cheating part itself (as Japanese say, it is naive to think it can never happen), but :
    1) the promiscuous and careless behaviour about STD's. As the article said, "Japanese don't like condoms", which is a proven fact, and even my wife admitted not using condoms with some of her ex's even for a fling, which seem to be perfectly normal in Japan.
    2) the lying issue. If someone is ever going to cheat on me, I want to know it immediately after, so that I don't touch this person again. Unfortunately, that is something I am pretty sure nobody would easily admit (Japanese or not) and it would be even harder for a Japanese, esp. if they have feelings for you (as my wife does) and doesn't want to hurt me (ditto).

    As for emotional affairs, I'm sure that they happen the world over, despite certain cultures being so intolerant of infidelity.
    Of course cheating happens everywhere. I think that French and Italian people have a pretty bad reputation about that too (even Japanese think that they are born-cheaters, although they obviously forget to mention themselves at a similar or higher level). The problem I have is not coping with cheating or trying to know my partner well enough to know if she loves me or would ever cheat on me. That would be relatively easy with a Westerner. As I said, the problems are
    1) the extreme art with which Japanese manage to conceal things (=lie) especialy with someone they care about,
    2) the different moral about cheating (can't sense guilt in the guilty person)
    3) their lack of responsability/fear toward STD's.

  11. #61
    Anjin Brooker's Avatar
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    I think nekosasori is right in saying that, whether your wife is cheating or not, your doubts and insecurities about her are issues that you need to resolve internally in order for you to feel comfortable in your relationship.

    You don't seem to think you have the ability to read her and understand what she's likely to do. Do you feel like you don't know her well enough or that she might have a secret side? I would think that after you've been in a relationship with someone for quite a while, reguardless of cultural background, you'd have a pretty good idea of what they're all about. Or is it that you've already analysed her to find that you think cheating is something she might be capable of? I'm not suggesting that's the case. I'm just playing devil's advocate to get you to examine all sides of the situation.

    But if you don't have any reason to think she's cheating (or likely to), don't create a problem in your head that may not actually exist.

  12. #62
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brooker
    You don't seem to think you have the ability to read her and understand what she's likely to do. Do you feel like you don't know her well enough or that she might have a secret side? I would think that after you've been in a relationship with someone for quite a while, reguardless of cultural background, you'd have a pretty good idea of what they're all about.
    I think I can understand her very well, sometimes better she understands herself. The problem is that she is quite emotionally unstable (as many women are), passing from angel to devil in no time. I can help her to stabilise and see clearer in her own emotions sometimes. We have certainly discussed enough about lots of topics for me to know her almost perfectly, and certainly much better than she understands me (which she readily admits). But I don't expect people to understand me. I see how difficult it can be even on a forum like here (not this thread in particular though) and I know that even my parents do not understand me as much as I would like. However, as you asked about the "secret side", this is indeed what I fear, because I do expect all people to have a secret side, and I also expect that for most people there is always something hidden that nobody (not a single person) will ever know if they are not told by another person who knows about that (which in those cases the interested person has no chance to ever meet).

    But if you don't have any reason to think she's cheating (or likely to), don't create a problem in your head that may not actually exist.
    Easier to say than to do. Once it's in, every little thing can become suspect. It doesn't mean that I always tell her about these suspicions anyway, as it would become tiresome. So the relationship is really what I want it to be.

    Please remember that I am not asking anybody to advice me on my personal life. I don't expect anybody here to know better than me what to do or to find even a fragment of "solution". The purpose of this thread is to know more about what you (all) find normal or not, then developed into also knowing more about the Japanese morals regarding to cheating and lying. Confirmations, infirmations or personal stories on the subject are welcome, but there is no need to talk about what I should do with my wife (that's offtopic).

  13. #63
    Occasional visitor nekosasori's Avatar
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    Please remember that I am not asking anybody to advice me on my personal life. I don't expect anybody here to know better than me what to do or to find even a fragment of "solution". The purpose of this thread is to know more about what you (all) find normal or not, then developed into also knowing more about the Japanese morals regarding to cheating and lying. Confirmations, infirmations or personal stories on the subject are welcome, but there is no need to talk about what I should do with my wife (that's offtopic).
    It was my impression that this was the "Love and Relationship Advice" forum; I've read the disclaimer sticky message, but I still apologize if I have offered unwelcome feedback, but surely if you wanted a survey on views the Serious Topics\Opinions subforum would have been just as appropriate to place this?

    In any case, I personally have never met any Japanese person who would lie about a serious issue such as sex to their partner. However I would posit that "white lies" (which exist in every culture to varying extents) becomes an integral part of life in ANY insular country (I see this all the time in Ireland), regardless of whether "western" views dominate or not. This is because white lies are the most convenient way of avoiding confrontation, of "stirring up trouble", or of "standing out" in the crowd.

    I think, given what I have seen comparing the Irish "western" society with Japanese society, that there are far more similarities between them than differences, perhaps surprisingly. Despite strong Catholic morals (and the laws to enforce them, e.g. abortions and morning-after pills are illegal still), Irish societal problems are much the same as Japanese ones (and people go over to the UK for abortions), in my view.

    I also believe that the perception that the Japanese are far more likely to cheat or lie compared with people from "western" countries is highly exaggerated, and that even the personal anecdotes that one may hear in Japan from Japanese is also exaggerated - people universally misrepresent themselves to varying extents. In fact, I would think that cheating rates are probably comparable if not identical, and that it is the hypocrisy of western societies that means that people don't talk openly about being cheated on or having cheated themselves; the Japanese may be more truthful because it's not taboo.

  14. #64
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nekosasori
    I think, given what I have seen comparing the Irish "western" society with Japanese society, that there are far more similarities between them than differences, perhaps surprisingly. Despite strong Catholic morals (and the laws to enforce them, e.g. abortions and morning-after pills are illegal still), Irish societal problems are much the same as Japanese ones (and people go over to the UK for abortions), in my view.
    Abortion is not illegal in Japan. On the contrary, it seems pretty common.

    I have never been to Ireland (one of the few EU countries I haven't visited, along with the Nordic countries), but they might be quite different from other Europeans for several reasons. First they have been isolated for quite some time and don't share the monarchic history of other European countries where the kings and queens intermarried constantlycreating one big European royal family. Then, the Irish are some of the last people to still speak a Celtic language (with the Welsh), which is completely different from all Latin and Germanic languages in all Western Europe (except for the Basque). Their insularity and different language (although it's mostly English now, but in Japan too ) has probably a lot to do with possible similarities with the Japanese. However my image is that the Irish are far from being the most polite, respectful or hardworking people on earth, which sets them at odd with the Japanese.

    I also believe that the perception that the Japanese are far more likely to cheat or lie compared with people from "western" countries is highly exaggerated, and that even the personal anecdotes that one may hear in Japan from Japanese is also exaggerated - people universally misrepresent themselves to varying extents. In fact, I would think that cheating rates are probably comparable if not identical, and that it is the hypocrisy of western societies that means that people don't talk openly about being cheated on or having cheated themselves; the Japanese may be more truthful because it's not taboo.
    I disagree with that. It is rather the hypocrisy of the Japanese that make other people (like me before coming to Japan) think that they are not the kind of people to cheat, lie or even be very liberal about sex, coming from a very formal society with lots of rules and restrictions. But this is just the image they give to the world because their uchi and soto concept prevent them from talking openly about such things with foreigners. As I say, most Japanese would even think that French or Italian people are incurable cheaters. But having a pretty good knowledge of both French and Italian culture and people, I think this is mostly due to the "romantic" image (actually romanticism implies not having sex, but in common parlance it refers more to amours) of France of Italy. Japan does not seem romantic at all (from outside), even the opposite. I think that the average Europeans are more worried about morals and STD's than the Japanese, and therefore think more carefully before cheating. Be sure that my image before knowing Japan was that of a country of "honest" people (i.e. people who do not lie and cheat). But having lived in 6 (Western) countries before Japan, I can assure you that nowhere else have I heard more white lies (even in England) and heard the word cheating ("uwaki") on TV, in the streets or among conversations overheard in cafes, restaurants or with friends, than in Japan. As a matter of fact, it's hard to turn on the TV and not find a programme where people have fun talking about "uwaki" and marriage, and quizzing each other about whether it has happned to them, how they would react, or just whether they would allow their partner to cheat on them (that's on TV, I remind) or not. They don't look concerned. They look like children talking about a game.

  15. #65
    Occasional visitor nekosasori's Avatar
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    Abortion is not illegal in Japan. On the contrary, it seems pretty common.
    Yes, I'm aware of that fact. I was just emphasizing (or trying to!) the perception that most people have of Irish and Japanese societies being polar opposites; it is my opinion that that is hardly the case.

    I can assure you that nowhere else have I heard more white lies (even in England) and heard the word cheating ("uwaki") on TV, in the streets or among conversations overheard in cafes, restaurants or with friends, than in Japan.
    What sorts of white lies have you heard (both in Japan and in western countries)?

    Also, just because the masukomi makes uwaki a popular topic to discuss, doesn't mean that everyone is actually practicing it. Many US media sources (Fox News, even CNN) have biases towards covering topics like Christian fundamentalist-related movements (like the campaign in the south to only teach abstinence instead of sex ed to teens), and other "newsworthy" (read: Jerry Springer types of) topics. Obviously not everyone in the US can be pigeonholed into being Christian let alone fundamentalist, and while I can also be overheard discussing Republican politics or pro-life stances or the War on Terror, I don't support any one of those.

    Also I was wondering -how do you consolidate the two seemingly contradictory observations that people distinctly keep "soto" and "uchi" separate, yet openly discuss uwaki experiences on national TV? There's a logical disconnect there, no?

  16. #66
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nekosasori
    What sorts of white lies have you heard (both in Japan and in western countries)?
    For anything imaginable. Of course for small things like saying that you like your friend's new clothes, the food grandma cooked, or when you meet someone for the first time they'll flatter you or even say that they are also inerested in this or that (just to be polite, as in fact they really couldn't care less). These are all die to the uchi (inside) and soto (outside) concept. Let's say there is always the public version ("tatemae") which contrasts with what people really think ("honne") and no Western country has developed and institutionalised this the way Japan has. Basically, you just cannot expect people to express their true opinion on TV, at work or with people they are not intimate with (best friends or family). However, this pretty easy to get used to.

    The worst is that even in the "uchi" (with intimates, eg. my wife) white lies happen all the time, even when you ask people to be frank and you don't want to hear lies. They just cannot say something that is not a lie in disguise. Here is a simple example; I ask my wife what she wants to do that Sunday, Shall we go to the restaurant, cinema, a park, shopping, somewhere else ? I had better not make her feel that I would prefer to go to one of these places in particular, because otherwise she'll just tell me she wants to go there too. It's only when we are there (or after coming back !) that I may hear her say "but in fact I didin't want to go to A, I wanted to go to B. So I ask her why she didn't just tell me when I asked her. Sometimes I ask several times and ask again "are you really sure that is what you want to do" because this problem happens often. It's very tiresome. But these examples are for pretty benign things. It does happen for more serious things to the exact same extent, so that I can never know for sure how people (even my wife !) feel.

    You will understand that, with my outspokenness, I am not used to reading between the lines and understand that when people say "yes" without jumping with excitement it really means "no" or "not sure". After 3 years I am not able to discern some "tatemae" (not all), but that still does not tell me what is the "honne", and there is no way to guess if people don't want to tell you. So, can you frankly say that there is a single Western country like Japan regarding (white) lies ?


    Also, just because the masukomi makes uwaki a popular topic to discuss, doesn't mean that everyone is actually practicing it. Many US media sources (Fox News, even CNN) have biases towards covering topics like Christian fundamentalist-related movements (like the campaign in the south to only teach abstinence instead of sex ed to teens), and other "newsworthy" (read: Jerry Springer types of) topics. Obviously not everyone in the US can be pigeonholed into being Christian let alone fundamentalist, and while I can also be overheard discussing Republican politics or pro-life stances or the War on Terror, I don't support any one of those.
    The US is a very cosmopolitan society, with people believing in about any religion on earth, and with very different political opinions and morals. In other words it is the exact opposiet of Japan, which is a very homogenous society, not only in race and language, but in the way people think and behave. In other words, if you take 1,000 Japanese people and quiz 20% of them about various things and their opinion is basically the same, it is possible to assume that most of the remaining 80% think the same way too. In the US it just doesn't work because people are all too different. So the discussion "between Japanese" on Japanese TV usually reflect pretty well the national consciousness, especially that the programmes I refered to are on the 6 main (free) channels (NHK, Nihon TV, Fuji TV, Asahi TV, TBS, Tokyo TV), not on cable or satelite TV nor on some special channel owned by a religious or political group. This is the TV all Japanese people watch (and there aren't many such channels).


    Also I was wondering -how do you consolidate the two seemingly contradictory observations that people distinctly keep "soto" and "uchi" separate, yet openly discuss uwaki experiences on national TV? There's a logical disconnect there, no?
    "uchi" and "soto" is not a fixed group of people. Sometimes (on such TV programmes) the "uchi" part is all the Japanese (as opposed to foreigners). That depends a lot on the topic. In a company, an employee's personal matters will be "tatemae", but discussing business will be "uchi". If people from one company meet people from another company, their stance become "tatemae" again. For sex-related topics on TV, I can feel it is more "uchi", as anybody can have sex with anybody. Anyway, they usually discuss the "cases" of people whose name was changed and people can vote "acceptable" or "not acceptable". It cannot be tatemae because there is no common stance on such topics. Frankly, what could "tatemae" be when you ask some owmen whether they'd prefer a husband who has a "mother-complex" or one who is a "stalker" ?

  17. #67
    Occasional visitor nekosasori's Avatar
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    This is all very interesting, thanks Maciamo!

    So, can you frankly say that there is a single Western country like Japan regarding (white) lies ?
    Yes, although in an unofficial (tacit) fashion, I will make the claim that white lies are a veritable institution also in Ireland. One of its similarities (setting aside work ethic ;) ) to Japan is how they also have traditionally had an extremely homogenous population (culturally speaking, despite the history of intermittent invaders, long-term occupation by the UK, and the very recent - last five years - influx of foreigners from both within the new expanded EU and from countries that produce refugees), people will perenially put up such a thick facade that I never know what anyone really feels about anything. Then again, I also find it hard to even sustain a conversation about controversial topics - people I've gotten to know are clearly uncomfortable about disagreement and of confronting others about it.

    Moreover, I have observed that when people gossip about others, this gossip NEVER gets returned to the person about whom it is. This means that friendship, as I define it (where my friends would tell things to be straight even if it bruises my ego) is extremely rare in Ireland. Acquaintances with whom you'd go to the pub all the time or otherwise socialize (or just work with) will talk all about their insights about you or note your mannerisms, attire, etc. to everyone else and this feedback never returns to you personally. So if you don't want to be the subject of conjecture and analysis, you always have to show up at the pub so they can't talk about you. I find this insidious, frustrating, and frankly, rude. I'm also a "say what you mean and mean what you say" sort of person, in large part because my parents didn't deal well with the honne/tatemae dichotomy. I find it frustrating that I can't make good headway into really getting to know someone because the signal to noise ratio in conversations is so abysmally small. Add to that the fact that 100% of people whom I have gotten to know at work who are also foreign have left or will be leaving the country permanently, I'm feeling pretty isolated here emotionally (since my husband is my sole source of in-person support).

    You say:

    Basically, you just cannot expect people to express their true opinion on TV, at work or with people they are not intimate with (best friends or family).
    Yet, you also say

    So the discussion "between Japanese" on Japanese TV usually reflect pretty well the national consciousness, especially that the programmes I refered to are on the 6 main (free) channels
    This is the conflict to which I was trying to refer in my last post. If people aren't telling the truth on TV, how can they truly reflect the "national consciousness": if someone says what they think they are expected to say rather than what they really think - the "tatemae" - then wouldn't they just be parroting what they perceive society is wishing them to behave rather than how they would, in real life, behave?)

  18. #68
    Hullu RockLee's Avatar
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    haha..is that WHY WOMEN CHEAT banner set on purpose ???

    ontopic: I want to discuss later, but right now I'm short on time with studies..
    ~ Parempi hullu kuin tylsä - Better crazy than boring ~
    http://www.fin-style.be/blog -> My Blog about Finland and other random thingies.

  19. #69
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nekosasori
    Moreover, I have observed that when people gossip about others, this gossip NEVER gets returned to the person about whom it is. This means that friendship, as I define it (where my friends would tell things to be straight even if it bruises my ego) is extremely rare in Ireland. Acquaintances with whom you'd go to the pub all the time or otherwise socialize (or just work with) will talk all about their insights about you or note your mannerisms, attire, etc. to everyone else and this feedback never returns to you personally. So if you don't want to be the subject of conjecture and analysis, you always have to show up at the pub so they can't talk about you. I find this insidious, frustrating, and frankly, rude.
    I know, it also happens in some other European countries. But these are not lies, it's hypocrisy or "talking behind people's back". I think it's more common in Western country than in Japan, while white lies are much more common in Japan.

    This is the conflict to which I was trying to refer in my last post. If people aren't telling the truth on TV, how can they truly reflect the "national consciousness": if someone says what they think they are expected to say rather than what they really think - the "tatemae" - then wouldn't they just be parroting what they perceive society is wishing them to behave rather than how they would, in real life, behave?)
    It's not really a conflict, it's just that I didn't take enough time to explain what kind of things people usually don't say on TV. If you ask people about their opinion of foreigners, or their political ideas or what they would define as good behaviour, they will usually answer pretty much the same. They will also rarely say that they dislike such or such celebrity so as not to create tensions or negative feelings. But when it comes to talking sex, the Japanese are surprisingly uninhibited. So much that if they managed to talk like that about politics or education, lot's of problems would be solved. The talk about sex are not the educational type, but almost always the perverted kind or about marriage, divorce and "uwaki". Never have I seen a country so eager to talk about "uwaki", perverted sex, marriage and divorce on TV or in social occasions (between friends, colleagues...) than Japan. Maybe that is also why hostess bar (where customers usually talk about sex-related topics) are so popular in Japan, or why all convenience stores' shelves are filled half with porn/erotic magazines and these mags are advertised inside all train lines. Sex, along with food, is a favourite discussion topic in Japan.

  20. #70
    Occasional visitor nekosasori's Avatar
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    If you ask people about their opinion of foreigners, or their political ideas or what they would define as good behaviour, they will usually answer pretty much the same. They will also rarely say that they dislike such or such celebrity so as not to create tensions or negative feelings.
    The same phenomenon can be seen in Ireland (where there are four main TV stations; RTE 1 & 2, TV3 and TG-4).

    So let's go back to the example you cited - the "kyuukyoku no sentaku" - desperate choice - which kind of guy would you rather marry, a mazacon or a stalker-type? Well, it's purely theoretical isn't it? Even if a woman were to openly and even strongly state a preference of one over the other, in real life she isn't 1) only faced with those choices of the men she has chosen to date 2) necessarily going to seek out the type she prefers, or 3)even necessarily going to get married at all (two of my relatives, who are of the older generation (aged in their early 70s now) never got married despite all the familial and societal pressures to do so, for instance). Both have only ever lived in Japan (Kanagawa-ken).

    Since these kinds of racy "fun" programs aren't posing questions to be used in deep psychosocial analysis of society (or if they were, how valid would they be? Wouldn't an actual, large-scale study of married people who take psychological tests to see if they do exhibit either Oedipal tendencies or stalker tendencies - or both... be a lot more useful?) I would personally take anything proferred on TV with a very, very large grain of salt.

    I would also argue that sex is a universally piquant discussion topic that will even come up on Western media (the TV program "Eurotrash" comes to mind - a UK thing which you may have seen). Even if NHK and the other TV channels you mentioned are "uchi", the programs usually select people who pass audition levels by providing entertaining answers, or street surveys will (if not live) edit what's shown for the "highlights" - it's not a truly random sample of the population that you're seeing and hearing. I strongly believe that nature has a much bigger impact on how people develop than nurture - in every family I've known with siblings (who are often the same sex, even close in age, brought up in the same environment by the same parents), these people turn out to be extremely different in behaviour, views, and even values. So even if insular cultures practice conformity on the surface as if it were martial law, the individual variances would be huge, even if barely imperceptible to someone on the "soto" (or even "uchi"!).

    I think that one can't really justify equating a societally-instilled uninhibited and pragmatic view of all humans having sexual desire, to an entire population of many million (albeit "homogenous") people feeling free to cheat right and left on their spouses. And even talking the talk (claiming to be sexually liberal if not downright promiscuous) is not directly correlated with walking the walk (actually having indiscriminate sex), as it were.

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    i think its safe to say that in every relationship, there might be the slight occasion when the significant other thinks about someone else. i mean, everyone has an ideal mate. chances are, you didn't find your "ideal" mate, but u darn as hell found a good mate. your significant other isn't the ideal, but when that someone pulls along with one quality that is ideal and your sig. other doesn't have, you will feel a bit attracted.
    this is where temptation comes in. if maybe you're too attracted, you get tempted and you lose control, depending on your self-discipline.

    anyway, successful relationships require good communication (being open and honest about everything; not fighting over the little things; just talking often like "how was your day"), respect, companionship (like spending quality time with them), commitment (be committed to the relationship; think that in EVERY relationship, theres always a conflict. you're bound to fight or argue about something. just don't do it too often), affection, ability to deal with stress (not only stress in the relationship, but at work or school, or with kids), responsibility, unselfishness, sensitivity (understand your sig. other's feelings), honesty and trust, adaptation (try to adapt to your sig. other's habits and behaviors).
    From my sociology book.

    of course, if you're married, a reason that its hard to stay with your spouse is because you've been with them for quite a while and you're simply "bored". thats where commitment comes to play. also, your "fire" has probably dimmed, so do something romantic and fun to spice it up.

  22. #72
    Regular Member kiedistidus's Avatar
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    i let my girlfreind do pretty much what she wants when she wants within reason i.e no cheating or obvious flirting but i have a question,does wanting to spend time on my own make me a cold or bad boyfreind i love my personal space and company for instance when i travel to japan next year it will be a one man mission as i would like to enjoy the experience without scheduales or worrys(hassle) but my girlfreind gets really strung up about this type of thing.am I being cold or in short does this make me a bad boyfreind???I love her to bits but it really confuses me that some people need constant attention.

  23. #73
    Regular Member frostyg02uk's Avatar
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    Ok firstly...where the hell did this come from? why is it here now? why did i just read all of them and now need to bring up a ghost from the past?

    Moving on. Quite often my gf would say lets go out/to a friends house/ a bar/ something to eat but if i didnt feel like it id say no and she'd go on her own no problem. Do i know if she ever cheated on me? no. but that works both ways. She once said "whats the point in cheating? if your going to do that you might as well just break up anyway".
    I think my tolerence is higher more so because i know all of her friends. I think if a person does cheat no matter how clever they "think" they are they will be caught eventually especially the more you seem to trust them the more they will slip up and get lazy about it. I could try and offer some advice...but maybe you have sorted your problems out one way or another by now. But it would be nice to get an update haha.
    Darling I've seen you from so many different angles even if the day we can no longer be together comes our way I don't think it matters because I can't help loving you.

  24. #74
    Back home maushan3's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kiedistidus View Post
    but i have a question,does wanting to spend time on my own make me a cold or bad boyfreind i love my personal space and company for instance when i travel to japan next year it will be a one man mission as i would like to enjoy the experience without scheduales or worrys(hassle) but my girlfreind gets really strung up about this type of thing.am I being cold or in short does this make me a bad boyfreind???I love her to bits but it really confuses me that some people need constant attention.
    You are in your right to spend time without her. Remember, you got to have her to miss you. You cannot have her with you at every moment or else she and/or you will lose interest in each other. It will take that spark off the relationship. So you are not a bad boyfriend by wanting to have a beer with the boys. For example, she calls you to see what's up, you tell her you are busy and then, when you have time, you call her.

    You love her to bits, ok. You say you are going to Tokyo by yourself and want to have a little fun, so you do that. Tell her that she needs to be a good girl or else you will find yourself a girl in Japan, haha, but remember, do it charming and be funny, she will be quite amazed in a good way.

    Mauricio

  25. #75
    Horizon Rider Kinsao's Avatar
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    Wow this is an old thread. I can't remember if I posted on here already, but I think not. Anyway, my two cents about the poll...

    It's ok to meet one's ex-boyfriend/girlfriend from time to time
    I wouldn't have a problem with my partner meeting up with his ex from time to time, as long as they weren't continuing a relationship above and beyond that of friends of course! If I felt like he was lying to me and still 'seeing' her in a way other than friendship, I'd have to re-examine the whole relationship and why I didn't trust him or if he was lying to me. I'm sure that if he was genuinely seeing her only for friendship's sake and thought it was upsetting me he would agree to cut down on how often he saw her, or whatever, or even to meet her together instead of on his own. If he was telling me the truth I'm sure he would have no problem about reassuring me on this one.

    It's ok to have lunch/dinner at a restaurant with another man/woman
    Of course it's okay, if he tells me beforehand; it could be a business colleague, or an opposite-sex friend... if he didn't tell me about it, maybe I would think there was something to hide, though. But otherwise it is fine.

    It's ok to do activities (sports, karaoke...) with another man/woman
    Generally it is okay as far as I'm concerned, but to be quite honest I would rather be invited too! because it's fun to do these things together!

    It's ok to go to nightclubs without one's partner
    My partner doesn't go clubbing (except fetish clubs, where he'd be with me by default) so it's not really an issue... if it was like a party with family or a bunch of friends who all went out drinking and then clubbing... like a stag do or something... I wouldn't have a problem with that. If it was a night out with a mixed-sex bunch of pals that was planned in advance I'd expect him to invite me too, but if I couldn't make it I wouldn't have a problem with him going by himself. Going out by himself on the pull is off-limits though!

    It's ok to have sex with somebody else
    No way!

    It's ok to travel (and share the same hotel room) with another man/woman
    Travel is okay (especially for work, where he deals regularly with men and women alike), but not sharing the hotel room... there's no 'reason'/'excuse' for it even in a business context.

    I guess I'm pretty laid-back, but only because I trust my boy absolutely.

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