I have asked in the Japanese section what the meaning of "tayorigai ga aru", as it seems to me that there is no English (or French, Italian, etc.) translation. The dictionary translates it as "reliable" or "trustworthy", but it doesn't fit at all in the way I have heard it used by Japanese.

I also asked why quite a few Japanese girls in their twenties like men in their 40ies or 50ies, as they seem to have more "tayorigai" than those their age.

Here is the translation of what "Kara" replied to me and which I think is very interesting (hope I didn't mistake in the translation ) :

"Tayorigai ga aru" means in short that someone that does not make his partner (girlfriend/wife) uneasy/anxious (therefore, it is a bit different from "attractive"). It is judged from these 3 points : 1) social life, 2) personal life, 3) response to emergencies.

1) Social life
Social life means in short "money", which is assessed by a) financial possessions, b) high-income job, c) stable job (little risk of losing one's job or having one's salary reduced). But maybe without considering the money inherited from one's parents). Or else, apart from money, it is probably assessed from being polite and well-mannered, as a member of the society.

Furthermore, it is also important to be seen as educated and having some knowledge of politics, economy, history, religion, hi-tech or the different things of society, being a realistic and honest person.

2) Personal life
Personal life is assessed by the psychological stability. That is, a person who gives effective advice when a woman is prey to anxiety, or basically a man who does not let a woman feel uneasy. Then, it is also important to be able to handle home carpentry or electric appliances, drive a car or being able to deal with other typically "male jobs".

Furthermore, especially in recent years,it is important for a man to give the image that he can live by himslef without a woman behind him, i.e. for cooking, do the washing, cleaning, etc.

Then, it is important that a man help women with difficult work, with his male abilities, especially his muscular power. If he is tall, muscular and has a fine body, he will also be said to have "tayorigai".

3) Reponse to emergencies
A man will get a good evaluation is he can manage to respond appropriately in case of earthquake, fire, traffic accident, etc. Or else, (though it isn't really an emergency), being good at fishing or camping-related issues may also have an influence.

Moreover, a "reliable person" (tayoreru hito) is the general image of a man with "tayorigai". However, a man who combines all the above surely cannot be bad. Consequently, for women too value reliable men even only for worrying about small things (e.g. carry heavy luggage, work all night to cover one's subordinate's mistakes, take care of a crying strayed child, as organiser of "hanami" do the chores more quickly and efficiently...), which invites goodwill. If there are women who who start going out with such men and be happy, there are also some that wouldn't.

In this way, (I appreciate as a man) the system of misunderstanding [?] works, as there is no point in having women who care only whether a man is "reliable or not", I think that girls in their twenties who like men in their 40ties or 50ties are a minority. However, there may be lots of women who like middle-aged or elderly man, not as lover or husband, but as a counselor. Again, for this minority of girls who like older men, it seems that the reason is not that they like "money", but that because they suffer from a "father complex", lots of them seek men who look psychologically "big" and broad-minded.

[I had some trouble translating the last paragraph above]

What do you think about it ? Isn't this way of thinking unique to Japanese ? Is it due to their high "uncertainty avoidance" (i.e. they tend to worry about the future and need to make sure how things are going to happen the way they want to, such as keeping a stable job, planning one's overseas holiday in the minutest detail, preparing a meetings with great care, etc.) ?

The key word about Japanese women who seek men with "tayorigai" is 不安 (fuan : anxiety, uneasiness). It's a word I often here in Japan. Japanese (esp. women) tend to worry a lot about small things. Things like "oh dear ! it's raining and the laundry is still hanging outside, but what on earth are we going to do !" or "I am going to travel one week in Europe next month and I haven't reserved my hotels and trains yet ! Aargh, maybe I should just cancel !" , when I personnally never reserve anything in advance, don't even bother to change money or buy T.C. before travelling and can't see what difference it makes if wet clothes get wetter because it rains. So of course, I have trouble understanding why Japanese can get uneasy (不安 ) about other things. For example, I have heard that it was better having a fixed (i.e. "stable") salary rather than being paid for one's works or performances, and getting much more money some months and a bit less other months (but in average higher), just because the "fixed" salary gives more "anshin" (安心, "peace of mind", opposite of 不安 ). I can't understand that. But that must be the reason why it's so important for Japanese to work for a (big) company, rather than being self-employed. No wonder there are so few lawyers and the majority of them work for companies. I guess this has to do with the group mentality and strong gregarious instinct ; "inside the group = safe", "alone = uneasiness".