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The New buzz word: masuclinized women and girly men

It’s been a bout a year since I first wrote News alart! Increasing population of ‘grass-eating boys’!? Since then, the concept of ‘Soshokukei Danshi’ (grass-eating boys) and Nikushokukei Joshi (meet-eating girls) have spread around Japanese society, in the media, on graphic t-shirts, and all over magazines and daily conversations, the trend for identifying whether one is herbivory or carnivorous has died down.

Now, the new concept for 2010 is Osu-ka: masculinization of women and Joshi-ka: feminization of men.  As the populationg of ‘grass-eating boys’ increases, and as women need to become carnivorous and aggressive, women are increasingly becoming masculinized, explains the media. On the other hand, the ever-so peaceful and timid grass-eating boys enjoy staying at home and decorating their apartment and practice cooking and banking, they are increasingly becoming girly. This gender switch is not only seen in personal life style, but also in the work life and career plans.

As women are increasingly entering the workforce, and gain success in the field of banking, law, consulting, and medicine climbing, the ladder of success, rather than getting married and having kids, women leading life style of traditional single bachelor – or “salary man.” With so much work and responsibility at the office, women these days do not cook at home, they would spend their nights in a pub drinking beer with their female friends or eating delivery pizza, drinking a canned beer in front of TV…. Women are becoming masculinized! (and I’m the first person to report this in English!)

Ramen-noodle, alcohol and house wife

According to an article on “masculinization of Tokyo women” published by Jcast News in December 2009,  60% of working women in the 20’s – 30’s feel they have become masculinized. “I drink alcohol at home alone, don’t mind going for quick dinner at ramen noodle shop alone,  my priority is work before going on dates!” To my horror, 1 in 10 of these women have discovered their facial hair has darkened/increased since the entrance in the workforce.  Hormone imbalance caused by stress is, in deed, masculinizaing working women’s body.

When do you feel ‘masculinized’? – When I sneeze like a middle aged man, When I say ‘That’s why I don’t wanna work with women,’ When I think ‘I want a wife to take care of me,’ I don’t consider myself office lady, I’m a businessman… they say. It also seems ramen and alcohol, for these women are just as basic necessity as they are for Japanese bachelors. Masculinized women have less interest in men and more for ‘wife’: 27% of respondents prioritize work to dating and 1 in 3 respondents identified their wish to have a housewife to take care of her.

How far are we masculinized?

But the masculinization is not just for a laughing a matter. The hormone imbalance caused by stress is actually causing physical masuclinization for some women. It appears 10% of working women aged 25 – 35 are suffering from increased facial hair, especially beard. Even more widely experienced is menstrual disorder and irregular periods. Working women are having more and more physical problems such as backaches and mesntrual disorder, sleeping problems and eating disorder. How to feminize your body to avoid these problems?

A doctor from womens’ clinic says “Get involved in feminine activities. Take flower arrangement classes, bake some cake, dress yourself up, go on dates, cook at home, and feel feminine to stimulate female hormone.” However, despite such severe effects of masculinization, it seems the word “osu-ka” and “joshi-ka” are going to be hot-words of the year.

When I was studying sociology of pop culture, I learned that we listen to the music we most identify ourselves with at the time. Therefore, hit Love songs represents how people think about love and romance.

For me, at the moment, the songs I have been listening the most these days are… According to you – Orianthi, Battle field Jody Sparks, Bad Romance – Lady Gaga… hmm it seems that the Sociologists are right. I think these songs do tell you about how I’m feeling about love and romance these days.

So what kind of love songs are on the Japanese hit charts lately? To be honest, I don’t listen to Japanese pop music at all. I really don’t find Japanese music industry interesting, and I think Japanese people are good at many things but not just good at singing. I’m most turned off by the popularity of huge boy bands and girl bands, but much bigger in size than backstreet boys or NSYNC, there are 10+ boys and girls singing in unison together. They sounds like a horrible school chorus! Well, I guess it’s like any other country, there is the mainstream crap, and there’s the underground awesomeness… but I’ve got no time to discover them because I’m very busy with my favorite bands and DJs from the US, UK, France, and Germany.

Exile: 14 men sing together in unison, so cool!

#2 Hit: Can we go back – Kumi Koda

The song is about a girl wishing to get back with her ex. “Can we go back to the way we used to be? The butterfly has returned now. Can’t we just throw it all out , it’s easy to give up but it shouldn’t stay like this. So back to the way we used to be,” she says things she doesn’t wanna give up on them yet, and make some changes to get back. “Oh can we go back, getting used to losing. I used to be fearless when I was a child, but nothing comes out of losing battle. Baby can we try,” I guess she growing up and has more fears but she really thinks they had something important to give it another try. Hm, nothing surprising here, it’s pretty much like any other after-break-up-wooing-back song. By the way, Kumi Koda would be like… equivalent to Christina Aguilera, as you can see in the below pic (reminds of Christina in Dirty or Fighter), known for her sexy attitude.

#3 Hit song: Always by Miki Nakajima

This is more like  what I know as the typical melancholy over-dramatic Japanese love song. Compared to Kumi Koda’s Can we go back, Always is a melancholy breakup song of a girl being overly nostalgic about her love for her ex. But unlike Can we go back, this girl doesn’t have the guts to ask her ex to be back,she’s just sulking in her room being nostalgic.

“I felt like I could see tomorrow just from your smile. I would probably run to you, even if that means hurting someone. I still miss the warmth of your hand, in the crowded street, we held eachother in silence. Love changes like season, I know that but I thought with you it would different. Good bye – would you forget me, or the nights we dreamed of eternity. Can we still smile together – on the day when we lose eachother. Even if our days were just mistake, it’s ok”

Hm, I don’t know what I think about this love song. I have listened to many more break up songs that has more attitude and stronger message about where we should go from there on. This “Always” song isn’t my style

yep, she's definitely sulking in her bed

#9 Hit: Last Kiss – Choshinsei

Another breakup song, but this one is by a guy… oh, excuse me, it was a band of 6 boys.

“The last kiss was so sudden, I can’t forget you. One more time! I want you back. Just take me back  to the days we were together,  somebody just take me back back back I wanna be back there and kiss kiss once again I miss you. “Can we meet up tonight” I was excited with your sms with no idea until I saw you. Why do you look at me with sad look. You don’t say a word, you are not as usual. With tears in your eyes, you gave me back the pair ring (a pair of rings couples wear casually as sign of being together) you said “I’m sorry and gave me a last kiss.

The last kiss was so sudden, I can’t forget it. One more time! I want you back. Kiss of tears, tasted so sad I can’t forget.  It’s still on my lips. Why, tell me why such sudden Goodbye. No phone call from you since then, it’s so hard to understand. I’m alone lost my precious girl. Can’t forget your love even after some time. It hurts me to thing of you, I realized after breakup, you were lonely, I did not understand, I’m sorry but I want you back one more time”

Excuse me, which one of you was I dating? I forgot!

Lost of break-up and wanna get back with you song on the hit list this month! Time to get back with your ex if you don’t wanna be lonely for Valentine’s day

Do you remember that I once went to match making party?

Actually my relationship with “my perfect match” didn’t end that night so let me write about this. We never met again, but he tried and tried and tried to pursue me and pretty much did everything in his power (using cellphone) to convince me to marry him, or at least have a drink with him.

I must admit it was flattering at first, to be told how surprised he was to have met his perfect match in a match making party(what a coincidence, he kept saying) and that he had never expected such fortune. I would have even gone for a full dinner + drink date with him at that point, if it wasn’t for the wrap up of my busy analysis project. I really would have, he was nice, decent guy at least from what I remember that night, and his sms wooing were harmless, if not flattering.

After 3 weeks of meetings, report makings and excel databases, his emails turned into something more than what it originally was. It seemed as if his passion for the idea of getting married (note: not the passion for me) has gotten out of control in my absense, and his sms started get more and more in tense, in terms of volume and content. He was so getting anxious to get married, he couldn’t wait till he seems me again.

“What kind of a family do you like to have?” “What kind of a man do you like to marry? I will try to be that man, I will get stronger for you” … isn’t it getting bit intense to hear these from a guy you just met once? But I realized this has to end when he googled me and found me on the company website and my university website and commented on sms “You work so hard, I saw your success in the company and in the university,  you must be so smart with great genes”

After a month or 2, it was all about the sms chase. I became the Queen of avoidance, and ignored his passionate sms (about the idea of marriage, not me) and slowly he became quieter with sms. And it was his very last sms that really impressed me, after all the sms that had tired me, freaked me, and pushed me away from him.

In his very last sms, he asked that we meet again, so I could give him a feed back on what he did well, what he did wrong, and how he could do better next time he goes to the match making party. Well, he doesn’t learn the lesson that may be this whole match making thing isn’t for someone like him, but he is surely ready to learn te lesson from his failure and grow to be the konkatsu-professional.

What did I learn from this experience? … To be desired for sex, is one thing. It happens, right? Lust at first sight. He doesn’t know you, but he knows he wants you. He wants to kiss you and take you in his arms, even though he doesn’t know you. I welcome that, eventhough I find it annoying if the guy is not my type. But to be desired for marriage, without the guy knowing me… this is freaky. This is completely different story. And although this match making party, my konkatsu activity was a success for having him desire me for marriage so much (hell yeah, I could have been married by the time I’m writing this now) I really learned the sadness of idea of marriage without love… and lust.

Is it your apperarance? personality? what’s the problem? The 5 reasons you are not “chosen” — in January issue of Anan. ANAN is beauty and fashion magazine for twenty-something year old women. Its kinda like a … well, can’t really think of a equivalent but it’s kind of like a Japanese version of Cosmo or Glamour (though not much about sex)

I found this article while I was preparing up for the TV interview that I mentioned, and was totally shocked to find that I totally fit in the 5 reasons AnAn lists out in the magazine. I’m going to translate the article so you can check if you have any attribute that are unfit to be “chosen” for a partner in Tokyo Meet Market.

How unlikely it is for you to be “chosen”!?

  • I usually wear dark colored clothes – black, gray and other dark colors
  • I do not have male siblings
  • I sometimes reply to SMS more than a day after receiving it
  • Perfect nails and perfect hairstyle is a necessity for hanging out with any guys
  • I have more than 3 hobbies that I’m serious about
  • My hobby includes one of the followings: golf, traveling, wine tasting
  • I have no time for myself and spend most of the time at home and at work
  • I do not hesitate talking about my past relationship to other men
  • I cannot help being nosy about other people’s business
  • I would like to travel abroad at least once a year after I Get married
  • I know what kind of man I want to marry (in terms of occupation)
  • I cannot make the first move even if I like somone

How many of the above statements applied to you?

0 – 3: 30% risk to be not chosen
No need to worry so much at the moment. But to avoid the risk of never being chosen by men, you should be aware of the risks and prevent the risk ASAP

4-7: 50% risk to be not chosen
There’s still a chance to improve your chance. But if you don’t change yourself and age more, you would nbe helpless.  Let’s look at your current life style and improve your chance to be chosen

more than 8: 80% risk to be not chosen
You are at a serious risk of not being chosen by men. You must not be stubborn to your current lifestyle and redeem yourself. The first tep can still be taken?

How many of the above criteria applied to you? Apparently, I have 50% risk… because I wear dark colors, don’t have male siblings, don’t reply to SMS immediately, traveling is my hobby, want to continue traveling after marriage, don’t always make the first move…. because I’m a normal human being with my own taste??

But apparently, that’s the thing about being an “attractive Japanese woman” for Japanese men. You don’t necessary have to have beauty, intelligence, humor, hot body, or good taste. You just be easy going, great listener, nice, and willing to take care of him and the household. I cannot believe it, I cannot believe this woman’s magazine is actually promoting the idea of such boring low standard without telling us to be confident, be who we are, enjoy life. What’s wrong with wearing sophisticated black or grey? what’s wrong with seeing the world, traveling around, eating great food, enjoying life? Is this magazine really going to tell us how to be a boring women JUST so that we get “chosen” by some boring men to be a boring housewife?

This issue of AnAn is VERY intersting, it’s all about building konkatsu strategy for 2010. I will translate few more articles from the magazine in the next few days.

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A while ago, I slept with a Soshokukei Danshi (“grass-eating boy” or “Herbivore Man”)

To be more clear, I slept in the same bed with him, with my head pillow on his arm.  And nothing more. One of the definitions of the “grass-eating boy” is that they are not aggressive for sex, and they would sleep next to a woman rather than try to sleep with a woman. It’s true, I have experienced sleeping with a “grass-eating boy” and he was as nice and quiet as a little lamb. And it was, well, strange, but nice. For the first time in my life, I slept with a man who didn’t try to jump on me and make me his.

It was after a wild night out we had started the night with bunch of our friends in a izakaya (Japanese drinking establishment which also serves food to accompany the drinks, like a tapas bar). Drinks were flying around, lots of chatting and laughter, we started from one bar and hopped around different bars. After long hours of bar hopping, some of us ended up in my apartment and continued to drink. Some people started falling asleep, some of them went home, and when I realized, it was just me and one guy falling asleep on the floor. I had known him for over several months, good friends, drink together occasionally, with some flirtation that never lead anywhere special. So I left him where he was, on the floor, and headed for my bed to get some sleep.

It was some time later I was awaken by the guy coming into my bed. I kept my eyes closed and he slipped under the blanket and I could feel he was looking at me. I didn’t especially have a feeling for him, and I wanted to see where this was all going, so I kept still to see what happens next. Then touched my hair softly, and he put his head on the pillow. We were lying next to eachother in the same bed, with our feet touching.

I still kept my eyes closed, pretending to be sleeping.

tik tak tik tak… nothing happens.

I opened my eyes and our eyes met. This is the moment, things usually, if it hadn’t happened yet, happens. The magic moment when two people are very close, feeling happy with the alcohol and the warmth of the bed, and our eyes meet… passionately.

tik tak tik tak… nothing happens.

He smiles at me and touches my hair. Then slips his arm under my neck, and we fall asleep. Next morning, he left for the first train home after a nice quiet goodbye and thank you. So this is my first experience of sleeping with the grass eating boy. It’s kind of cute now that I think about it. But I’m still surprised there are these kind of guys now a days.

Grass-eating boys… we can safely and comfortably sleep next to them without being attacked! Takes some fun away, but it was quite a nice experience!

Just found a funny article written by a professional Konkatsu activist, on men’s fashion in Konkatsu. First of all, I don’t know what it means to be a “professional” in Konkatsu, or why he calls himself a “professional.” If he’s so good at konkatsu, he would have gotten married even without konkatsu, and if he’s pursued the art of konkatsu so much to call himself a “professional” he probably sucks at it and we should not be even listening to this poor man’s opinion.

In any case, he’s a “professional” at Konkatsu and he advises men for all the things you should not be wearing in Konkatsu. The turn-off clothing and accessories for women. He even made a nice illustration of these items (who would wear them all at once) and he is:

List of turn-off fashion

  • Bags : According to a study conducted by advisers at match making agencies and konkatsu set up agencies, the top 3 “No-Nos of men’s fashion” for women are all bags: 1) backpack (20%) 2) handbag (15.8%) 3) belt bag (15%). Men should not be carrying any kind of bag to Konkatsu activities
  • golden necklace : makes you look to getto
  • white socks: mommy’s boy
  • cell phone with too much decorations, hang around your neck
  • shopping bags to carry books and other necessity
  • a belt with weird belt buckle
  • a shirt tucked into pants

Hmm… I kind of agree with the list though. As I was translating, I did agree that most of them would be turn-offs. And I found some Japanese blogger took a picture of himself wearing all the above list, to put the illustration into reality. Pretty damn, but I thought it was funny. He actually goes around his neighborhood and stops at a shop to buy a magazine, just to see if he gets weird looks. But at the end of the day he comes home and concludes, it’s not all THAT about fashion! Here’s the link to the blog

It’s been nearly 2 years since the word Konkatsu was first developed by the authors of “The Era of Marriage Hunting.” And yet, Konkatsu is still a buzzword for Japanese media. The concept has been featured in magazines and books, popularizing the idea that we need to be strategic about finding a life partner. More and more books have been published on the strategy building, more konkatsu products to give young men and women entertainment for konkatsu events. Even shrines are getting in on the konkatsu boom. Businesses ranging from matchmaking services to lingerie makers to professional baseball teams to bakeries to toy factories are trying to fill the romance void.

I have already introduced some of the Konkatsu products: (Konkatsu bra, konkatsu baseball, konkatsu cake) But recently, I found that there have been many more NEW konkatsu related products in the market so I’m gonna introduce these new inventions here. Just for the fun of it.

Compulsory marriage registration kit
This wonderful package includes everything you need to force your boyfriend into marriage registration. “Compulsory marriage registration kit” is latest konkatsu product in the market since December 15th 2009, sold from a diamond store called Sakha diamond. For just $90, the package includes:

  • a proposal ring (cubic zirconia ring, not a diamond)
  • a piggy bank to fill it with 500 JPY coin (=$5) to buy the girl a real diamond engagement ring
  • a written oath for him to promise to buy a real diamond engagement ring (which would be a discount coupon at the time of his real purchase)
  • marriage registration paper and a ink-pad (in Japan, we don’t put signature, we use a stamp with last name)
  • an alarm clock to enter the dead line date and time for wedding

The complete set to force him to marry you! All you need is a strong urge to get married, his address, and a credit card. The process is very simple, you can order the package in the Sakha diamond website, they will deliver the package to your boyfriend’s apartment, he will propose to you with cubic zirconia ring (if you are happy with it, no need to bother with the piggy bank and written oath to make him buy diamond), fill out the marriage registration paper and bring it to the city hall! How easy and simple to finally force him into marriage!

Compulsory proposal kit
Now, if you are the kind of girl with a little more sense and pride, you may not want to force him into marriage with the above products. But maybe, just may be, you wish you could get him to propose to you so at  least you don’t have to worry “where is this all going!” Then Sakha Diamond store also offers Compulsory proposal kit for just $80 (you see, it’s a little cheaper to get him propose to you than to marry you)

The proposal kit has been on the market a little longer than the marriage kit, and is also available on the website for purchase for just $80. The proposal kit is similar to the marraige kit, just doesn’t come with marriage registration paper or the alarm clock. It will allow him a bit more time to get comfortable with the idea of marrying a girl who got him a proposal kit, I guess. The proposal kit, then, includes:

  • a proposal ring (cubic zirconia ring, not a diamond)
  • a piggy bank to fill it with 500 JPY coin (=$5) to buy the girl a real diamond engagement ring
  • a written oath for him to promise to buy a real diamond engagement ring (which would be a discount coupon at the time of his real purchase)

Best of all, both of the products are refundable, if your boyfriend did not propose to you after all that you have tried. If no proposal after 8 days of thedelivery to the boyfriend, the proposal kit/marriage kit are refundable if you have the guts to get it back from his apartment and bring it back to the store that “it did not work.”  You will then, be refunded with $50 cash and a pair of movie ticket to bring your next potential husband! whooray! (or I recommend going to see “he’s just not that into you”)

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What is Tokyo Meet Market?

From the Western perspective, what goes on in the Japanese dating scene is really different and interesting! In this shy nation of Japan, meeting new people is almost institutionalized, dating and romance is littered with conventions that protect people from social awkwardness. What are dating conventions and rules in Japan? How do the shy Japanese people meet new people, develop affection, and express their passion? As I research and answer these question, I will write a real time report of what's going on in the Tokyo dating scene, or the "Tokyo Meet Market" here in this blog. I hope you enjoy my blog and a trip around Tokyo Meet Market with me!

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