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Old 01-07-2013, 09:31 AM   #35266
Stitchawl
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I am really curious as to the success rate (both people happy, loving/loved) of arranged marriages.
In Japan, marriage isn't about love. It's about respect and meeting obligations. Happiness isn't part of the requirement. When it happens, so much the better. But what make you and me happy isn't necessarily what makes a Japanese man or woman happy.
In Thailand, marriage isn't about love. It's about survival of the extended family. And the Thais are the smilingest people you'll ever meet!
In the US, many marriages aren't about love. They are about money and prestige. And even then they aren't happy. Only satisfied.


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Old 01-07-2013, 09:35 AM   #35267
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You do need to realize that in today's arranged marriage, either party can refuse. They do meet and spend time together before the marriage. Almost 4 or 5 days...

There is the 'first meeting,' usually a dinner together, then a second. Then there is 'a dinner with the parents.' One for each set. Then the couple will go away for a few days on a 'trial honeymoon.' If all that works, they get married. And while there are divorces in Japan, the numbers are much lower than in the West, where more than 50% of marriages now end in divorce. It's really not so different from 'dating services,' just faster.


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Can you imagine though, the first time they're in their own place and all of the bad habits start **shiver**.

In seriousness, I thought that divorces were frowned upon and difficult to get in Japan.

Do they still do the "promised since birth" type arrangements?
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Old 01-07-2013, 09:59 AM   #35268
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It also serves other purposes. The Japanese have a saying; 'Women are like Christmas Cake. After the 25th they are stale.' If a woman reaches her 25th birthday and hasn't found her true love, the opportunities to do so drop radically. There just isn't any place for older (30's and up) single people to meet and make new friends. It's not like the western countries where there are social events that can be attended, or singles outings, etc. Even church's cater to the couples and families rather than the singles.

To advance in the workplace, a man MUST be married and have a family. And few Japanese women want to have 'careers.' They want the freedom that being a wife and mother bring. Once the kids enter school, Mom has from 8am until about 7pm (or later) to do anything she wants... tennis lessons, golf lessons, flower arranging, meeting her girlfriends and going shopping or or just sitting in Starbucks chatting. She's only limited by her imagination, so long as she's home to make dinner for the kids. And actually, once the kids are in junior high (age 12 and up) they are going to 'juku' (after school and evening tutoring) so they can pass the entrance exams for high school and college. They don't get home again until 11pm. She's got plenty of money and plenty of time. All that's required of her is to make breakfast for husband and kids and get them out of the house, and make dinner for the kids. Most husbands don't get home until after 9 or 10, take a long bath and go to sleep.

Japan is a very different culture... It's a rare marriage that is about love. In Japan it's more about respect.



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Surely this only applies to middle class families and above. I would imagine that this might not even really work for middle class families. From what I have been reading, there is growing pressure for these types of cultural pressures to change. More women want careers, more men want a decrease in the pressure to work and make money. Overall, people are starting to realize that the system as it exists today does not work all that well and that there are pressures are unsustainable.

But that could be a small sub-set of the population I am reading about.

Another reason why I am thankful to be an American in the middle class. I am fortunate to be able to decide if I want to work or not. There are different pressures but I have choices that other people across the globe do not.
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Old 01-07-2013, 10:08 AM   #35269
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I am really curious as to the success rate (both people happy, loving/loved) of arranged marriages.
I'm not in contact with this particular guy anymore, so I don't know how his experience turned out in the long term. I do have a current member of staff who had an arranged marriage while he was still living in India, and after about 8 years seems very happy with life, though I've never discussed the particulars with him.

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To advance in the workplace, a man MUST be married and have a family.
So what happens in the case of gay men? Or is that not allowed...
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Old 01-07-2013, 10:37 AM   #35270
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So what happens in the case of gay men? Or is that not allowed...
Excellent question!
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Old 01-07-2013, 12:47 PM   #35271
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Hi, all. Yes, I am still alive and kicking. I'm not even going to attempt to catch up, just jump back in.

All is well here - I graduated college - Bachelor's degree in Human Resources Management (Magna Cum Laude).

How's everyone?
Hey Shel!! Good to see you back. Glad both of your schoolings went well. And that is a great baby pic!! What a cutey!
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Old 01-07-2013, 02:09 PM   #35272
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Hey Shel!! Good to see you back. Glad both of your schoolings went well. And that is a great baby pic!! What a cutey!
Hey Deb!! Thanks I'm pretty darn proud of both. (The schooling and the grandbaby cuteness)
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Old 01-07-2013, 07:29 PM   #35273
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In seriousness, I thought that divorces were frowned upon and difficult to get in Japan.
Not difficult at all. In fact, even easier than in most US states. If there are no children or possession issues, it's a mere formality. Just a small step up from a 'city hall' type of marriage. (Go to the City Hall, fill out a form, both sign, and you're married. Not even an 'I do' said. That's what we did, followed by ice cream Sundaes at Baskin-Robbins. )

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Do they still do the "promised since birth" type arrangements?
No, not any more. However, it is still important to the Japanese that the family history be 'clear.' If great-great-grandfather was a thief, that will seriously lower one's chances to marry someone from a 'good' family. One of the tasks that a marriage broker must undertake is carefully checking the family histories.

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Surely this only applies to middle class families and above. I would imagine that this might not even really work for middle class families.
The Japanese, if asked, will tell you that everyone in Japan is Middle Class. But... if you graduated from Tokyo University, or were on a winning baseball team in the national high school tournament, you are virtually assured of getting any job you apply for, and eligible to marry anyone of your choice (providing they agree.) Japan is a very different culture.

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From what I have been reading, there is growing pressure for these types of cultural pressures to change. More women want careers,
That's the 'other' Japan. Not the one that I live in. Every year I would give my students a questionnaire. Two of the questions dealt with future goals; what are your plans and how did you choose them. Each year I would have 300-450 new female students, so I figure I gave this questionnaire to about 5,000 young women.
Out of the 5,000 perhaps there were a dozen who wanted careers.
The rest wanted to work for a specific company as OL's (Office Ladies) until they married before their 25th birthday.
How they chose the specific company? It depended upon who designed that company's uniform. Some preferred Donna Karan, Ralph Lauren, or Calvin Klein. How's THAT for a way to choose which job you seek!

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Overall, people are starting to realize that the system as it exists today does not work all that well and that there are pressures are unsustainable. But that could be a small sub-set of the population I am reading about.
Unfortunately, it really IS a very small sub-set of the population. There ARE career women. But the numbers are remarkably low. I use a woman doctor and dentist and lawyer, because I know that if they are still in practice, they must be damn good to survive in a virtually all-male business world! The newspapers still report of men dying from 'karoshi,' (overwork) fairly regularly, although these days their families are trying to sue the employers when it happens. The law suits make bigger news than the deaths, and usually the result is that the court finds in favor of the family out of sympathy, but awards a $1 compensation as 'it really was the husband's duty to support his employer.'

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Another reason why I am thankful to be an American in the middle class. I am fortunate to be able to decide if I want to work or not. There are different pressures but I have choices that other people across the globe do not.
American and European women have it SOOOOO much better than women in most parts of the world....

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Originally Posted by orlok View Post
I'm not in contact with this particular guy anymore, so I don't know how his experience turned out in the long term. I do have a current member of staff who had an arranged marriage while he was still living in India, and after about 8 years seems very happy with life, though I've never discussed the particulars with him.
Last month I received a package from India. The contents were cushioned in a Mumbai newspaper. The pages were from the 'classified' section and were families looking for husbands or wives for their children. There must have been 5-6 full pages of classified ads.

My wife and I have been married for 18 years. It works for us. I arrived in Japan at age 40. In order to find women my age I placed an ad in an English language magazine looking to meet women between the ages of 30-50 who were well educated, liked to travel, liked international foods, would go 'adventuring' without worry, etc., etc., etc. I received over 150 responses. (That group had a higher level of career women. Actually, it's how I met my doctor. We had coffee but realized immediately that there was no attraction and parted friends.) I met (at least once) each of them for coffee or such, often 2-3 a day. That cut the list down to about 10 that I wanted to meet again (and who wanted to meet ME again.) I dated those 2-3 times which cut the list down to one. By the third date I knew I was going to marry her. And I wasn't doing this to get married. I had been a bachelor for 17 years at that point. NO intention of getting married again. But by the third date I knew I would. A year later we did get married. And as I said, that was 18 years ago.

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So what happens in the case of gay men? Or is that not allowed...
According to the Japanese, the 'official position' is that there are NO gay people in Japan. Obviously there are just as many gay people in Japan as in any other country. These days more and more are coming out of the closet so the official position is going to have to change. But probably not for another 50 years.

It's only in the last 10 years or so that one could get their ears pierced for ear rings anywhere other than in a doctor's office. Or that tattoo shops stopped being illegal. Or that women could easily get birth control pills. 15 years ago abortion was the number one birth control method. Japan is a very strange culture. It's changing quickly, but it's still very, very strange.


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Old 01-07-2013, 07:46 PM   #35274
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Thank you Stitchawl! This information has been absolutely fascinating!

Do you have any suggested reading material about overall and current Japanese culture?

The media specialist at my eldest son's school took an official education-based trip to Japan some years ago. The Japanese wanted to know how American students were "okay" with failure (isn't that an awful compliment ), and invited a group of American teachers over to exchange ideas.

She brought back many slides and a few souvenirs which she presents to the kids here. One of the things that I actually loved learning, was how ALL of the students were responsible for their school. They helped keep it clean, they helped with lunch, etc. I think that is a fantastic way to teach responsibility, especially away from home. I also like how there was one main backpack, sold for ALL of the children, with a removable flap (or something to that nature) in a color based on grade level.
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Old 01-07-2013, 10:35 PM   #35275
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In seriousness, I thought that divorces were frowned upon and difficult to get in Japan.
One thing I did want to add to this... If there are children, the wife will almost always get total custody, and usually, the husband will never have any future contact with the children. I have two friends who were denied all contact with their kids until the children were old enough to move out on their own and contacted the fathers to re-establish relations. When getting married with a Japanese, it's far more common for a foreign man to take his wife's Japanese name.

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Thank you Stitchawl! This information has been absolutely fascinating!
Do you have any suggested reading material about overall and current Japanese culture?
Unfortunately, most of what is written is not accurate. The closest I've seen so far is called 'Culture Shock - Japan.' It's a series of cross-cultural studies on many different countries, and they do a 'fairly good' job with Japan. There are still plenty of gross inaccuracies. For some reason, Japan has been able to propagate some of the most remarkably wrong but positive information about itself. The one that springs to mind is the concept of it being so crime-free. There is plenty of crime, just not the same kinds of crimes you see in other countries. And the crime statistics are based only on 'solved crimes,' not reported crimes. 2-3 years ago, Osaka Japan was on Interpol's "Top Five" for vehicle theft IN THE WORLD, and number one for motorcycle theft.

The Lonely Planet Guides 'tend' to be a bit more accurate, but even in the newest one for Japan I saw some glaring misconceptions. It's not 'permitted' in Japanese society to even suggest a better way of doing something to your superior... unless you've been drinking. This is the primary REASON why almost all men 'must' go drinking every night after work with their work group. The bonding is vital, but only after a few drinks can any meaningful things be expressed without offending. Otherwise, all talking is just 'tatemae.' Hone and tatemae are keystones to understanding Japanese culture. Without understanding them, there isn't a chance in hell of understanding Japan.

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The media specialist at my eldest son's school took an official education-based trip to Japan some years ago. The Japanese wanted to know how American students were "okay" with failure (isn't that an awful compliment ), and invited a group of American teachers over to exchange ideas.
It might be 'official' but there won't be any changes made. My wife was a teacher for the municipal school system for 20 years. She just quit... in the middle of the school term... She got so fed up with the school's refusal to deal with problem students. There is NO punishment for acting out other than making an apology. In just this school year alone, and only in her school (although it's the same in all schools) a student stabbed another student with a pair of scissors. The 'stabber' only had to apologize. The victim was hospitalized for several days. A few weeks later another student broke a dozen windows in the school. He had to apologize too. His parents weren't even required to pay for the damages. A few weeks later two students attacked a teacher and put her in the hospital. They only had to apologize... No suspension, no detention, not even writing on the board "I must be a good person" 100 times. Nothing. At no time were the police ever called in, because the school felt that this would be damaging to the children's psyche... We will be hearing a LOT about the rising problems of Japan's youth in the next 10 years...

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One of the things that I actually loved learning, was how ALL of the students were responsible for their school. They helped keep it clean, they helped with lunch, etc. I think that is a fantastic way to teach responsibility, especially away from home.
Well... yes, the students do clean the school, are responsible for bringing lunches from the kitchen to the classroom for the class, etc., which is great, but what the visitors DON'T see is that this responsibility isn't transferred to outside situations. Mother does everything at home, and until the child grows up and starts to work, there is responsibility for nothing outside of school. When the start a job after college, the employer sends all new hires to 'basic training' for 4-6 months, where they are taught everything from how to brush their teeth and make their beds, how to fill the copy machine with paper, and how to sweep the floors. That's where they really learn to take responsibility. The girls have 10pm curfews, and the boys must get short haircuts...

The visitors are shown classes of elementary school kids learning math and science that the US schools don't teach until high school. What they DON'T see is that these same students have absolutely no knowledge of the world outside of Japan. They don't get classes in World History, only Japanese history... and ONLY as the Education board had declared 'accurate' rather than what may or may not have actually happened. Anything else learned comes from western movies or TV. In a game of 'Trivial Pursuit,' a western 12 year old will trounce all over a Japanese high school senior and most college students.

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I also like how there was one main backpack, sold for ALL of the children, with a removable flap (or something to that nature) in a color based on grade level.
Those are only for elementary school grades, and the colors 'were' actually red for girls and black for boys rather than grade by grade. But these days, they are allowing the kids to choose their own colors, and in some schools (but not all,) allowing the kids to use nylon daypacks of any color or design rather than the heavy leather traditional packs. The lower grades also get a yellow cover flap and wear yellow hats to make them more visible when walking on the streets at night.

As for learning the culture...

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Old 01-08-2013, 06:00 AM   #35276
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Thanks Stitchy. Fascinating stuff. I had experience if the nomikai when I was over there, where we visited the karaoke bars after work, and all got pretty drunk. There was a marked difference to day time behaviours as their inner honne was let loose. The guy who had brought me out on contract, a Brit and their boss, was something of an assh*le, and it was only during one of these sessions that it became clear that they felt the same way about him as I did.
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Old 01-08-2013, 07:20 AM   #35277
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There is a book by Jake Adelstein titled Tokyo Vice: An American Reporter on the Police Beat in Japan that is pretty shocking. It delves into the crime mobs, the control that they have, how reporting in Japan is done, and the sex trade industry. It is an eye opener.

While I have not lived there, a Sociology class I took in college was pretty eye opening. We discussed how even the "rebel" culture for teens is pretty regulated and controlled. I have never trusted the test scores that say country X is ahead of the US in Math and Science because I know how the testing is done in many other countries (hint, not everyone is tested) and more importantly, how the students are prepped in those specific fields with other classes ignored.

It is a society that is so pent up sooner or later it is going to blow.
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Old 01-08-2013, 08:03 AM   #35278
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There is a book by Jake Adelstein titled Tokyo Vice: An American Reporter on the Police Beat in Japan that is pretty shocking. It delves into the crime mobs, the control that they have, how reporting in Japan is done, and the sex trade industry. It is an eye opener.
In fact, you will find FAR MORE accuracy in fiction novels and non-fiction reportage than you will in the so-called 'culture' books for public consumption

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While I have not lived there, a Sociology class I took in college was pretty eye opening. We discussed how even the "rebel" culture for teens is pretty regulated and controlled.
Not just regulated and controlled but 'protected' as well. About 15 years ago it became quite common for young girls (as young as 12-13 up to 20) to join 'Telephone Clubs.' They joined for free, but men wishing to join had to pay several hundred dollars, for which they received the telephone numbers of the girls. The men could call them up and arrange 'dates.' The girls, absolutely needing Louis Vuitton bags, Gucci shoes, Donna Karan clothing, etc., needed a way to make enough money to pay for them, and this money was NOT to be made working after school in the local 7Eleven... So 13 year olds were turning tricks several nights a week, and getting $400-$1,000 a night, several nights a week. You'd be amazed at how many young girls I'd see around town with all the latest fashion gear... Then the police found out what was going on. But... If they called this 'prostitution,' it might stigmatize the poor young things, or give them criminal records... So they made a new law... Any girl under the age of 20 could only be charged with 'compensated dating,' for which there was no penalty... And the clubs continued to flourish.

The dress codes were modified at the schools so that young people could adapt more western styles. This led to 'Punk' culture and piercing to the point where some kids looked as if they had been hit in the face with a Stirling sliver hand grenade. 20-30 different things stuck through their faces alone. God only knows what else they were wearing. And it was OK in the schools.

In Japan, organized crime is legal... as long as it's not hidden. The Yakuza (Japanese Mafia?) have offices with the gang names on professional signs over the doors. The members are all listed. Japan is a very different place.

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I have never trusted the test scores that say country X is ahead of the US in Math and Science because I know how the testing is done in many other countries (hint, not everyone is tested) and more importantly, how the students are prepped in those specific fields with other classes ignored.
I looked at my niece and nephew in-laws' math books when they were in elementary school and it was too advanced for me. I suffer a learning disorder in Math, but I can recognize the subject matter. I was stuff that we were being taught at the high school level. The science books I could follow though. And those too were what we did at ages 16-17, but my nieces and nephews were about 10 at the time... Japan REALLY does give them Math and Science at levels far above what we were taught in the US... but as you say, almost no learning about the outside world, other languages except by rote memory and almost all written, no speaking skills at all even after 6 years of classes.

The majority of university students that I taught (and they ALL had at least 6 years of prior English, plus passing the English entrance exam for the University) could NOT reply to 'Where did you eat dinner Sunday night?' and many could not respond to 'Where do you live?' Remember, this is after 6 years of prior classes... In the US, we had to read Classics in the language we were studying in the 3rd year; Don Quixote for the Spanish classes and a variety of different books for the French students.

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It is a society that is so pent up sooner or later it is going to blow.
Oh yeah.... And it won't be long now... It's one of the reasons we are moving back to Thailand this summer. This country is going to split at the seams, and the government is going to wonder how it could have happened.


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Old 01-08-2013, 08:15 AM   #35279
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The Adelstein book is very well done. He doesn't pull many punches
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Old 01-08-2013, 08:15 AM   #35280
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Originally Posted by orlok View Post
Thanks Stitchy. Fascinating stuff. I had experience if the nomikai when I was over there, where we visited the karaoke bars after work, and all got pretty drunk. There was a marked difference to day time behaviours as their inner honne was let loose. The guy who had brought me out on contract, a Brit and their boss, was something of an assh*le, and it was only during one of these sessions that it became clear that they felt the same way about him as I did.
Once you've had a drink or two you can NOT be held accountable for anything you say. And they all (mostly) play by that rule. You MUST treat you superiors as Living Gods by day. But after a couple of drinks you can tell them where to get off... and no harm will come to you.

And 'superior' doesn't just mean your boss. It means anyone who was hired before you too. Seniority plays into everything here, even in college social clubs. I had a student who told me that she joined the university Ski Club, and that they were going skiing that weekend. I said 'I'm sure you will love the skiing as there was a good snowfall during the week.' She said "Oh, I won't be allowed to ski. I'm just a Freshman so all I do this year is carry the skis and boots for one of the elder club members. Then next year I will be allowed to put on boots and practice walking around in them. In my Junior year I will be given basic lessons by one of the seniors and permitted to practice on the Bunny slope. Then in my Senior year, I will teach a Junior the basic lessons, then take more advance lessons from the ski intsructors at the ski area." Japan is a very different place...


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