This time we speak to a different girl, Emiko, who is in a relationship with a British man living in Japan.
No word for "付き合い"?
Interviewer:Nice to meet you Emiko. I'd like to talk to you a little bit about your experiences with your British boyfriend. First of all, how is it going out with a foreign man? Good? Anything particularly good or bad about it?
Emiko:There's many good things. He is very direct. For example when we first went out together, he bought me a bouquet of flowers. He was making it clear that he liked me. I had never received one from a guy before, so it was a wonderful surprise. In terms of puzzling things… I guess that there is no word in English for "付き合い".
Beginning a natural relationship
Interviewer:Really? So there isn't a word for that? So how did you first feel like you were in a relationship?
Emiko:Well they have the word "going out" but it's a little different, and there is no particular time when you start to use it.
The first time it felt official to me was when we met one of his friends and he asked if I was his girlfriend he confidently replied yes. I guess it was no big deal to me as he already felt like it was official, but it was quite a big deal for me as it was the first time to hear it from him.
Afterwards he explained that it's kind of official for them after a few dates together… it's just kind of assumed that you're boyfriend and girlfriend. It could be viewed by some women as a negative, and ironically as quite indirect (when foreign men are usually very direct), but it's not like that... it's just a different culture.
Interviewer:So, are there any difficulties you feel in your relationship now?
Emiko:Well, I guess just that he has lots of opinions about everything. For example, the other day after we watched a movie at the cinema. I asked him afterwards what he thought. Although I kinda wanted him to just say ‘it was good' and then shut up, he started going on about which aspects were good, and which aspects should have been better (laughs). It wasn't really a problem, but it did distract me a little from my mood as the credits were rolling.
Interviewer:Haha. Yes. I can understand how that might be grating. I guess his having strong opinions can be a good thing too though?
Emiko:Absolutely. I think it's important to have opinions, and that Japanese people in general don't have enough of them, always leaving it to others. Being able to speak to different people in a different language also helps with that.
Interviewer:Great. So those cons in your relationship are also pros when looked at differently. Good for you!