Today, I'd like to talk about expressing love and care between Japanese people. I think it also depends on the style of the two people, but the Japanese have a unique way of doing so.
Ever since I was a child, I could not understand why my mother always spoke badly about me to her friends. She was always talking down to me, she never told me she loved me, she never complimented me, and I always felt she worried too much about me. Being of Japanese descent, I was always envious of my "White" friends whose parents constantly complimented them, babied them, or let them do what they wanted. I always thought, "It's not fair! Why does my family always treat me like this? Why can't she just let go of me?" This is something I could not understand for many many years, until I finally came here.
I did not realize a lot of this, until I actually met my girlfriend (who coincidentally, reminds me of my mother). A lot of the times that we are together, she is always worried (or "sinpai" siteru) about my health, my looks, everyday life, and well-being. This resulted in the following:
- She tries to improve my physical appearance.
- She tries to take care of all my immediate needs (food, clothes, etc.).
- She tries to take over my responsibilities.
- She refrains from showering me with compliments and talks down about me in front of others when we are together.
- If she does compliment, if I get too excited about it, she will deny it completely.
To your typical American, this might be considered "annoying," "controlling," or "bossy." What is misunderstood here is that Japanese women won't be as expressive about their love to you in words.. instead, it will be through their actions. Even if they are angry or even complaining about how difficult it is to take care of you, it is their way of showing you how much they love you. Being able to look past the expression on their face and reading their true mind and heart is important to understanding the gestures of anyone Japanese. This is just common-knowledge here in this country.
In terms of a romantic relationship, a woman knows they can change your "looks" and appearance to fit their needs fairly easily.. but if they can feel that you focus only on them, that is everything they need. The woman is always thinking about how to shape their lives around yours and make you the center of their life. The responsibility of a man is to make sure they always feel taken care of, safe, loved, and that they are mostly happy. While this is not applicable to everyone, especially with the clash of modern vs tradition views, this may apply to a number of women here.
While I am not your typical "American" or "Japanese," I feel that going the extra mile to let people know how much you appreciate them, both in words and actions, will bring you more than enough love and affection back. Make sure you are as honest as possible, because they are sensitive enough to read past your words and know when you are not. Understanding this type of affection and unspoken communication is crucial to being with someone totally Japanese.