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'busy' JGF, veteran gaijins only plz.

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  • 'busy' JGF, veteran gaijins only plz.

    OK, been lurking for a couple years, time I came out o' the shadows. Dating a Japanese career girl who is actually very busy at her job - requires weekends, super-long hours, etc. We're doing it long distance for now, but the plan is to reunite in Tokyo within 6 months. Til then, I've insisted that we have SOME sort of communication weekly, just to keep some momentum going. She claims there are times when she is 'super busy' and that means strictly no contact with her whatsoever, even emails go unanswered. Pretty sure there's no cheating going on as she's 40 (as am I) and not particularly attractive or fashionable. IMHO, her stance on communication (or lack thereof) is totally extreme and I've never heard of anybody dealing with so little before. My question to the GP'ers: Is this in fact normal with Japanese career people? To all the playas about to write, 'man up and dump that _____', I certainly will if I determine that she's jerking me around. But if it's 'normal' in Japan, then I think I have the responsibility to deal with it the best I can, at least until I can't no more.

    Another question: She complains that I can't 'read the atmosphere (kuuku wo yomu)' -- well it's nigh impossible via email communication, and anyway tough in cross-cultural relationships. Does she have some sort of unrealistic idea of a perfect man who nobody can live up to (thus she's still single at 40), or do I need to dive into the secret world of atmosphere reading?

    AND! When I call I just put it on speakerphone and let it ring until she either picks up or it disconnects. She complains that that is '____sukoi' by letting the phone continue to ring. WTF, I thought Japan was a modern country and people would have voicemail. Not true? Is it acceptable in Japan to ignore a call? Here in the States, if I got a call during a bad time, I'd answer quickly and ask to call back later, if possible, or fire off a quick text to the other party.

    Thanks in advance for your input.
    Last edited by imnotawino; 2013-02-17, 03:03 AM.

  • #2
    Sorry, can't seem to edit the thread name. Gaijin or Japanese, male or female welcome to participate in this thread. 'Veteran' means I was hoping to get some perspective from people who are in long-term relationships.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by imnotawino View Post
      Sorry, can't seem to edit the thread name. Gaijin or Japanese, male or female welcome to participate in this thread. 'Veteran' means I was hoping to get some perspective from people who are in long-term relationships.
      Try Skype or some kind of web chat. It's the best for keeping in touch, since you can see the person. Schedule a weekly time and then stick to it. Even then it is kinda hard. And for some reason the girls I dated in Japan never did the voicemail thing either. Maybe they think it's rude? I have no clue.

      She also might be thinking you are gonna dump her at any moment, since usually that's what people do when it becomes long-distance.

      Good luck!

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by jerseykid View Post
        ... Schedule a weekly time and then stick to it.
        Thanks for the feedback! That is exactly what I proposed (over Skype) the other day, and she acted like I'd demanded a daily Bento and BJ from her. From my admittedly Western perspective, just a quick 10 minute phone, chat or even email once a week is the bare minimum you need to sustain a long distance relationship. Any less than that, and you're just penpals. I'm hoping to find out if this 'too busy/exhausted to even fire off a quick email' is common in Japan, and thus something I need to learn how to deal with. Would a Japanese man in my situation feel that she was being unreasonable? If I determine that she's just being lazy, then yes, she shall be dumped quite unceremoniously.

        Comment


        • #5
          I think you need to look at it as more of an individual quirk or personality thing and not a Japanese vs Western thing. When I was in a long distance relationship (Tokyo, Kyoto) we skyped nearly every day (at her prompting).
          Anyone invested in a relationship is never too busy to fire off an email or return a phone call. A relationship only works when people work at it.
          Finally, ask yourself this question, if the long distance relationship becomes local distance, how exactly will her behaviour change?

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Kanto_Blitz View Post
            I think you need to look at it as more of an individual quirk or personality thing and not a Japanese vs Western thing. When I was in a long distance relationship (Tokyo, Kyoto) we skyped nearly every day (at her prompting).
            Anyone invested in a relationship is never too busy to fire off an email or return a phone call. A relationship only works when people work at it.
            Finally, ask yourself this question, if the long distance relationship becomes local distance, how exactly will her behaviour change?

            I agree with the above. She is telling you to get lost and you are not hearing it. try another fish.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Kanto_Blitz View Post
              Finally, ask yourself this question, if the long distance relationship becomes local distance, how exactly will her behaviour change?
              Ouch. THAT is the question I was afraid to ask.

              I did ask her point blank "does 'busy' mean you don't want to see me any more? Or does busy mean you are actually too busy to even write one email?' She replied the latter. I think at this point I'll just stop the pursuit, be polite with any further communication with her, and with any luck, when I get to Tokyo I'll have a ready sefure.

              Comment


              • #8
                My instinct is that your girlfriend is not messing you about and that she is genuinely that busy.

                I've experienced this cult-like slavishness to the organisation in Japanese people a few times (including in my wife). However unreasonable the demands made of them at work and however resentful they are of them, they'll work into the small hours to do what is asked of them (or what they think is asked of them) to the detriment of their health and personal life. I suspect that you will not be happy if you come to Japan as your girlfriend sounds the type who will unhesitatingly put work first and you second instead of trying to strike a happy balance between her work's needs, her needs and your needs. I've got a wife who genuinely loves me but I spend absolutely no couple time with (having two young children doesn't help there) because of the way she's decided to devote her energies to childrearing and her job.

                One thought about communication: in my experience, Japanese people tend to like text messages - it gives them something to do and a feeling of connection when they are commuting if they can exchange messages with someone. It is also a means of communication that is not '____sukoi'.

                Comment


                • #9
                  "Is this in fact normal with Japanese career people?"
                  Yes, it's normal. Is she really that busy, not particularly interested, or cheating? Who knows with that little of communication.
                  Everyone in the world, even the President of Toyota has enough time to fire off a 10 second text message before going to bed or when waking up in the morning. If she's really into you, she will do it.

                  "Does she have some sort of unrealistic idea of a perfect man who nobody can live up to"
                  No idea. That's one for you to answer. Japanese in general are hard to read, so that is fairly normal.

                  "I just put it on speakerphone and let it ring until she either picks up or it disconnects."
                  This sound really annoying, but honestly it's her problem for not picking up. It's just as rude to ignore a call as it is to make the call.

                  Japanese avoid confrontation, where Westerners like to know where they stand (in general).
                  It seems to me from the very small amount of information you shared that she is likely less interested in you (or men in general) than she is with work and/or herself.
                  If you really like her, visit her in person. Let her know how you feel. Tell her you love her and want to be with her every day, regardless if she is tired or busy. Tell her you think work is less important than family/friends/relationships and that you'd rather have less money and more of her. If she agrees, great. If she rejects those ideas, it hurts for a short time, but it's better for both parties in the long run.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by cucashopboy View Post
                    My instinct is that your girlfriend is not messing you about and that she is genuinely that busy.
                    This is my instinct too. This girl can be brutally honest.

                    Originally posted by cucashopboy View Post
                    I've experienced this cult-like slavishness to the organisation in Japanese people a few times (including in my wife). However unreasonable the demands made of them at work and however resentful they are of them, they'll work into the small hours to do what is asked of them (or what they think is asked of them) to the detriment of their health and personal life. I suspect that you will not be happy if you come to Japan as your girlfriend sounds the type who will unhesitatingly put work first and you second instead of trying to strike a happy balance between her work's needs, her needs and your needs. I've got a wife who genuinely loves me but I spend absolutely no couple time with (having two young children doesn't help there) because of the way she's decided to devote her energies to childrearing and her job.
                    Yes, this kind of slave mentality is something I've read about before, but never really experienced firsthand. Weird thing is, when things get tough for her, it seems she throws herself into the work even more. It seems so unhealthy and frankly, bizarre. Ultimately, it's her life to live how she wants. Fortunately, my life doesn't revolve around this girl, and I've got plenty of other things to do. If I ever start my own company, I guess this is the kind of employees I'd be looking for!

                    Originally posted by cucashopboy View Post
                    One thought about communication: in my experience, Japanese people tend to like text messages - it gives them something to do and a feeling of connection when they are commuting if they can exchange messages with someone. It is also a means of communication that is not '____sukoi'.
                    Are you referring to keitai email? I asked about SMS, and she said they don't have that in Japan, and my Google Fu was inconclusive. I think I will just stick to a bi-weekly 'how ya doin' email in order to keep a minimum level of mindshare.

                    Thanks cucashopboy and others. It's great to get some outside feedback on this.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by imnotawino View Post
                      ... My question to the GP'ers: Is this in fact normal with Japanese career people?
                      No.

                      Imo, it has less to do with a busy career and more with how she feels about the relationship.


                      Originally posted by imnotawino View Post
                      ...Another question: She complains that I can't 'read the atmosphere (kuuku wo yomu)' -- well it's nigh impossible via email communication, and anyway tough in cross-cultural relationships. Does she have some sort of unrealistic idea of a perfect man who nobody can live up to (thus she's still single at 40), or do I need to dive into the secret world of atmosphere reading?

                      AND! When I call I just put it on speakerphone and let it ring until she either picks up or it disconnects. She complains that that is '____sukoi' by letting the phone continue to ring. WTF, I thought Japan was a modern country and people would have voicemail. Not true? Is it acceptable in Japan to ignore a call? Here in the States, if I got a call during a bad time, I'd answer quickly and ask to call back later, if possible, or fire off a quick text to the other party.
                      Either she's trying to end this relationship or is so self-absorbed the last thing you want is to get further involved.

                      Find someone new. Your instincts are telling you something is off here and they are right.
                      Last edited by Ken44; 2013-02-17, 10:08 AM.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        My feeling is that she's putting into the relationship what she's getting out of it. She's 40, and she's spent most of her life "working" , she's not going to become an obsessed teenager over a long distance relationship. The problem is that you two really are pen pals, and your trying to see it as more then what it is. It's not dating to spend Saturday night on the phone or a computer talking with someone you aren't in love with. If she's going to spend that kind of time on a relationship, it needs to be real, real contact, real activities and real intimacy. Your asking her to spend real time "playing" as a couple.

                        They do have SMS texting here, everyone does. What's really happening is she doesn't want to have to look at her phone 20 times a day to read your cutesy text when she needs to be focusing on business texts.
                        Last edited by vallient; 2013-02-17, 09:59 AM.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by imnotawino View Post
                          1) This girl can be brutally honest.
                          2) I asked about SMS, and she said they don't have that in Japan
                          3) I think I will just stick to a bi-weekly 'how ya doin' email in order to keep a minimum level of mindshare.
                          1 - if she's brutally honest, ask her why she doesn't have time to send you a text message before going to sleep at night. Does she have time to pee? If so, she can send a message then.
                          2 - this brutally honest girl is a liar. Cell phones in Japan have the technology to not only send messages, but even make phone calls.
                          3 - that's not a relationship.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by 1standarduser View Post
                            3 - that's not a relationship.
                            Completely agree.

                            Good points made by everybody. I guess this girl is not worth my time, as I'm not worth hers.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by imnotawino View Post
                              This is my instinct too. This girl can be brutally honest.

                              Yes, this kind of slave mentality is something I've read about before, but never really experienced firsthand. Weird thing is, when things get tough for her, it seems she throws herself into the work even more. It seems so unhealthy and frankly, bizarre. Ultimately, it's her life to live how she wants. Fortunately, my life doesn't revolve around this girl, and I've got plenty of other things to do. If I ever start my own company, I guess this is the kind of employees I'd be looking for!

                              Are you referring to keitai email? I asked about SMS, and she said they don't have that in Japan, and my Google Fu was inconclusive. I think I will just stick to a bi-weekly 'how ya doin' email in order to keep a minimum level of mindshare.

                              Thanks cucashopboy and others. It's great to get some outside feedback on this.

                              The good news: she probably is that busy, or at least thinks she is that busy. ("Inaction in motion" is a phrase I heard on GP once to describe this phenomenon, and I think it's brilliant.)

                              The bad news: she probably won't make any more time for you once you are physically there.

                              Bottom line: move on.

                              Bluntly,
                              A.

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