My name is Yuta Aoki. I came up with the idea of this book in 2013. I'd always felt there wasn't enough information about Japanese dating scene in English, and I knew some people who had very interesting experiences that didn't fit the stereotype.

Writing the book was nothing but fun. I interviewed over 30 people, and I thoroughly enjoyed listening to their stories. I also add my explanation of cultural contexts to each story.

My book is called There's Something I Want to Tell You: True Stories of Mixed Dating in Japan. Here's the Amazon link:

As for me, I was born and raised in Japan, and had a full Japanese education. I'm quite well travelled (I've been to about 30 countries.) I date internationally and I'm pretty much open to date any nationality/ethnicity. More about me here:

So, ask me anything! Dating related questions are especially welcome. I will start answering from 7pm EST


[Edit] OK, I'm going to bed now. But I will continue answering questions tomorrow when I have time. So, go ahead and ask more questions. See you guys soon! Yuta - 12:12 EST

Comments: 434 • Responses: 81  • Date: 

cincailah64 karma

Hi Yuta! I am glad that you are doing the AMA, I have been following your Youtube channel and it is very interesting to see a Japanese talking about Japan, in English (thank god)!

  • How does the Japaense society, in general, perceive the interracial couple? I am under the impression that Japanese at large are conservative, the interracial relationship is still something that raises eyebrow.
  • From your observation, which combo of couple is more common, Japanese man+foreigner woman or Japanese woman+foreigner man?
  • What is term, if any, Japanese use for women who only go out with Caucasian men? In this part of world I am in now (Singapore/Malaysia), they are portrayed as SPG (sarong party girl) in media, this term can be somewhat offensive in a way.

thatyuta72 karma

  • Japanese people can have mixed views towards interracial couples, They can be quite judgemental or overly complimentary. For example, when I was going out with a while girl, some people randomly said that she was beautiful. It wouldn't have happened if she had been a Japanese, or Asian girl.
  • As far as the marriage is concerned, Japanese men/foreign women couples are far more common in Japan. Most of those Japanese men are married to other Asian women. When it comes to western people, I think western men/Japanese women couples are more common.
  • I don't think we have a specific term in mainland Japan. However, in Okinawa, they seems to have a word amejo which means women who go out with American GIs.

pomido9 karma

Doesn't 外専 [gaisen] work as a (negatively nuanced?) term?

thatyuta16 karma

I have the impression that gaisen is most commonly used amongst gay men, although technically, you can use it for any Japanese people. In the LGBT context, I don't think it's negatively used. (But I'm not completely sure.) Also, when I saw '外専' you wrote, first thing came up in my mind was pornography.

pomido9 karma

Ah! I only know the terms since my girlfriend's friends tease her with the word as both her ex boyfriend and I are white! Could its use be a generational thing?

thatyuta3 karma

Possibly. Or maybe it's more used in certain demographics. Or maybe they use it on TV. (I don't really watch TV).

JustinTime1125 karma

I don't think we have a specific term in mainland Japan.

Huh. So is 外人ハンター a term invented by the expat community?

thatyuta37 karma

Gaijin hunger is more of an English word than a Japanese word.

throwmemars63 karma

What are some signals that Japanese women give to let other men know they are interested in a romantic relationship?

thatyuta138 karma

For example:

  • She texts you back, and ask a question.
  • She texts you when there's no apparent reason.
  • She's up for meeting you alone.
  • She compliments you a lot. Or, over-agrees with you.
  • She says, 'Please ask me out again,' after a date.
  • She laughs more than necessary. (But this is a weak sign if you are an English speaking man and she doesn't speak English well. She might just be nervous speaking English.)
  • She doesn't say 'I'm busy this month' when you ask her out, and she gives a detailed reason why a particular date is not convenient for her.

Writing those makes me feel kind of romantic haha. She won't probably say 'I like you' directly. So look for subtle sings.

Hagu_TL35 karma

Busy this month!? I'm glad I haven't heard that one yet.

But after reading this, I've got a good feeling about my current, budding relationship. Then again, culturally speaking, how fast or slow is one generally expected to take a relationship in Japan at 25 years old?

I successfully passed the 告白 (EDIT: The easiest one, 「前から気になっていた」) test a few weeks ago with a former coworker of equal age, and although we met up for the first time in months last Friday and have have tentative plans to meet up sometime this week, I haven't actually said something like 俺と付き合ってください yet. Frankly, I'm not even sure if I'm ready for that.

I recognize that this is a vague and unspecific question; I ask because my previous, botched relationship with an アラサーバツイチ was propelled way too fast. The method and circumstances of our meeting was not entirely unlike the story of the British man in your book, actually. But I feel twinges of guilt and disgust whenever I remember how said アラサー was literally all over me from our first date.

Statistically speaking then, what are some (dated) milestones of dating in Japan?

thatyuta21 karma

I love your stories! Statistically speaking, a kokuhaku is most likely to happen on the third date, and from that time, you are officially a couple. Some people who are not used to western-style dating are a little bit concerned about the absence of kokuhaku.

In a way, it's very easy to get a Japanese girlfriend/boyfriend. All you have to do is kokuhaku.

After that, it pretty much depends on the couple. Well, it depends on whether you (or she) are thinking of getting married or not. Some people specifically look for a marriage partner.

QMario32 karma

So help me out here, could you briefly describe what kokuhaku is? This comment chain has me incredibly lost :/

thatyuta50 karma

Kokuhaku can be translated as 'confession of love'. It's an act of telling someone you like her with the intention of asking her to be your girlfriend. It's often considered a proper way of starting a relationship in Japan.

...I should probably post that on urbandictionary haha

QMario6 karma

Aha! Thanks for the AMA! It's really nice to see someone replying to everything, plus it's super interesting too!

Do you think I would get an incredibly surprised reaction from Japanese people in general if I tell them I'm a white male from South Africa? I've had several people from outside SA get incredibly confused by this.

Can't blame them, it isn't normal to know the nuances of a country that isn't a regional power :)

thatyuta2 karma

I tend to get caught up in social media :D

Do you think I would get an incredibly surprised reaction from Japanese people in general if I tell them I'm a white male from South Africa?

Yeah, it's totally possible. The average Japanese people know very little about African in general.

Hagu_TL4 karma

Very informative, thanks! It sounds like I've still got some time, but I'd probably better get my act together for the next stage of 告白.

thatyuta5 karma

Good luck mate!

cptstupendous19 karma

Hmmm... what do you think of /r/tsunderesharks?

thatyuta13 karma

Hahaha, it's pretty fun and cute :D

Organic_Peach15 karma

A lot of these things apply to women in american/western culture too.

Good to know that ladies are the same everywhere, haha.

thatyuta12 karma

We are all human beings after all!

throwmemars2 karma

The next question then is, what is an appropriate time/setting to say either:




More so I'm curious what is implied by them...

As I currently understand it, the former is like "Let's go steady"

The latter is like "I love you" and implies a deeper interest whereas the former implies you're ready to move it to the next level....

thatyuta6 karma

Both can mean 'I live you, do you want to be my girlfriend?' A typical line would be 好きです followed by 付き合ってください. But if you just say 好きです when you are not already an couple, she will think that you want her to be your girlfriend.

Note that non-steady relationships are not the norm in Japan. Also, there's no distinction between 'I like you' and 'I love you' in Japan.

thombudsman50 karma

What are some common problems international couples run into? And how do people generally overcome them?

thatyuta75 karma

There is one problem that many western women/Japanese men couples seem to have: lack of verbal communication from Japanese men. I think the best scenario is when both of them are willing to work on it. Western women can learn more about how Japanese men send non-verbal messages, and Japanese men about how to talk about what they have in mind.

As for western men/Japanese women couples, I often see unmatched expectations. I've known many cases where western men wanted something more serious than Japanese women. (I'm sure this also happens other way around though.)

MariaCallas39 karma

What do average Japanese peoole think of lesbians? I'm a woman currently living in Japan with a female western partner. I've only talked about it with a few people who didn't share my persuasion or hadn't lived abroad for an extended period of time, and while they were polite they seemed mostly confused.

thatyuta66 karma

I think general attitude towards LGBT people in Japan is somewhat close to 'Don't ask, don't tell'. They are almost never hostile to LGBT people, but they don't really want to talk about it either. Also, the LGBT community in Japan is not very vocal. You very rarely hear Japanese people talk about gay rights. Religion might be one thing. I don't think the majority of Japanese people have strong opinions about LGBT people.

LeahBrahms8 karma

As a follow on question would PDA's between same sex (foreign) couples be frowned upon or seen as attention seeking? It an expectation to keep LGBT relationships behind closed doors.

thatyuta20 karma

PDA's between same-sex couples in general are very rarely observed in Japan. I've only seen them in ni-chome, which again is a gay district in Tokyo.

thatyuta2 karma

Tokyo's Shibuya ward is planning to give same-sex couples the same rights as married couple:

I'm ecstatic to hear this!

chinese_drugs31 karma

Why do you think white/Japanese couples are usually white man/Japanese woman and not Japanese man/white woman? I'm a white woman married to a Japanese man, and I don't understand it at all.

I've heard some people say that it's because Japanese men are seen as less masculine and white women are seen as less feminine. But is that really the reason? It doesn't fit with my perception at all, but is that how other people see it? Or is there some other reason?

thatyuta60 karma

There might be many reasons, but I think one important reason is that women tend to consider white men particularly desirable.

I've heard some people say that it's because Japanese men are seen as less masculine and white women are seen as less feminine. But is that really the reason?

I think it's possible. But I think the reason is much more complex than that. There's actually an interesting article about this.

ForensicBeanCounter31 karma

What was one of your favorite stories from the interviews?

thatyuta62 karma

I only chose the most interesting stories in my book, so I love all of them. But that's an boring answer. So, here are some of my most favourite ones:

  • Nadia: she is an African-American woman. Her husband hit on her on the street. She walked away that time but later that night, she bumped into him again at a party! Her story is one of the reasons I wrote the book.
  • Tomoko: she is a bisexual Japanese girl educated in an international school. Her dating stories are so over-the-top! She had a Japanese boyfriend who ran 40km (24miles) to meet her; an American ex-boyfriend who showed up in front of her house without telling her when he was supposed to be in the States etc.
  • Joshua: he is a Kenyan guy. He makes me realise that being a black African can be quite different from being an African American in Japan. This kind of thing is hard for us (non African) to notice.

And so on!

HalvirHroptr23 karma

His makes me realise that being a black African can be quite different from being an African American in Japan.

How so? What's the difference between being an African American in Japan and being straight up African? How are they generally viewed/treated?

thatyuta63 karma

The Kenyan guy says that he met Japanese women who specifically wanted to date African-American men. Some of his African friends would pretend to be American to get girls. He also mentioned that many people have trouble seeing him beyond the usual African stereotypes.

noogin21 karma

I have gaijin friends in Okinawa who would chat to girls in clubs/bars, and everything would be going great until they mentioned they weren't american military. As soon as they mention that the girls lose all interest.

thatyuta22 karma

Yeah that's exactly what he was talking about.

Rikkana_The_Fairy26 karma

Since you have travelled so much, where do you think is the best place to raise a kid?

thatyuta25 karma

That's a tough question. France seems to be a good country to raise a kid, but I am not a fan of higher education there. So maybe France when children are little, and then move somewhere else (maybe Britain, or the Status if I have money) for higher education.

sirwobblz18 karma

German here who has nevet lived in Germany. Went to school in France and then went to Australia for univeristy and studied Japanese. Now with Japanese girlfriend in Japan but will move back to Europe soon. Higher education in France really didn't appeal to me. Very happy i went to Australia.

thatyuta18 karma

One good thing about European universities--excluding British ones--are they tend to be free and very cheap. I'm especially curious about Nordic universities.

SunnyChannel11 karma

Nordic (Norwegian) here! Our education system is in my personal opinion kinda slow from elementary school to high school (everyone is supposed to be "equal") but in university we get scholarships and lots of personal freedom.

I can recommend studying here as long as you can handle the cold winter months.

thatyuta4 karma

Nice! I've also heard that many universities are free.

acdn20 karma

Thanks for doing this AMA!

  • Can you describe a typical Japanese hook-up scenario where two strangers meet and decide to go to bed together?

  • I heard a rumor that it is a custom in Japan for both people to bathe before and after sex. If you are at someone's place and they invite you to use the bath, it is implied they want to have sex with you. Is that true?

thatyuta40 karma

  • A hook-up can happen at a gokon. A gokon is a party in an restaurant or in an izakawa and you usually have the equal numbers of men are women. People go there to find a girlfriend or boyfriend but hook-ups can happen. A typical scenario would be the guy asking a girl to come back to his house after the party. This is called mochikaeri (take-way).
  • I've heard about that too! But personally, I don't take a shower before sex. I have a funny episode about that actually. Once, a Japanese girl invited me to her flat and she randomly took a shower. But I, being young and foolish, assumed that she just wanted to take a shower! I did eventually figure out what she wanted though :)

Badger_Ass_Face17 karma

What two cultures do you think are the least compatible? Which ones are the most compatible?

thatyuta62 karma

Amongst western cultures, I think Japanese culture and American culture are one of the least compatible even though Japanese-American couples are common. American culture (especially in the northern regions) tend to be quite low-context and extroverted, which is almost the opposite of Japanese culture.

Most compatible ones would be other Asian cultures. There are definitely a lot of similarities between Japan, Korean, and China, probably more than people in those countries want to admit :D

Asyx8 karma

Yeah watching Americans living in Japan on YouTube is always funny. They always equate "the West" with "America" and then say something like "yeah... the Japanese think that's a bit weird" and then I'm like "yeah... we do as well..."

thatyuta2 karma

I tend to think the USA is very different from many other western countries in many ways.

nametheoccupation16 karma

I discovered your blog through this AMA and I have to say that I really enjoy your writing. Your style is clear and direct, but also grabs my interest and gives me a sense of your personality. How did you develop your writing skills, and what advice would you give to someone who wants to write better?

thatyuta38 karma

Thanks a lot for your comment! It makes me happy.

I'm still working on my writing skills, but here are a few things I always have in mind:

  • Cut out the fluff as much as possible. If a sentence or a word doesn't add anything new to the text, edit it out.
  • Avoid generalities. Instead of saying 'in today's society, people rely on digital communication more than ever,' say 'I got dumped via Reddit yesterday.'
  • If you get bored while writing, it's probably boring. Start again.

I'm also a big fan of James Altucher's writing tips, although I don't necessarily follow all his advice.

Rikkana_The_Fairy14 karma

If you write more books, what will they be about? Any ideas?

thatyuta38 karma

I'm already writing a next book! It's about what it's like to grow up in Japan but it's going to be much more than an usual autobiography/mémoire. For example, I talk a lot about popular video games, amine, manga amongst kids in the 90s and why it was popular. So, it's also a mini-history (but a very subjective one) and analysis of Japanese popular culture.

prefinished7 karma

This sounds very fascinating! Do you have any sort of timetable or is this a it's done when it's done?

(Edit: I'm definitely picking up this book too... once I get my Kindle fixed/replaced.)

thatyuta5 karma

It's done when it's done! I have a day job, so it's not always easy to find time :)

If you have any suggestions (what I should talk about in my book etc.) please let me know!

prefinished2 karma

I completely understand you there. I will definitely keep an eye out for it over time. Keep at it!

From your description, I think this will fill another missing space of information. I personally would be very interested to learn about Japanese youths' perceptions about the rest of the world, as I know what I've learned myself through research as an adult is vastly different from what I'd imagined growing up (if relevant to your narrative, of course).

thatyuta3 karma

That's a good one! Thanks!

GalcomMadwell1 karma

Awesome. I find Japanese gaming in the 90s very interesting so this book is right up my alley. I will definitely get it! One thing I've always wondered is why art style has changed so much between the 90s and now in Japanese manga and games. It used to be very cute and chubby like akira toriyama and now it is much more "pretty boy" and dramatic and the girls seem less confident and more demure. It also seems like there was more sci fi and fantasy back then and now it's a lot more romance and high school drama. Even the stuff that is fantasy these days seems to be set in a highschool. Haha. Any thoughts why it's changed so much? I miss the charm of the old days.

thatyuta2 karma

I am not quite in touch with the current manga trends, but that kind of sounds like American Hip-Hop. It used to be more political/social but now there are a lot of romantic rappers. Maybe it's something global?

Rikkana_The_Fairy2 karma

Ohh I can't wait to read that one too! I'm a huge fan of the book you just released!

thatyuta4 karma

Thanks a lot!

tta20132 karma

It would definitely be interesting to also approach on the global influence of manga, anime, and video games. Especially considering the popularity here in the U.S. Quite a bit of my friends at least has a Crunchyroll app on their iPhones.

thatyuta9 karma

I also think it will be interesting to write about what Japanese people think of films and anime from other countries.

taillesspigeon414 karma

That sounds fascinating. I've always been amazed by the differences in social norms regarding sex and sexual expression between Japanese and Western cultures. Did you find that any of the individuals you worked with for the book experienced any sort of paradigm shift with regard to those norms (i.e. the Japanese person in a given relationship found him/herself thinking about sex with a more "Western" mindset)?

thatyuta14 karma

Absolutely. An American girl told me that she was able to improve her sex life by encouraging her ex-boyfriend to be more open about it. She says that after talking about it, he was more willing to try new things and make things better.

Soupuu13 karma

One time I was stopped by an older man in an Ueno temple and was given a lecture about how Japanese women talk/interact with foreigners and study abroad, but Japanese men do not. In my experience, most of the Japanese foreign exchange students I've met have pretty much been all women as well. Do you feel this is the case, that predominately Japanese women study abroad? If so, what do you think is the reason that men don't?

thatyuta37 karma

I definitely feel that's the case. According to this statistics, the number of Japanese women who participate in foreign exchange programmes are twice as high:

I think the reason is somewhat complicated. There's a stereotype that Japanese men are not very well received in western countries. I also have the impression that many Japanese men are not confident in their social skills and afraid to make mistakes. Fear of unknown etc.

I think I need to do more research on this!

masonmason2211 karma

Is it common for Japanese guys to be really controlling of their girlfriends/wives?

I'm living in Japan and my Japanese girlfriend's female friends all seem to be on a very tight leash, eg: Don't see your friends without permission, be home with dinner made every day.

My girlfriend seemed surprised when I didn't mind her seeing friends, among other things. Generally the treatment of female spouses by males seems... harsh to me. Have you found the same in your studies? Does it differ when a Japanese man dates a non-Japanese woman?

thatyuta10 karma

I think the word 'controlling' doesn't necessarily apply in the Japanese context. Western men doing that in western countries might be seen as 'controlling' but in Japan, I don't think it's seen as controlling, especially in the traditionally-minded demographic.

Having said this, I have the impression that Japanese men who date western women tend to be more relaxed in that aspect. I think any reasonable man understands that if he marries someone from a different culture on equal terms, he can't do everything on his own way.

For example, I have an African-American friend who is married to a Japanese man. She has no problem with hanging out with me just the two of us. Once, we bumped into her husband completely by chance. He was also with his females friend, and they were completely cool about that. Mind you, this Japanese man is not really a 'westernised' Japanese guy. He's quite traditionally Japanese.

Dino5aurzz9 karma

What was your Inspiration behind writing these books? Any personal stories?

thatyuta15 karma

There was one story a friend of mine told me that I always wanted to share. (She's in my book as Nadia by the way.) Her husband hit on her on the street. She walked away that time, but she bumped into him again at her friend's party later that night.

Another friend of mine told me how he met his Japanese wife. When he met her, he didn't speak Japanese very well. And she didn't speak English at all because she was more like a traditional Japanese girl. He told me how hard it was for him to communicate with her in the beginning, but , he made an effort because he really liked her. (He also ended up in my book!)

I really liked their stories, partly because they were interesting and beautiful, and partly because they didn't fit the Japanese stereotype. I felt like there would be some more interesting stories out there.

Also, I'd dated some non-Japanese girls, and I wanted to know what everybody was doing :)

wierdo50008 karma

Hello, I am going to buy your book because I am thoroughly interested in the subject! In fact it will be the first book I have read for pleasure in quite ! Anyways, I am a navy officer here in Japan and I'd like to ask: awhile * what kinds of behavior/mannerisms or words tend to cause Japanese women to lose attraction?

  • I know in america couples (and potential ones) tend to communicate throughout the day via text or something similar; is that the case in Japan?

  • finally, I am of Taiwanese descent and sometimes people think I am Japanese because I can speak decent Japanese and I am oriental as far as appearances go. A lot of women say I am attractive, handsome, etc. But it seems like these are just empty compliments. I wonder if there is anything I can do better when it comes to flirting/talking?

Thank you very much!

thatyuta10 karma

  • Japanese people are generally into texting, but it really depends on the person. For example, compared to the Sates, I think Japanese couples meet up less often. Here, going on a date once or twice a week is normal.
  • I tend to find Taiwanese people--both women and men--quite attractive. So I don't think they are lying!

I think the best way of finding out if a Japanese girl is interested in you is to ask her out. Ask for her number/Line/Facebook first, flirt a bit, and then ask her out (but I think this is pretty much the same everywhere.) If she wants to meet you alone, that's a good sign.

As for talking, you can tell her you really enjoying talking to her. If you say that in Japanese, it can quite flirtatious :)

JustVan7 karma

How prevalent is the desire for Japanese women to get married and have kids as soon as possible? In my limited experience dating in Japan it seems like most Japanese women (ages 25-35~) I meet want to get married and have kids within two years. This is much faster than I'm comfortable with (more like 3-5 for me) and usually means I'll terminate the "relationship" before it gets off the ground. Is this common or am I just meeting all of the ladies with ticking biological clocks?

thatyuta9 karma

I think your observation is correct. There are social pressures to get married around that age. Remember, there are many Japanese people who want to follow the 'normal' life course in Japan.

Bahamabanana3 karma

Do you think this social pressure might change slowly or drastically or at all in the future? I ask because I've heard about Japanese youths shying away from dating at this point, both because of the social norms associated with it and because of more individualistic tendencies, like focusing on their studies. Is there any truth to this?

thatyuta2 karma

The tendency seems to be true. I've seen some statistics. I think the reason is somewhere complex. Apart from the ones you mentioned, I think there's also the difficulty of securing a stable job.

abigali19906 karma

How did you choose interviewees? Were you looking for particular types of stories? How much did you have the book planned out before you went into the interviews?

thatyuta9 karma

Asking around turned out to be the best way to source interviewees. I already knew a lot of people who were in a relationship with Japanese men and women, so it wasn't very hard. I also used Google search a lot. And Reddit! I would send message to Reddit users who seemed to have dating experience in Japan. Reddit is a very interesting place to meet people :D

SayingWhatImThinking1 karma

If you ever have any more questions about a foreigner's experience in Japan, feel free to ask me as well, although my stories aren't very interesting.

thatyuta1 karma

Thanks! I'll remember that!

uzes_lightning6 karma

OK - this might sound like an off-color question. You hear about the stereotype that Asian women are submissive and I don't really buy into that. I'm pretty good at sticking my foot into my mouth so here goes: Do men or women in Japan typically have the dominant role in the bedroom?

thatyuta12 karma

I think men are usually the active ones in bed. Actually, some people (including me) mention that Japanese women tend to be quite passive in bed. Other people mention that Japanese men also tend to be passive in bed compared to western men. But yeah, I think in Japan, people tend to assume traditional gender roles in bed.

SoupCurrySamurai6 karma


thatyuta14 karma

Kind of. But that might be because I'm not very well in touch with the Japanese LGBT community. The thing is, it's generally much harder to interview Japanese people than western people.

SMStanton5 karma

What are some of the biggest differences in customs surrounding dating?

thatyuta8 karma

Compare to Americans, Japanese people tend to want to define the nature of a relationship from early on. In Japan, it is normal to start a romantic relationship by asking 'Do you want to be my girlfriend?' after a few dates.

GrowlerHalfEmpty5 karma

What is the general feeling for foreign-born Japanese in Japan when it comes to relationships? Are they considered more foreign, more Japanese, or does it depend? Is it more difficult or easier, compared to a full foreigner?

thatyuta3 karma

That is actually a very complicated topic. It also quite depends on which country you are born. If you are born and raised in the States, some Japanese people can kind of get jealous and overly sensitive to what you say and how you behave. Other ones are quite OK though. Also, it will depend on whether you speak Japanese or not, and how much you speak Japanese.

WhatWouldJohnWayneDo5 karma

Neat. I'm a white guy in the states moving to Japan to live there for a year in about a year and a half. I'm actually learning Japanese now too! I'll definitely check out your book. Do Japanese date casually much? I will only be there for a year max so I'm not sure I want to get into anything crazy serious. What other major differences are there between western dating and Japanese? Thanks!

thatyuta11 karma

Compared to the States, Japanese people don't date casually as much. However, since you mention you are a white male, you will be likely to find a certain type of Japanese women who want to date you casually. That's one perk of standing out :)

Are you making friends with Japanese people online? Since you have some time before moving to Japan, why not make friends beforehand? It's nice to have some friends who can also introduce you to other people when you arrive in Japan!

FruitDove5 karma


thatyuta17 karma

In Japan, western culture is seen as more advanced and something Japan should learn from. I think this makes western men seem quite desirable. And of course white men pretty much dominate western countries. (Oh, wait, there's Obama!)

This is hardly a Japanese-only thing though. White men seem particularly popular in many Asian countries, and guess what, in the US too.

Throwawayqw1238 karma

Huh. I thought it was the other way around... I always thought of Japan as being far more advanced.

thatyuta22 karma

It really is a subjective question. If you think having extensive rail services is advanced, sure, Japan is quite advanced. But if you think legalising same-sex marriage is advanced, the US is more advanced.

SayingWhatImThinking2 karma

I'm a white male, but I lived in Japan for a few years and attended post secondary there (Hopefully I'll be able to get a visa and head back sometime soon, as I didn't want to leave in the first place...)

Anyways, this isn't just true for women, I think there is a large amount of men who are interested in dating westerners as well. I think the biggest reason is because foreigners just aren't common in Japan, and therefore people are curious as to what it's like to date one. To be honest, some people also seem to use it as a way to get attention from others, ie. "I'm dating this girl from ---"

This is just my impression that I got from my (Japanese) girlfriend and friends though, you would know better than I.

thatyuta1 karma

Yeah, there's always that aspect. But some Japanese people sort of downplay dating a western men/women for the exact same reason because they don't want to get too much attention.

DontCallMeJudy4 karma

Sounds like a very interesting book. I hope I can read it soon. I'm a white girl dating an Asian guy, and the amount of stares we get is ridiculous (we have been together for 6 years now). We notice the people who stare the most are other Asian men. Any idea why the men stare more compared to women?

thatyuta9 karma

Um, maybe women are better at staring discreetly? Or maybe you look particularly attractive to Asian men? Or men simply stares more? Or you are more sensitive to men's stare? Or white women/Asian men couples are rare in your area? Sorry, it's really hard to guess.

Zodai4 karma

Are there any particular parts of Japanese culture you wish you could change, for better or worse?

thatyuta20 karma

I would like to see more acceptance to diverse people, be it ethnic diversity, diversity in sexuality, or simply diversity in personal choices.

InfernalWedgie4 karma

What do you think of "game" and "pick-up artistry"?

thatyuta40 karma

I have more things to say than I can write here!

But to make it short, I think there is a huge gap between what they advertise and what most men really want. Many PUAs products seem to imply that getting laid and dating as many women as possible should be every man's goal (even though, I think, many PUA gurus deny this). But in my opinion, most men are happier when they are in a relationship with somebody they really like. I don't think PUA mindset will ultimately make most men happy. (Although, they will always be some men who genuinely enjoy sleeping with many women. If that's what they really want, I think it's fine.)

I also have a problem with how PUAs objectifies women. I don't have problem with approaching women as long as it's respectful. I think some PUAs do it respectfully, but other don't.

Eman58053 karma

Based on your own observations, what's general reaction seen for men and women of African decent when it comes to dating or even in general, be they from English-speaking countries or even Africa itself? Is it about the same for any Caucasian man or woman?

I'm familiar with the Gaijin Smash blogs of old. But just wanted to hear another person's take.

thatyuta3 karma

My book deals with that topic as well! Simply put, black men and women can attract people who are interested in dating them for superficial reasons. On the other hand, it's totally possible to find a long-term partner, although some people find it difficult.

African-American men and African men seem to have different experiences. African-American men seem to be much more popular, but again, possibly for superficial reasons.

I haven't met a lot of African women, but I have a friend from Angola. She was very cute so she seemed to be quite popular. (I asked her out but she already had a boyfriend!)

MarcoCheng3 karma

How are hapas (people of mixed-Asian descent) generally treated in Japan, particularly in the dating scene? Do the Japanese people tend to avoid, or are they drawn to them? Or do they have neutral feelings?

thatyuta2 karma

I think it really depends on the specific mixture. For example, in Japan, the mixture of white and Asian is seen very desirable. Otherwise, I don't think there is a general consensus.

GnuSniffer3 karma

When I ask a Japanese girl on a date, they always want to bring a friend. Why is this? Do they want to see if the friend approves of me? Do they think I would be a good boyfriend for their friend? Or do they want me to bring my friend too, to date their friend? It's confusing.

thatyuta19 karma

I hate it what that happens! But yeah, some people do that. I think the reason is that they feel a bit uncomfortable being with someone they barely know. They feel less awkward and safe with their friends.

Also, in Japan, dating can be seen less casual. 'Let go for a drink' can mean 'Let's talk casually and get to know each other a bit,' to some people. But to other people, it might sound like, 'Let spend time in a private space and discuss the possibility of becoming a couple. You can't escape.'

ZwiDomini3 karma

Is your book only available on Amazon?

I like to buy books off of Barnes & Noble (or, any site other than Amazon) when possible, mostly as a small way to keep competition against Amazon alive.

thatyuta6 karma

I tried to publish the book on B&N but they didn't allow non-American citizens to publish books on their websites.

On the other hand, my book is also available on Kobo, a Canadian eBook company, and Apple iBooks.

Kobo link:

The_Stone_3 karma

Thanks for doing this AMA!

I'm married to a Japanese girl and we are in the process of making the big move to Japan to start a family. What troubles do you think I'd encounter being the gaijin husband? what expectations do you think my wife and her family have of me, that I might not be aware of?

thatyuta9 karma

Have you lived in Japan? Have you met her family? If her family and her friends are traditionally Japanese, be prepared to get a lot of attention. Depending on your personality, you may feel the amount of attention overwhelming or enjoyable. But I can assure you Japanese people rarely have bad intentions when they overreact to western people.

The_Stone_4 karma

I lived there for 2 years from 2010. So I understand the Japanese culture in terms of the attention I may get.

So I'm OK with that. Just a little worried about if they think I need to earn a certain amount of money or the type of Job I do isn't acceptable or something like that.

thatyuta5 karma

That really depends on the family. For example, if my parents had a girl, I think they would be completely OK with any kind of (legally acceptable) job or income level. But I can see that some parents are more judgemental.

Asyx2 karma

Sorry, not a dating question. I'm studying Japanese at the moment and read on your blog that you learnt English by just starting to read. I do own text books and go through the grammar and dialogue. I enjoy learning by reading a lot but obviously, I can't just start reading Japanese. The kanji would make that impossible so I also learn vocabulary and the kanji (vocabulary with kanji, learn the reading of that word separately to avoid just recognising the kanji) as well.

However, the dialogue in the textbooks don't last long.

Do you have any recommendation for a book I could pick up as a student? Something that's not too hard but still interesting to adults? Or are light novels considered easy enough in your opinion that I could just pick up any light novel that seems interesting?

I do live in Germany so importing via book stores here or simply via amazon is quite easy and really not much of a problem. So feel free to suggest anything without worries about it being available here.

thatyuta9 karma

I think light novels are pretty easy to read if you are familiar with the genre. What I would recommend is to read the translated version first and them move on to the original version. This way, you will always know what's going on in the story.

When I learn a new language, I read The Little Prince in the target language. Maybe you can try the Japanese version?

Another tip is to pick up children's book where they have pronunciations (hiragana) on top of kanji. I find it quite frustrating when I don't know how to pronounce kanji, so why not make life easier?

kemojawo2 karma

Just gonna chime in here to also recommend reading The Little Prince in your target language! I always recommend that when my Japanese friends who are learning English ask me for a recommendation :)

Short, simple, and a beautiful story!

(Sorry, I love books haha.)

thatyuta3 karma

Yeah, it's the perfect book for language learners. I've read it in French (original), Portuguese, Spanish and Italian! (Didn't finish it in Italian though.)

MSPaintClock2 karma

What's your favorite anime?

thatyuta5 karma

Neon Genesis Evangelion - I can't talk about my teenage years without talking about NGE.

Almost anything by Hayao Miyazaki up to Spirited Away - Spirited Away is my most favourite Miyazaki film by the way.

Doraemon - This is my absolute favourite when I was little.

Shinchan - It's pretty funny.

osQmon2 karma


I'm a Finnish man and I regularly hear this claim where Japanese people think Finnish culture is one few Western cultures the Japanese can relate to, and thus like it. Also, I've heard Japanese men and women find Finns particularly attractive because of this. Even my Japanese teacher at my University (she's a native Japanese) agreed to this. I'm interested to hear if you have any experiences of this?

Thanks for the cool AMA!

thatyuta3 karma

Interesting. I also think Finnish people are easy to relate to for Japanese people. I have some Finnish friends and yeah, their communication style is not too far from Japanese style. For example, many of them are relatively soft-spoken, and they take time to listen to other people.

sociologize2 karma

Oh wow, I've wanted a book like this for a long time. So to start, thank you for writing it!

Did you run into any troubles interviewing people? I don't know how LGBT culture is in Japan, but - and please correct me if I'm wrong - I imagine it isn't as open as it's become in the US?

thatyuta3 karma

Interviewing western people were very easy, but interviewing Japanese people were harder. As for LGBT culture, I think you are right: people are less open than in the US. I think one's love life and sexuality is considered much more private in Japan than in the US.

sociologize2 karma

May I ask why it was more difficult interviewing Japanese people? Aside from the second question you answered.

Also thank you for responding!

thatyuta3 karma

One possible reasons is that many Japanese people are afraid to be judged by other people. I think more western people have an I-don't-care-what-other-people-say attitude than Japanese people.

tzuridis2 karma

In highschool in Japan do you think it is the same basic boring high school experience as it is in the west or is it better? Also for highschoolers do they have sex relatively early like (15, 16) as they do in the west? What about post highschool/college in Japan, what do most people do to find dates?

What do you like the most about being Japanese or about Japan and have you ever been to Greece?

thatyuta3 karma

I think whether high school life is boring or not is super subjective, but some Japanese people do seem to enjoy high school life. I didn't like my high school that much though.

Otherwise, this survey shows that the average age when Japanese people have sex the first time is around 19, 20.

That same survey says that the most common ways to meet spouses in Japan are at work, through friends, and in school.

What I like the most about Japan? It's a tough question. But I like that Japan has a lot of super-cute stuff :)

I've been to Greece and loved it! I have wonderful Greek friends so I thoroughly enjoyed my time there!

PowderyDonut2 karma

  1. What are some concerns or questions that Japanese people have about dating foreigners in their country?

2.Are interracial relationships or hooks ups something that Japanese men and women desire?

3.What are some funny circumstance or situations you've seen or heard resulting from cultural misunderstanding or different social norms when it comes to interracial couples in Japan?

I'm sure I have have more questions, I can't think of all of them off the top of my head. Also i know dating is something personal and theses questions are written in general sense, but speaking form your knowledge do you notice any particular trends?

thatyuta12 karma

  1. Many Japanese people concerns about language issues. When you say 'dating foreigners,' the first thing they think is, 'Oh my god, I can't speak English!' I covered this in my recent video!

  2. I think some Japanese men and women are definitely interested in interracial hook-ups. (By the way, 'Interracial hook-up' sounds quite sensual.)

  3. How about this one:

Natasha, a Russian girl from my book, dated a Japanese guy for the first time in Hokkaido. On their second date, the Japanese guy said,

'Natasha, I like you.'

Natasha thought, 'Yeah, OK,' and continues the conversation.

The guy was confused, because what he just did was a kokuhaku, or the confession of love. When a Japanese guy does that, it usually means, 'I like you. Would you like to be my girlfriend?' But Natasha didn't understand the intention behind his words, and thought he just casually mentioned he liked her.

The guy had to explain to her the concept of confession of love! I find this story cute and funny.

ToiletRollTemple2 karma

Any plans to publish this book in Japanese? The stories and insight on this AMA have been great, and I'd love to combine studying Japanese with learning more about this stuff. Maybe it'd help me get to grips with dating lingo etc..

thatyuta1 karma

Sure, if it sells well, why not translate into Japanese.

nacarino17291 karma

What do you think about the Japanese education system? What are aspects that you believe should not be changed? What are aspects that you believe should be changed?

thatyuta5 karma

That's a very difficult question. I think Japanese elementary schools are doing pretty well. I also find Japanese elementary school teachers quite good at what they do. So I don't find too many faults with them. (I've been to three different Japanese elementary schools, so I think I have a good grasp on this.)

After that, I think we need to emphasise less on doing well at exams and focus more on what we can make of various subjects. For example, I think a lot about history lately. I feel that Japanese education system doesn't pay enough attention to modern and contemporary history.

Sevruga1 karma

There have been a lot of stories in the international press lately abow low birth rates and sex drive in Japan. As an example Thoughts?

thatyuta3 karma

So, my answer to that article is this blog post.

ThisIsSoWrong1 karma

I would like to know about communication of inter-cultural couples. So, not about how to communicate the initial attraction to each other, but about how to discuss needs, feelings, etc once you are in a relationship. Are there major differences here? What do people learn to adapt to each other's communication style?

Thanks for the ama!

thatyuta4 karma

One recurring theme is the difference between verbal and non-verbal communications. Japanese people, of course, tend to rely more on non-verbal messages than most western people. It's interesting that you used the word 'discuss' because it assumes that it's something that needs to be 'discussed'.

Some western women reported that they learnt how to decode their Japanese partners' implicit messages throughout their relationships. Some of them also said they asked their partners to open up more. I think the most important thing is that both of them are willing to work on their communication. It requires a mutual effort.

miraoister1 karma

In Western film, how do you feel about the portrayal of asian women?

thatyuta1 karma

Mmm, I don't see a lot of Asian women in western films, but I liked the Asian girl (the one who lived in the friend's dorm?) in The Perks of Being a Wallflower.

Other films I remember seeing Asian women are 21, and Juno. Well, I guess I'd like to see more Asian women in western films then.

On a slightly related note, have you seen the documentary Seeking Asian Female? I find it very interesting and insightful.

miraoister1 karma

well its a good point that you havent seen a lot of asian women in western films, but I talking about the way they are represented. I think George Takai spoke about it once about 10 years ago in an interview, they are always presented to western (white male) audiences as sexual trophies.

thatyuta1 karma

Yeah I know what you mean. What films do you have in mind where Asian women are presented as sexual trophies?

On the other hand, I can say a lot about the way Asian men are portrayed in American films and TV shows.

jensen_interceptors1 karma

Hiya - I've heard that "halfies" ie; children of an inter racial relationship (especially half japanese) are bullied/looked down upon in Japan. Is this true, to any extent?

thatyuta2 karma

My understanding is that mixed children are more susceptible to although bullying doesn't necessarily happen. So, you can always meet mixed kids who have positive experiences in school.

Actually, the reactions to mixed kids tend to be bipolar in Japan. On one hand, they are excessively admired (think of those 'half' celebrities), but on the other hand, they seem more likely to get bullied.

Yogghii1 karma

Hello! This'll be the first question I ever ask on an AmA session.

I've heard that most Asian, and especially Japanese people, value a fair white skin. I've noticed its mostly men saying this. I'm pretty pale myself but I have freckles. I thought that this might not be attractive to Asian women. Do you think asian women have a preference towards white fair skinned people (too)? Are freckles deemed unattractive?

thatyuta1 karma

I don't think Asian women have particular preferences in terms of different shades of fair skins. (Or they are not that used to white people to distinguish the subtle differences.) Don't worry. Freckles are not deemed unattractive.

Omicron521 karma

Do you think LGBT people will become more normalised in modern and popular Japanese culture any time soon?

I recently watched a video in which many Japanese people said they thought that the way in which popular Japanese media portrayed lgbt was enforcing a rather warped view and

I'm wondering what your thoughts are on this?

thatyuta3 karma

Do you think LGBT people will become more normalised in modern and popular Japanese culture any time soon?

Unfortunately, I don't really see that coming any time soon. But there's definitely a trend.

machado_preto1 karma

Did you interview any south american men doing the interviewing process? And are Japonese girls generally looking for long lasting relationships, given the conservative tradition of the country?

Thanks in advance

thatyuta2 karma

No, but I have interviewed an South American woman. Well, we have a lot of South American people in Japan due to the large number of emigrants who went to South America about 100 years ago. So I've known a lot of South American men in Japan.

I think many Japanese women in their mid-20s and above are looking for long-lasting relationships, especially marriage partners. Some of them definitely date South American men.

Jacquefisch1 karma

Maybe you'll see this (or maybe you won't), but I'm a recent subscriber to your YouTube channel, and (sadly enough for my social life) went through all the past videos in a marathon. I know it's not related to your book, but do you have any plans for more street interviews with randomers? They are always very enjoyable to watch.

thatyuta2 karma

I'd love to do more street interviews, as I quite enjoy doing those although it takes a lot of time (as I explained in my commentary). So hopefully I can find some extra time for that. One the other hand, I have one more interview video about Japanese women who have actually dated foreign guys. So, stay tuned!