Japanese dating: ‘inside and out’

December 18, 2007 – 9:32 pm

Let’s face it, women are a mystery to most men most of the time, especially when it comes down to how we are supposed to behave around them.

Should you be Mr Nice Guy and talk about your innermost feelings, or deep down is she crying out for a musclehead to swagger his way through the date with cocky charm?

The main problem is that it seems like half the time women don’t really know themselves, which can make it pretty hard for a regular guy to figure out which way to act.

Well, dating a Japanese girl is going to add a whole new set of rules to follow, if you’d like the date to lead to more than just a nightcap of Sake and a peck on her cheek at the end of the evening.

Japanese society has a concept called uchi-soto which roughly translates as ‘inside’ and ‘outside’. This is a pretty important issue if you want to date a Japanese girl.

With some people, and in certain settings you’re supposed to act in the ‘uchi’ way, which you are part of an ‘inner circle’, and can be pretty relaxed and jovial.

At other times you’re required to follow the guidelines of the ’soto’ way which – you guessed it – is the wider circle to whom to must show great respect and be far more reserved around.

When you’re out in public you’re milling around with the soto crowd, which naturally means you have to be mindful of causing offence.

I think you see where I’m heading with this. Yup, all of your outings in public with your hot Japanese girl are going to be classed as ’soto’ which means getting frisky in the street is a definite no-no.

Even pretty tame date moves by Western standards - like touching her leg in a bar or going for a lip kiss on a train - might be considered in her mind to be too much too soon and you could find yourself getting the cold shoulder rather than the warm embrace you’re looking for.

Of course, if your Japanese date is living in your country, let’s say the USA or the UK, you may find that she’s relieved to be away from the restrictions of the uchi-soto system and actually is the one making the moves on you!

In that case you’re a lucky guy, but remember it’s usually best to play it cool on the date with a Japanese girl if you want to heat things up later on.