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As a foreigner, no one you to bow back, but it is definitely a nice and well-received gesture; and it doesn’t mean you have to step up to the level of the “bow off”s you see between groups of friends or businesspeople in the street (straight back, 45° angle, bend from the waist). You never know when you’re going to take your shoes off – inside houses, temples, changing rooms, on picnic rugs, at some restaurants (especially those with a tatami floor); the shoes lined up at the entrance, or rows of mini shoe-size lockers by the entrance will be the giveaway.After living in Japan for a while, it’s hard to see I ever thought it was appropriate to stomp through a house in the same shoes I trudged through the filth of the outside world.
The young Japanese people of today grew up watching their parents live this life, and it’s understandable if they’re not thrilled about this option.
Again, this is a hard thing to reconcile if you don’t live in Japan, but being in a relationship and having sex have precious little to do with one another. The fact is, you don’t challenge what you’re told, you don’t offer up original ideas, and you don’t initiate conversation with strangers. I actually rode the elevator down with a guy yesterday. Japanese people excel at social interactions when there are clearly defined roles: Boss and Worker, Clerk and Customer, Drunk Salaryman and Gaijin.
For a Japanese male, it’s possible to get sex almost anywhere, at any time, for little more than the price of a decent lunch. [*Note to self: insert more nuanced term before posting this.] The society functions with robot-like efficiency because your boss tells you what do—or your parents, or your teacher—and you do it. If you work in a ramen shop, you don’t say, “Hey boss, how about if, instead of two pieces of pork in the noodles, we tried ? Which presents a koan-like riddle: If you don’t talk to people you don’t know, how do you get to know people? He was about my age and was tying his tie while I was still fumbling into my shoes. “Oh jeez, I can’t believe my alarm didn’t go off.” C. There are clear rules and precedents for those situations. “I think we’re in a recession.” So then after work, I went to my usual , which is basically like a cheap restaurant.
For a woman, it means a life of indentured servitude. The reality is: people don’t have a lot of contact with each other.
A lot of people are apparently “just saying no” to the whole thing. For Japanese folks, it’s insanely difficult to establish friendships and connections, which is no doubt why so many Host and Hostess Bars exist, so people can at least to talk to them.