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Holding Hands 2006/1/8 19:41
I met my pen pal Japanese gal of 9 months a over Christmas in Honolulu. We hit it off and both like each other very, very much.
In the hotel she was very affectionate, but every time we went out, she would not let me touch her. I just wanted to hold her hand, she said she is shy about it. I thought perhaps it a cultural thing, but I did see other Japanese tourist holding hands.
At the airport as I saw her off, before boarding the plane, she shook my hand...no hug, no kiss!
This left me confused, in America it's not big deal holding hands, but she made me feel that perhaps she didn't like as much as I thought. But as soon as she got back to Japan, she called me and said she missed me very much and wants me to come see her soon in Japan.
O.K., I have my ticket and will be in Japan in April, any love/affection advice? Thanks!
by Surfbeat  

my thoughts 2006/1/9 08:09
Yes, it is a cultural thing.

Most Japanese people do not show affection such as holding hands and hugging in public. It is not good manner. Inside Japan it is still very rare to see couples holding hand in public except in dating spots, where it has become common.

I think your girlfriend just does not feel comfortable doing these things in public. And I would respect and not worry about it.
by Uji rate this post as useful

Thanks 2006/1/9 08:17
I am glad to know this, thanks, I will respect her and the Japanese culture and keep my hands to myself...I let her make the moves!
by Surfbeat rate this post as useful

Good Luck ^_^ 2006/1/10 13:07
But be careful Surfbeat, don't be to passive. Before going to Japan to me my J-girlfriend I did a lot of research on what I could and could not do in public.

Yes it is in the culture definilty. No holding or kissing in public, and it is true that in Japan very little hand holding ( I only saw 5 or 6 couples doing that) But you are an American like me so..someitmes people will kind of say "Oh he is an American he dosn't know any better" as far as holding hands or something. But hmm..this is a tough one..definilty repsect her ^_^ If she really dosn't feel comfortable don't push but..don't shrink to much either. I may just be speaking from my experince but..my girl likes a man to be a man, you know that kind of thing. I mean there are limits but being forward can sometimes be a good thing ^_^ Just do it in moderation. Maybe when you visit..if you are in a nice area without very many people around just try to hold her hand..do it slowly and if she recoils then definiltly back off. But I'm betting that she will let you ^_^

While I was in Japan I held my Girlfriends hand 24/7 haha ^_^ Nothing was going to make me let go of that pretty soft hand of hers, and she was OK with it. I did ask first but after the first time I just kept doing it. Anyways keep the cultur in mind but more importantly respect her I guess is what's best. My girl let me do some things in public that were taboo and she thanked me for it. I even kissed her in the park (big "no no" don't do it unless you are absolutly sure no one is there and even then you might be taking a risk) It was in the moment, I was Happy she was Happy after she got my Christmas present (a ring) I looked around to see if someone was there and just gave her the biggest kiss of her life ^_^ After it she seemed really nervous..I apologized but she said it was alright, and that she was so happy that I did that.

Sorry I tend to ramble, anyways good luck if she misses you I am sure you two will have a great time there together ^_^ Good luck testing out the waters as far as holding hands goes..Oh for her Birthday or Christmas get her a couples ring it's a Great gift trust me ^_^

by Dave rate this post as useful

:) 2006/1/10 13:38
Get used to it I'm afaid - my boyfriend will only hold my hand in very quiet streets. Sometimes if there is nobody about he will put an arm round my shoulder and kiss my forehead but he won't let me kiss him back - and he will NEVER hug or kiss me goodbye at the station!

When I parted from a very close friend who is Japanese but living in the UK, we ended up shaking hands, even though we would not see each other for maybe a year, and it is very common for female friends to hug in the UK.
(very happy now cos I heard she's coming back to Japan this month =) )
by Sutefu rate this post as useful

Hey Sutefu...Hey Dave! 2006/1/10 18:01
Sutefu, it's good to know I'm not alone. I'm OK with it now, besides, when I'm in Japan this April, I hand will be occupied with my camera and camcorder, but it will be a little difficult for me when she meets me at the airport and will only shake my hand!

Dave, I don't think you rambled, I enjoyed and was encouraged by your response.
Tell me more about the couples ring, I never heard of it. What will it mean to a J-Girl? I don't want to scare her off.
by Surfbeat rate this post as useful

=) 2006/1/10 19:25
Glad you are feeling a little happier about it =)

Just remember - she may only shake your hand at the airport, but it's what she does when she gets you alone that will show her real feelings ~_^
by Sutefu rate this post as useful

Thanks ^_^ 2006/1/10 19:43
Hey surfbeat,
thanks for the compliment ^_^ I have been told (by others) that I ramble on a lot about my own story of life so I am used to people telling me "OK we get the point!" But thanks for saying you enjoyed my story and it made you feel encouraged ^_^

I definitly think you two are on the right track ^_^ Actually her being forward might be a good thing..^_^ My girl is soo shy sometimes I have to pull her teeth out just to get her to tell me how she is feeling or something so hopefully you won't have that problem.

OK as far as couples rings go here is what I know. Have you heard of a promise ring for over here in the U.S? It supposidly means that when you give a promise ring to a girl your saying "I am going to ask you to marry me" Think of the couples ring as being a step below that. But it still means a lot.

The first thing I got from my girlfriend was a "Misanga" wich is like a friend ship band that you wear on your wrist. She made it for me and we have them over here. It was just to signafy friendship between us. Then I got info about the promise ring and Loved the idea. It basicly says "I have a Boyfriend/Girlfriend and I will always remain true to him/her and no one else" When I got her her's I bought two of them. One for me, one for her. It's a way for her to always feel me touching her hand and knowing that I Love her.

Needless to say it is pretty romantic. Diffrent girls take it diffrent ways thought. Kind of like saying to your girl "We are going steady, and I mean Really steady" If you give this to the girl you meet..she will think you are serious about your relationship and that you don't want to be with anyone else except her. So..it's serious..and not too serios of a statement. My J-girlfriend went head over heals when I gave her one. So..if your not to sure about the girl you'll see..you might want to wait on it..but if you are with her..and can tell how you feel and she feels for you..give her the ring..trust me she'll Love it..^_^

Oh crap I almost forgot. The ring is basicly just a silver band. Nothing more or less. The girls promise ring can be fancyier if you want, haveing a jewel or something in it. But you don't have to do that ^_^ and don't worry about spending money ^_^ If your like me it's hard enough just to fly and support yourself there so you can just go with the basics...I'm the kind of guy who likes to by my girlfriend nice things so..I did get her the simple band of silver..but I got her 14k white gold..^_^ But that dosn't really matter ^_^

Hmm..it does suck that she just wants to shake hands when you see her..if she is missing you as badly as you miss her..watch her body language..I guess it depends on how badly you are missing her. I mean are you missing her pretty badly too? If you are..and she misses you just as much..unless if she walks away in fear..hug her..^_^ I don't care what anyone else here says if you can just gently hug that girl that you care about ^_^ If you feel Love between you..she will like it and ease into your arms. I know it might be a little forward..if she feels bad after you do it apologize like crazy just tell her you missed her and that you love her. I did a few..very American things over there that weren't exactly aprovable by her or her family..most of them were mistakes so I always said I was sorry and all was forgiven ^_^ She knows you will mess up and if she likes you as much as you say all will be forgiven.

For me personally there was not question at all that I was going to hug my Girlfriend the moment I walked off that plane ^_^ Ohh it was great..^_^ She felt soo warm and soft in my arms..I nearly kissed her..but I behaved myself haha ^_^..god I do miss her though..anyways just feel the situation when you get there. If it's right, put your arms around her, rub her back with your hand, and don't let go unless she feels badly about it.

My instincts say..she will be Happy you did ^_^

Talk to yah later,

by Dave rate this post as useful

Thanks Dave 2006/1/11 10:23
Being from the States and use to holding and hugging in public, it does make me feel a tad insecure, I mean, I would thin k if she relly really cared about me, shoe wouldn't care what others thought, but that's just me.
I think when we are together this April in Japan, I'll follower her lead. but when she comes back to see me in the U.S., I'm hugging her and holding her hand, she will just have to get use to the idea that I love her enough to show the world!...at least the U.S. anyway!!
by Surfbeat rate this post as useful

... 2006/1/13 08:44
Well I was leaving japan and was saying goodbye to my gf (ex-gf now), We did kiss and hug and hold hands, but one of the last things she tried to do as we was saying goodbye was to shake my hand. Lol talk about a way to stun a person lol. I just said 'No Kumi, gave her a kiss' and she never did it again after that :). But I do think it is personal preference because some people still believe that they should not show too much affection in public.
by James rate this post as useful

Hands to myself 2006/1/13 09:06
Well, when I go to JP this April, I will not embarrass her, I'll follow her lead....BUT when she flys out to see me again here in the U.S., she's on my turf, she's not getting off so easy!
by Surfbeat rate this post as useful

:) 2006/1/13 14:36
Sounds like the way to go =)

BF was never allowed to get away with the not touching thing back in the UK either =D
by Sutefu rate this post as useful

Outside of Japan 2006/2/23 03:57
Do Japan people often change their ideas about this if they are outside of Japan? I recently went out with a japan girl here in America. Neither of us seemed to be sure whether we were on a date or not, and we both seemed to do a little subtle probing on that, but in any case we had a good time getting to know each other over several hours. At "good night" time, I didn't know what to do, but then she pulled herself into me for a good full-body hug. We were quite in public too. Seems like a pretty big step coming from a Japanese person... but maybe she was just trying to follow US culture, where women often give friendly hugs to male friends. Though she hasn't been in the US very long, she does like the Western/American social ways. Well, I guess I'll find out sooner or later if she's got special interest in me, so I'm not too antsy.
Just saw these postings and started to wonder if people here had any thoughts.
by Yeah dude rate this post as useful

Sounds good 2006/2/24 01:36

It all sounds good and you are getting solid responses. I will offer this:

I have been to Japan, stayed there for a bit, and look to return for a lengthy term the next time. What I discovered was that the ideology of many Japanese is changing and some people fully welcome public displays of affection. It is especially true in the younger crowed

However, recognize that many, Japanese; men and women, still find it uncomfortable or even disrespectful to show affection in public. Your girl may lovingly hold you in private and five minutes later walk like your pal in public. It is not meant to offend you. It simply is!

Do not make a big deal of it. On the other hand you, being more openly affectionate, can make a game of it. It may please her and at the same time make it easier for you.

A gentle gbumph from your shoulder against hers as you walk, or an accidental touch of the hands as you pass something to her, can be a great way of letting her know that you feel for her physically.

I suggest that you enjoy the cultural differences and have fun with the lady when you are there. Mostly I suggest that you talk to her! Express your thoughts, ask question about the things you see, try as much food as you can and share your opinions of it all.

by Tenshi rate this post as useful

Hanami 2006/2/24 01:43

I just realized that you will be in Japan in April. Where will you be? Tokyo? Osaka?

The reason I ask is that April is a good time for viewing the Sakura (Cherry Blossom's). It is a big deal and last April I arrived in Tokyo at a prime viewing period.

Many Japanese celebrate with hanami parties. That is to say that you take a blanket, some food, some sake, your lady and friends, go sit under the cherry trees and have a party.

Take advantage of it. Ask your girl about it.

by Tenshi rate this post as useful

Hey Tenshi 2006/2/24 05:04
Thanks for the advice about making a game out of it, I love that idea and will certainly use it!
I'll be in Tokyo in April, that's why I chose April, to see the Cherry Blossoms. How romantic is that, my sweet Japanese doll and the Cherry Blossoms?
by Surfbeat rate this post as useful

re: outside of japan 2006/3/1 00:48
Well, I just felt to update that the hug I mentioned in my earlier post apparently did mean that she was interested romantically.

I still don't know if she only did it because she's in the US now. Or, if she's just a Japanese girl who would've done the same even if we were in Japan. I guess I can just ask her sometime. These boards are so funny sometimes.... asking questions here that are really quite easily answered simply by speaking to the person you're involved with. :)
by Yeah dude rate this post as useful

Holding hands 2006/3/16 08:20
I know that a few (!) people have already talked about this topic, so here is just my personal experiences.....
1) My wife is Japanese, and when we are in Japan we hold hands no problem, but a quick kiss I know makes her feel a bit uncomfortable, so I don't push it. When we come back home (Australia) I know that kissing in public is no problem for her...it is just the way she feels, and I have no problem with that.
2) However, (!) we have some friends in Japan, and one in particular, will never (!!!) hold hands or kiss her husband on the street, or even at home if we are there. Even if I kiss my wife on her cheek, she will get embarrased for us!
So I think overall, don't be upset if your girlfriend acts differently when she is alone with you, or in the States versus when you are in public or Japan......just go with it, and know that not holding hands or showing affection in public, doesn't mean she doesn't love you!
by zaba rate this post as useful

Thanks 2006/3/16 12:52
It's good to understand the cultural differences. Having read everyone experiences, I'm happy to know mine in not unique, it's the norm.
by Surfbeat rate this post as useful

Hey, Yeah dude 2006/3/17 03:52
You can't apply culture to everything. It doesn't always work, and from what you said of your girl, the cultural angle doesn't seem to work for her.

Urban Japanese tend to have fewer complaints about the various forms of public displays of affection than rural Japanese (a generalization with many exceptions).

So, I'm afraid you can't look to culture for your girl. You'll just have to figure out her signals for yourself.
by Old Ant rate this post as useful

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