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patting and affection 2008/6/28 19:26
One of my Japanese guy friends has gotten into the habit of patting me randomly- for example, reaching over to pat my head or leg when we're sitting together watching TV, or reaching back to pat my side when I'm riding behind him on his bike. In America patting is almost kind of condescending and distancing, what you do with a person you don't really want to get too close (like the pat on the shoulder instead of hugging), but one of my friends dating a jguy says her boyfriend pats her on the head too and it's a Japanese thing. So should I take it as a sign that he likes me or not?
by Kelly  

Touching 2008/6/30 06:11
I think Japanese are not familiar with hugs or the touching closeness of other cultures. I don't think he is intentionally treating badly. Maybe it's his way of expressing himself. If it bothers you, why not tell him you don't like it. He probably doesn't even know it's an issue.
by Fran rate this post as useful

... 2008/6/30 11:09
Kelly, that American custom is new to me and it's good to know. In Japan, patting is considered either nothing or a sign of liking the other party. It never means dislike or distancing, as far as I know. In particular, I do not know a male in any part of the world who patts a lady's legs unless he has some kind of sexual feelings for her!

On a related note, because of the shyness so common among Japanese males, you might discover that he will hardly hug you but pat you instead even after he marries you. Be prepared.
by Uco, Japanese female rate this post as useful

Pat pat 2008/6/30 16:03
reality check #1: he is Japanese. Don't judge by your standards, that, by the way, aren't likely to be the same across America, as Americans come from different cultural backgrounds. Think about the difference between the Yankees and the Southerners, not to mention others! reality check #2: If something bother you, tell the person straight up. people aren't mind readers, even in a given culture. reality check #3: young women do tend to make much ado about nothing
by Auntie Bert rate this post as useful

Hmm 2008/7/2 00:49
I think patting is just a simple expression, I have had americans do it to me also as a sense of friendship between males, though if you're a girl I don't see a reason for him to pat you unless he is just a friend.

If you think he's encroaching on your feelings then I suggest you will tell him soon.

But I have had both fellow american boys and girls pat me on the leg and/or on the back numerous times when they feel friendly.
by Brian rate this post as useful

a small suggestion 2008/7/2 08:23
It's a common expression of affection/liking in Japan, where huggins is rather rare, especially between opposit-sex friends. If you don't like it, you can tell him that you're not used to the custom and can ask him to wait a little bit to touch you that way until you get more used to it. If you said ''I don't like it'' either in Japanese or English, that's way too strong and direct for a Japanese boy, who seems to like you in some way, and it may shock him negatively.
by AKi rate this post as useful

its not distancing at all 2008/7/6 03:04
I dont think he means it as distancing at all. He either sees you as a good friend and/or likes you. I've been told patting on the head means they think you're cute. In my experience japanese guys patting me was meant to be flirting. I dont know if it is really the same, but I kind of see the japanese patting thing to be the same meaning as poking is in the US.
by K rate this post as useful

... 2008/7/8 21:48
Firstly: someone stole my username... argh!

Secondly: I think if someone if very shy and trys to avoids physical contact (like myself); a pat or touch is quite a strong outreach of affection.

For example; at my friend's Grandfather's funeral, when she started to cry I touched her shoulder. Afterwards, she told me it comforted her more than a hug would, as she knows me very well and knew I would have been uncomfortable hugging her.

So I think big gestures (hugging etc) doesn't necessarily mean big affection. Something small could mean just as much, possibly more.
by Brian rate this post as useful

America 2008/7/8 22:16
I don't feel the same way about patting as you feel Americans do. I am an American and patting is far from condescending, at least for me and my circle.
by Brian rate this post as useful

.. 2008/7/9 19:11
From my experience, Japanese girls enjoy being patted as an couragement or a an act of support.

Its what you would do to a child, in other cultures, isn't it? Hugging is probably the next level up, where it gets a little bit touchy-feely.

In other words, this should be taken as a gesture opposite to being condescending, especially when the initiator is of Japanese origin. Having said that I'm now often inclined to pat a Japanese person as a form of encouragement rather than hugging them, as it might then scare them sxxxless.
by Blanc rate this post as useful

don't know what to think 2008/7/13 22:26
I wanted to talk about something similar. A Japanese man who I am friends with put his head on my lap and I felt a bit uncomfortable as I would only do that with someone very close to me, usually just a boyfriend. I have put my head on his shoulder a couple of times when I was tired, but for me a head on the shoulder is very different from a head on the lap. I didn't know what to do and what that meant to him, so I did nothing, just sat there and barely moved.
by Stork rate this post as useful

not me 2008/7/13 22:36
As a male, I would not put my head on a gal friend's lap. It's what kids to with moms.
by Kev rate this post as useful

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