Men in Japan…

Cartoon Characters Purse

Cartoon Characters Purse

I want this bag!
I want this bag!

Men in Japan…

What would your first impression be if you saw a man carrying a purse around?  Would you be pondering if he’s gay, metro, in touched with his feminine side, or just carrying his girlfriend’s purse?  If you ever get the chance to come to Japan, you’ll soon realize that carrying a purse is more of a fashion statement more than anything else.  In America, if a man was seen carrying a purse around, he would be considered “gay.”  I apologize for my language, but I am only speaking the truth.  I remember going to a mall my third day in Japan.  I was looking at purses because wanted to purchase one.  I walked into a purse shop (which by the way is everywhere if you love purses) and promptly became very confused because there were men looking at purses that I was looking at.  I actually thought I was in the men’s purse section and went to go look for a women’s purse section only to find out that there’s no such thing- not really.  I eventually bought a purse after hours of searching for an area where I didn’t have to share the same shopping space with men because the concept of a “man purse” was new to me.  Let me tell you, the bags/ purses that men carry here in Japan will most likely put your purse to shame. 

How does this deal with the way in which people communicate?  I started thinking about how a concept as small as carrying a purse could be misleading.  First impressions last a very long time, whether good or bad.  Even the athletes carry a purse around during lunch break…yes, tall, muscular, handsome, and athletic men carry purses around during lunch.  Now that I realize that purses are used as a fashion statement instead of a sex orientation indicator, I understand.  What if Japanese men go to another country and don’t realize that they don’t carry purses, and that purses are only for women?  They could be sending mix messages to those men who are homosexual and heterosexual just by having their purses.  I know that this will happen because I have friends in the United States who I’ve talked to about this “man purse” concept and they all agree that they would assume this individual man carrying the purse is gay.  What do you think?  Would you date a man who carries a purse around?  Do you think that purses should only be for women?  Do you admire the men who can carry a purse around without worrying about what others may think?

 

L.V. Bag…Price tag: $2400.00 USD What i found most interesting is that the man carrying this purse was wearing dirty gray sweatpants and a plain black T-shirt.

Cranky Salary Man…

So, I’ve heard a lot about the life of a salary man and his lifestyle.  I can only imagine what life is like for them and their families.  According to an article by theeconomist.com (2008), a salary man ,

arrives in the office at 9am and ends the working day late, often around midnight. He does not dare leave the office before his supervisor—and managers stay late to show their loyalty. Is any work going on? Rarely. But long hours remain the norm. A few times a week, at around midnight, the boss may assemble the team and go out on the town. Then the “working” day does not end until around 2am, in a bar; the journey home takes another hour or two. Drinking deep into the night was long considered part of the job; companies set aside a budget for it.

I understand that these are the norms required by society and companies to show loyalty and maintain a position, but does this justify the actions of the salary men after a night of working longs hours and heavy drinking? 

The other night, while out celebrating a friend’s birthday, my friends and I got chewed out in public for not standing in the correct place in line at a bus stop.  We were accompanied by one of our Japanese friends, who in turn did nothing but kept quiet and endured the humiliation of being yelled at in front of about 100 people.

While waiting in line, my friends and I unintentionally were being inconsiderate by sitting on the bench.  Too engaged in our conversations, we were not aware that a line had formed behind us.  Before we realized it, a drunk, salary man was yelling at us really loud in Japanese.  The seven of us who weren’t Japanese, were confused as what we had done to upset him so much, and our Japanese friend didn’t explain it to us either- mainly because the drunk guy (he) kept yelling at us after we apologized for not realizing the crime we had committed.  That wasn’t the worst part of the situation.  We apologized and went to stand where we were “supposed” to stand, but he kept going.  He kept yelling at us and yelling at us.  For the remaining ten minutes before the bus’s arrival, we had to endure his continuous yelling.  He was still yelling as we were getting on the bus!  I have never felt so degraded and like a worthless, defenseless, piece of ——– in my whole entire life.  We westerners couldn’t understand what the heck he was yelling about, but our friend did, and for that, we wanted to punch the guy more.  However, we constrained ourselves from kicking his butt because 1.  We respected our friend and didn’t want to make the situation worst for him.  2.  We realize that we’re in another person’s country.  3.  We couldn’t really figure out if we should continue to be mad at him, or feel sorry for him. 

Why couldn’t he just simply say, “hi, there’s a long line behind you, and this is where the line should start?”  Why couldn’t he just shut up after yelling at us to stand in the “correct place?…why, why, why?  All I could think about on the way home was “ if this had happened in America….” I took a good, long look at my Japanese friend and realized that no matter how angry he is, his whole entire life, he has been trained to just shut up and let the elders have their say.  I also realized that one day, if Japanese society doesn’t change, he would have the same sad fate as this guy tonight…mad and cranky.  Just leaving to go home at 11pm at night when he should be home with his family hours ago.   

Though I would have liked to make this guy feel as worthless as I did when he yelled at me and my friends, I know that he probably feels really small as a person already.  Reflecting back, I am glad I didn’t say anything because I know I have it better.  Now and in the future, I have it better.

 

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