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Mandy Mands Japan Diary - A Personal View - Travel Archives

The Last essay from our girl in Japan

I’ve just come from the station and encountered a pretty bizarre experience. Trains in Japan have set up `women only` carriages. This is designed to prevent all the unwanted attention given by dirty old businessmen which has been a major problem in Japan. Special designated carriages displaying bright pink signs are crammed full with women - any western man’s wildest fantasy I’m sure! Train guards carrying loudspeaker phones and giant pink fluffy sandwich boards are screaming out `women only` in Japanese. It’s almost like the Japanese equivalent of the 'Titanic' when women and children are bustled into life boats.
On Japanese Men

If you look ever so carefully into the carriages, however, you might just be able to see the odd Japanese guy scattered around though they could easily be mistaken for women as Japanese men are the most girly looking men I`ve come across since George Michael in his pre `Wham` days.

This month, as promised, its boytalk. By now, If you've read any of my previous articles then you should have a pretty good idea of what the girls in Japan are like i.e. teeny tiny bodies, Lois Vuitton handbags, outrageously high heeled shoes and a make up bag wherever they trot. But what about the guys? Actually, they`re pretty much the same as the girls, without the high heeled shoes of course! I`ll get back to you about the make up...

Guys in Japan, especially around the early 20`s are certainly not like the Brits, who`s idea of a perfect weekend is skulling pints of lager in front of the footie, whilst havin a laugh with `Codsie` and `Wilko` down the `Dog n Duck`. Japanese lads, on the other hand, prefer to go shopping!!

Admittedly nearly every shopping excursion there’s a girlfriend in tow but guys are usually more than happy to carry the Lois Vuitton handbag – they’ve probably got one of their very own - before popping into a nearby salon to get their nails and roots done.

Image is a big thing in Japan and with guys dressed in floral paisley shirts, pastel pink pants and at the same time sporting Chesney Hawkes/ Bon Jovi style `bouffants`, they certainly give plenty to gawp at.

However, appearances can be deceptive as underneath the George Michael pre-Wham exterior lies an empty vacuum of life. These blokes are incredibly shy. In fact, the only time they will ever ever ever talk to a scary 'foreigner' is after they’ve consumed 2 and a half pints of weak lager and are screaming out Backstreet Boys tracks in the local karaoke booth.

"Herro! ...rery nice to meet you...this is Takeshi...I am office worker...I sorry...I drinking too beauuuutiful...where you live?...England!...ahhh...soooooo...Beckham...he is handsome man!...please...I marry you?...Oh dear...I drink...please excuse I...I...I......bleeeeeeuuuuggggghhhhhaaaarrggghhhh!!!"

And with that - poor Takeshi's 2 and a half pints of lager are now out all over the floor - bless!

Sad thing is that the next day, whist recovering from a chronic hangover - Takeshi will suddenly remember he spoke to a foreigner before emptying the contents of his stomach - he`ll be soooo mortally embarrassed that the poor guy will never go karaoking again in case he gets spotted! One less backstreet boy is probably a good thing though! Hurrah!!!

Ok, so not everyone in Japan is like Takeshi, in fact - some don`t even have a life. Business men in Japan spend every hour of every day working..or..drinking saki (rice wine - so potent it burns your clothes!) Leaving the house at 6.00am and not returning till gone midnight these folk never see their family, work every weekend and their favourite hobby is sleeping...or drinking saki!

(How to spot a drunk businessmen - easy - their once neatly presented tie becomes tied around their heads Karate Kid styley and are usually playing 'Kneesies' with their business partners!!)

Whilst University lads have a fairly cruisey time shopping, Karaoke, eating out and watching movies etc, there comes a turning point where everything changes. Once they hit a certain age, usually 25ish, and put on a suit for the first time, their whole attitude to life changes. Suddenly they live to work. Money becomes a big obsession and wearing a suit is a full time occupation. After a certain point, husbands no longer speak to their wives which is the saddest thing I’ve discovered and is also probably why divorces are extremely rare in Japan - husbands are never around to cause any arguments or even talk!

As businessmen get older, their teeth start to rot, probably due to the lack of fluoride in the water, and their breath stinks of that foul cigarette smell you get from smoking too much. They quite openly pick their nose, spit, gob, fart and perform something you would consider an extremely private and intimate pleasure to oneself blatantly outside in the broad daylight and in front of everyone for all to see. Indecent ain't the word! Lock up and throw away the key maybe closer. I won't go any further but hopefully you should be able to understand what I mean. If not - one last hint - comic book! yeeeuuuuuuuuukkkkkkkkkkk!

Finally, old men - by the time they get to 60 - teeth have now fallen out, the smell of urine is ever present and the shrinking process begun. Here in Japan there is a big homeless problem with over 10,000 homeless in one city, Osaka, alone. What’s different here in Japan compared to other countries with the same suituation though is that 90% of the homeless are old men.

When the big earthquake hit Kobe – a lot of men lost their businesses, went bankrupt and consequently turned a little loopy. Now they happily roam the streets constructing magnificent palatial style houses out of cardboard and old futons, All this whilst, at the same time, sporting a pair of designer Nike sneakers!

But not all Japanese men are like the ones I`ve described today. You get some pretty nice business men. The uni students are sweet, but sweet and some of the Japanese mid twenties guys are so laid back and lovely. You often wonder why they are living in Japan especially when they complain that Japanese women are far too thin - Oh my God!! MARRY ME!!!! NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

That's all for today and also for quite a while. In fact this is probably gonna be one of the last newsletters I write as I'm heading off to OZ for a month over Christmas and then it's back to the UK in January . Will probably send you the last e-mail then so if there’s anything you desperately want to know about Japan or anywhere you want me to visit and report back whilst I`m here - please email me now - before its too late and the Hello Kitty dream is over. Sayonara - I`m off to catch the last `Women Only` carriage train ride home!!

© Mandy Mand 2003

A readers letter June 2006:

Dear Editor,  
I've found this article quite offensive to not only Japanese men but also all the Japanese people. I would like to ask you to remove it from your site, otherwise I'll take a appropriate action so it can be legally removed.   This article is nothing but degrading Japanese men by falsely accusing them of ""the most girly looking men." I'm sure that 99% of Japanese men don't dress like the author claims.     
This is untrue and totally untolerable. I don't know if the author personally had a bad experience in Japan or not, but this article certainly presents racial antagonisms toward Japanese men in general, and provokes us to anger and to have hatred toward British people.
Mr Bird

Autumn in Japan
Mandy Mand
...cute little Japanese girls running around in high heeled shoes and a pair of bat wings

Mandy Mand in Japan Pt 2
Wearing a black and white polka dot lace thong was not the best move!

Go for the Stars
Many Mand in Japan - Part 3
The Japanese folk looked on in horror
Mandy Mand in Japan part 5
Okinawa and Tokyo
Let's Go Bowling
Mandy Mand in Osaka

Geisha time

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