It’s the Japanese way…

Zoey and I are very affectionate towards each other, ask our housemates from Australia. We love to love each other. We, and by “we” I mostly mean me, often forget that other people are in the room and that they might not appreciate the excessive PDA. This being said, you can imagine the difficulty we had trying to adapt to the strict conservative Japanese culture. Japanese are extremely “shy” which means they don’t touch each other in public, and they frown upon anyone who does. It’s the Japanese way…

You shall not kiss.

You shall not hug.

You shall not hold hands.

You shall not show affection.


You could be an old married couple or a young newlywed with your significant other, when you both part ways, you better bow and wave goodbye, don’t you dare kiss that person goodbye. “Sorry honey, I’ll kiss you at home.”

Zoey and I had to adapt. It was difficult, and at times, it even caused some arguments between us. We were not use to being so distant with one another. It was a real struggle, especially for me. I need constant affection. Yes, I am the needy girlfriend in the relationship. Not only was the PDA thing difficult, but also the lesbian thing. We obviously couldn’t kiss in public, so could we tell people that we were in a relationship with each other? Would they feel uncomfortable? Would they kick us out of their home? Our solution was to avoid the conversation. We hated it. We basically had to dive back into the closet.

“Do you have a boyfriend?” No.

“Do you like Japanese boys?” No, not really.

“Why don’t you have a boyfriend?” We don’t have time to date with all the travel we do.

We were dodging questions from left to right. It got exhausting. At one point Zoey and I decided that if someone asked if we were together, we would not shy away from the question anymore. If they didn’t like that we were in a relationship because we were girls and kicked us out, that would be okay, because we wouldn’t want to live with such people anyway. Nobody ever asked.

Towards the end of our three months in Japan, we had gotten use to the Japanese way. We didn’t mind it so much anymore. We actually appreciated our time alone that much more. So three months of ups and down, we had finally figured out a way to live happily within the strict Japanese culture, that’s when we had to fly to Seoul.

We get off the train at Hongik University station on Saturday mid afternoon, everyone is holding hands, hugging, flirting and showing affection…including girls with other girls.

Zoey, I have a feeling we’re not in Japan anymore…


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