H-men, additional thoughts

grass eaters or meat eaters?Holy cow! Just by using the term “herbivore men” in my blog, I got almost 400 hits yesterday. That wasn’t my intention at all, but checking my logs there were a ton of Google searches for that phrase. I wanted people to read my blog, but I never thought one reference would create such a stir. This more than tops the Google searches for things related to the naked man festival (I won’t start to tell you some of the search topics that end up pointing to my blog). Well, as my tag says, “Be careful what you dream of, it may come up and surprise you,” (with all due respects to The Icicle Works whose lyric is lifted for my tag).

I found the CNN article interesting, as did apparently at least 380 other people who bothered to search and then click my site.

I asked my interpreter about the phenomenon described in the article. Yes, I have an interpreter. It makes me sound pretty important doesn’t it? My interpreter, who is shared with my team, is really helpful as a cultural bridge as well. She knew what I was talking about and described the following:

Recently the number of young men who are not greedy for hunting girls is increasing. Such kind of men is called as “Herbivore Men” or Sousyoku-kei-Danshi or “草食系男子”(そうしょくけいだんし) .

On the contrary, girls are impatient against such attitude by men’s. Therefore girls are more aggressive to get their mates than ever in Japan. The activity to get married which is called “Kon-Katsu” or “å©šæ´»” has become active vigorously among young ladies.

She doesn’t have to worry, she’s married and has two kids, with the oldest in high school. Considering she’s only 25, it is quite remarkable. I should also add that she reads this blog.

I got a comment from “Christopher” and I wondered who that was. I noticed his email address included the phrase “sanfranclubkid.” I didn’t think I knew folks who would include “club kid” in their address. 10 years ago, maybe I would have known someone but still it is very unlikely. That was before I checked my access logs to see that I had so many hits. I reckon Christopher was someone who found his way to my site via Google. Christopher noted:

I saw the article and I think that’s cool; be who you want to be and do what you want to do. They’re not hurting anybody, they’re just being themselves. The only unfortunate thing about that, was that “Jay” doesn’t live in SF, and I can’t be his boyfriend, cuz he’s hella cute!

First of all, thanks for the comment Christopher. I liked the article too. I agree, it’s great to be who you want to be and do what you want to do. I said it was fascinating and perplexing, but I didn’t say it was bad.

The article also comments on the socioeconomic aspects of the life of younger people in Japan. I did not originally post that portion, but it is important to understand the whole context so be sure and read the whole article.

Fukasawa said the group does not care so much about making money — a quality tied to the fact that there are fewer jobs available during the current global economic recession.

Japan’s economy recently saw its largest-ever recorded contraction and has shrunk for four straight quarters. Blue chip companies Sony, Panasonic, Toyota and Nissan all reported losses in May, and most are forecasting the same for the current fiscal year. Though still low by international standards, Japan’s reported 5 percent unemployment is the highest since 2003.

Hori agreed economics has played a role. When he finished university, “a lot of my friends were trying to work for a big company that pays well and I wasn’t interested in that. I am kind of struggling financially and my father is not very happy about it,” he said.

Starting salaries are very low right now, and I have friends working their tails off making nothing. If they were interested in raising a family, they could not afford to do so. I’m sure a contributing factor to the herbivore men is the fact that they cannot traditionally support a woman in the manner in which she expects to be supported and cannot even come close to supporting a family. That’ll take the wind out of your sails pretty quickly. I think the expectation of Japanese women is changing, but there is a lot of societal pressure (I mean a LOT) to conform to expectations. So perhaps grazing on grasses instead of hunting buffalo is a natural reaction.

grass eaters or meat eaters?Christopher did bring up another point that is part of the perplexity. “The only unfortunate thing about that, was that “Jay” doesn’t live in SF, and I can’t be his boyfriend, cuz he’s hella cute!” Christopher said. But indeed, there’s the rub. Jay doesn’t want to be your boyfriend. He’s not interested in guys. He’s just a clumsy, skinny, metrosexual with great hair and snappy clothes that doesn’t want to be bothered with a girlfriend. If you ever come to Japan, Christopher, you are going to have to recalibrate.