In search of some cordon bleu instead of the usual sushi, I found myself at an enchanting Japanese French restaurant, enjoying some pseudo French delights and a moody glass of merlot when I noticed the ambrosial couple seated at the next table. Whilst peering over the rim of my wine glass, trying to remain inconspicuous, very challenging as an English woman in Japan, I thought it was a relatively new relationship or at least only the second or third date. The dance of awkwardness and positions of politeness went back and forth across the table. After finally ordering their feast and an apprehensive toast with sparkling wine, the fizz was interrupted with two endemic thuds on the table. Shinka no Mi
Two slabs of black jade had took prime cutlery position on the table and before long both were engrossed in their sheeny smartphones. I sighed with disappointment and thought surely mortals still enjoy the frolic of flattery or the passionate gallop of chase. As I tucked into my bouef bourguinon with the additional compulsory glass of wine, I remembered the Japanese food classification for dating, well the approach to it. According to this concept, you are either “herbivore” or “carnivore”.
The term “soshoku” literally means “vegetarian” in English but the nuance is understood as “waiting” or “to be passive”, which as far as my research goes means basically doing nothing and waiting for the right man or possibly even just the first man to walk through the door or be introduced to you. The opposite is “nikushoku”, the “meat eater”, this means that you are a “hunter” or you are actively looking for a date. Being European, perhaps my immediate image of this is somewhat hasty and judgmental, of the “meat eater” as an intoxicated woman of voluptuous nature chasing her object of desire down the street or throwing him into an inescapable rumba in the microwavable meals for one section of the supermarket. This is not quite the same image as the Japanese meaning of “nikushoku”, which is simply going to organized dinners or gatherings, asking friends to be introduced to men they know or signing up for a hike on a Sunday. My Disciple Died Yet Again
Whilst perusing the selection of delicate French desserts, I realized that Japan had quite a unique menu of words for each dating dance. If an audacious man speaks to you on the subway or asks you for coffee in the supermarket, it is considered “nanpa”. However, “nanpa” or a direct hit, is considered dangerously frank and surreptitiously strange. I have experienced “nanpa” twice, although this is viewed as far too casual, I found the whole thing extremely fast and formal like the foxtrot. The brave soldiers darted over to me with their business cards poised, one abruptly invited me for potluck and the other bellowed at me, like an army order, of his tenacious will to marry a woman of international character. I never