Japan is renowned for its extraordinary sense of fashion, taste and beauty. What is considered cute and adorable in Japan might be shunned upon or condemned as disgusting in other cultures. Lolita, gothic and gal fashion are a few examples. On the other hand, what kind of men is considered the ideal in your country? Muscular, thoughtful, straightforward might be a few keywords to define him. In recent years in Japan, the famous term “grass-eating guys” created a hype encircling the type of guys who are soft-spoken, passive and even girly.
Coming from a country that has mandatory national military service, where boys freshly graduated from high schools or junior colleges are all automatically enlisted into the military for two years, soft-spoken and passive guys are considered the “weak”. Perhaps due to the lack of national military service in Japan, there has been an increasing trend of guys becoming “weaker”, thus becoming herbivorous. They may not be courageous enough to protect a girl against wild animals in the jungle, nor brave enough to propose in front of a crowd, but this is what Japanese girls are attracted to: the thoughtful skinny boy who does his best to make his girl happy.
Just take a look at the most popular boy bands in Japan to get a hint of the most sought after guys.
I must admit, though, that I am not the muscular guy who trains out at the gym three times a week. I would probably belong to the “grass-eating” category.
Of course, I am not putting a stereotype to all Japanese girls’ tastes of men. Here are some of the most popular guys in Japan, who do not belong to the “grass-eating” category.
The second part of this blog talks about a new trend of guys called the Bento Guys.
As you might have already known, most office workers, men and women, usually bring their own lunch boxes, or bento, to work. The practice of eating from a bento starts from a very young age, where children bring bentos made by their parents to schools and eat them during lunch. Of course, some schools do provide lunch or kyuushoku to the students, but the bento culture is deeply rooted in the every-day life in Japan.
I have heard stories about how children bully and despise a certain student based on the quality of his bento. You could probably tell a lot about someone’s family or background by looking at this bento. If the bento is too simple, or too poorly done, the mother is probably incapable of cooking, or the family is poor. This may lead to serious bullying problems at schools.
If you have not seen a lunch-time scene at a Japanese office before, you might find it amusing, as you see grown-up men carrying colorful lunch boxes neatly wrapped with cloth to the lunch space, as they reveal their small-portions of lunch that consist of vegetable stalks of equal lengths and seaweed laid parallel to each other.
Bringing a lunch box to work is not a culture specific to Japan, but it is quite interesting to see how feminine the lunch boxes can be. Ironically, the practice of bringing bento to work is becoming increasingly popular, and the term bento-guys (bento danshi) has been coined to describe these frugal guys who sometimes even make the bento themselves, wash them after the meals, before drying and wrapping them up again with the cloth.
Perhaps this shows the intricate, tidy and studious side of men that attracts Japanese ladies.
I myself have started to make my own bento and bringing it to work. No, it is not to impress the ladies, it is actually a very good way of saving money, and keeping a healthy diet!