‘Parasite singles’: Why Young Japanese Aren’t Getting Married

Tokyo (AFP) – A sharply dressed crowd of Japanese singletons shuffle awkwardly around conference-room tables, exchanging small-talk and CVs in an attempt to find a marriage partner — all of them accompanied by their parents.

One 38-year-old woman, who declined to give her name, said she “didn’t have the courage” to find a spouse and move away from her mother, who had come with her to the match-making party.

“I didn’t have many good opportunities to meet someone,” she explained, adding: “My workplace has lots of women but not many men.”

Roughly a quarter of Japanese people between 20 and 49 are single, according to government data.

And while people of this age routinely express a wish to get married, outdated social attitudes and increasing economic pressure is making tying the knot more and more difficult, experts say.

Sociology professor Masahiro Yamada from Tokyo’s Chuo University told AFP that the norm of single people living with their parents until marriage means there is less immediate pressure to find a partner.

“They think it’s a waste of time to have a relationship with someone who does not meet their conditions” and can afford to wait for a better catch, he said, dubbing these people “parasite singles.”

Although long-term financial security with a husband or wife is seen as important, the difficulty of finding affordable housing adds to the incentive to stay with mum and dad, he said.

One 74-year-old man at the party, on the hunt for a suitable bride for his 46-year-old son, pointed to another problem: overcoming shyness.

“My son is a salesman. He’s good at dealing with customers but he is very hesitant when it comes to women,” said the father.

Why was his son not looking for himself? He was too busy with work.

– Workaholic Japan –

The same father said his eldest daughter was married but his youngest, a doctor living in the US, is single at the age of 34.

He said he is worried for her, “as I’ve heard it is hard for female doctors to find partners”.

Shigeki Matsuda, a sociology professor at Chukyo University in central Japan, blames the country’s falling marriage rate on a phenomenon known as “hypergamy”.

“Japanese women tend to seek men with stable employment and education levels” higher than them, he explained.

Anecdotal evidence from the match-making party seemed to bear this out, a small queue of women forming to exchange contact details with one of the men who, it emerged, had the highest income of the group.

“The high ratio of unmarried men and women won’t change unless more women accept the idea of marrying a man with an income lower than herself,” said Yamada.

In addition, many people meet future spouses in the office in workaholic Japan, and there are fewer opportunities as jobs become more precarious.

In the decades after World War II, Japan rebuilt its economy largely via huge corporations offering ultra-dedicated workers a job for life — but that pattern is changing rapidly and job security is declining.

Since the early 1990s, the ratio of non-permanent and contract employees has risen from around 15 percent to just below 40 percent, according to labor ministry statistics.

– Focus on love –

“Lower levels of income and an increase in the number of extremely unstable jobs — with the fear of getting sacked at any time — are not helping people to think about getting married and having a family,” said Shuchiro Sekine, head of a trade union representing contract workers.

Even if these workers hope to find a partner, with less job security and lower income comes less chance of finding a spouse.

Six out of 10 men aged between 30-34 with a classic “salaryman” job were married as of 2017, according to a government study issued this year, whereas only 22 percent of male contract workers the same age had a wife.

Those at the Tokyo match-making party are the lucky ones, Sekine told AFP.”Those on lower incomes wouldn’t even think about attending.”

Despite these barriers, do such events help? Shoji Wakisaka, head of the association hosting the party, said there was no firm data but there had been some successes — if limited.

“About two percent of participants on average find a spouse.”

One single woman at the party said it was an “efficient” place to meet others who want to get married.

“You can’t exactly ask passers-by if they are married,” her mother added.

A marriage counselor at the party, Noriko Miyagoshi, implored would-be lovebirds to forget the finances and focus on Cupid’s arrow.

“You shouldn’t be making a lot of conditions,” she told participants.”I hope you choose the one you genuinely feel you’ll be able to get along with.”

 

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Kita – Chapter 55 – Appearance – Part 2

She stumbled before the lion and sadly I took her down.

This salon job groomed me for my current position at the restaurant in Rittenhouse. I realize I had to do this job to transition to where I am now.

It’s so good, but let me get to that in a minute.

All of the wonderful young people who I’ve had the honor to work with has been amazing.

No more do I get up at 6 in the morning to go sit in a cubicle to work for a bunch of loser assholes. No more do I go to 3 meetings a week to waste my time and not be out selling. No more do I have to look for a better job on LinkedIn which is an absolute waste of time and is just a corporate Facebook. No more of any of that. I simply go to work, bring the charm and the sales management ability and go home.

Done.

Do I work more hours? Fuck yea, but I like what I do now. Great salary, free food and TIPS! I’m amazed!

I love it!

As much fun as I’ve had here at the salon. If I could find a way to get the fuck out of here forever, I would. (And I will, but for now it’s $200 in easy money.)

I made that in tips at the restaurant today so I’m not long for the salon.

It’s weird that the whole tanning salon mantra is going through my mind right now. But it is what it is. This is happening, and I want it to end. I had high hopes, it went nowhere, kind of like where Achilles is going, but I can no longer ride that dead-end with him as he collects money in a dying industry.

Amelia says she hates everyone that comes in here. Tanning is for a certain crowd and you know what? They’re all shitty people for the most part. I get the whole… I don’t want to be whiter than my wedding dress, and I’m going to Mexico, and I don’t want to burn to a crisp, but the regular tanners… fuck you.

You’re all losers.

They think Eileen is coming back this year. Ha! I’ve been in touch with her and I’m trying to get her a better job at Square 1682!

It’s over, and I’m just here transitioning and collecting my $200 a month because I have nothing better to do on a Sunday.

All of this is running through my head instead of the thing that should be there.

 

I had sex with Kita on two occasions at this very site.

 

She’s 22 years old.

WTF? How did this happen?

I know how this happened.

You have a naive young girl who’s obsessed with tanning. (Addiction and body issues) I work at a tanning salon. I’m nice and a dad. I listen and offer advice. I’m good at getting back to her on an ongoing basis to help her after a barrage of texts about a foolish boy she’s seeing. I give her gifts. I give her pepper spray to protect herself. I give her snacks. I take her out to a nice dinner. I take her to lunch. I show her how a boy should treat a girl.

Every boy in her life is a fail. Her dad is unavailable. Why did he even adopt these two Asian girls???

 

I’m patient and present.

I’m of course attracted to her based on my history.

I’m good to her.

She stumbled before the lion and sadly I took her down.

 

The buzzer goes off for sunbed 3, and I know Kita is finished her session.

 

Kita comes out and approaches the counter.

She smiles.

I smile.

“I’ve missed you, Charles.”

“I’ve missed you too, Kita.”

“Charles can we set up a date somewhere we can catch up and talk?”

“Of course. I’ll text you and we’ll coordinate our schedule to make that happen.”

“Thanks so much. We have a lot to discuss.”

“Really?”

“No. All good. Text me.”

“Okay dear. We’ll work it out.

“Good. I look forward to that.

She smiles and turns. I watch her pad out of the salon like a kitten. I quietly walk to the hallway and watch her as she goes down the stairs.

Those lovely legs.

I’m happy that Kita’s returned to me. My heart sings. I’m so happy to see her.

I’m also thinking about a bunch of her shitty life drama, but we’ll have to get to the hard cold, fact that we had sex.

Oh, and I will ease myself into that conversation…

I need to set up a little date to catch up.

God, she’s beautiful.

 

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Sun Stories – Just Another Sunday at the Salon…

Cherie is a wonderful woman but sadly has failed me on so many levels I have decided to compartmentalized my life.

Despite everything else that’s been going on, I was still  focused on my last (and probably final) encounter with Kita.

I thought back on our relationship all the while dating Cherie and cheating on her with other women.

Was Kita just another notch in the bedpost that was my life now?

No. She’s a sweet girl I really like and want to help.

But who am I kidding? As nice and as charming and as moral as I am, I’m just the best shark wrapped in wolf’s clothing dressed as a lamb.

What have I done?

I really liked little Kita. I guided her as best I could with all of the knowledge and wisdom about dating and relationships.

She would blow up my phone on my day off about her problems with her silly boyfriends. I was there for her. I got her pepper spray. Snacks, knowing she’d be in to enjoy them. Lunches. Dinner dates. Treats to send her off with at Christmas break.

I did everything a good boyfriend should do for his girl. But she wasn’t my girlfriend.

I did these things because I fell in love with her. A 22-year-old girl.

Her dad is busy and is never around. Her mom put her on antidepressants to deal with her. She’s obsessed with tanning.

This is damaged girl.

I just wanted to help her navigate her life because she had no experience in the ways of romance.

But in doing so. I made her mine.

Sure, when I laid eyes on her I was immediately attracted to this cute, fit little Asian beauty, but that was nothing more than the passing phicklephilly lust. I never saw all of the gifts and dates we experienced. Not in a million years.

Or did I?

Is this what I do now?

I’ve always been attracted to younger women my whole life. Is this how I do it now? I protect, shelter, counsel and then covet these young girls?

Now I don’t know.

If you read the entire Kita series I think you can see a real interest and care for my subject. But rather quickly once she awakens from her folly she submits to me. I never elude to it or ask for it. I never had to in my life. I’ve always been disgusted by men trying to get sex from women in their life. It’s always seemed so clumsy to me.

Every time I’ve ever been intimate with a woman it’s always been relinquished to me without request. I think that’s how it should always be.

It’s her choice.

She decides she wants you.

You can never take her or press her no matter how much you want to. If you’re a good man, she’ll yield to you.

Kita came to me.

She came here drunk and ready to play.

I feel something about that, but it isn’t guilt or sorrow. It was an exciting act of celebration and retribution for us both. She the broken toy with the lost boyfriend, and shitty current boyfriend, and me the sheer joy of the ease at which I was able to close this sweet young client.

Cherie is a wonderful woman but sadly has failed me on so many levels I’ve decided to compartmentalized my life.

I just never thought I’d fall this far.

I was so in love with Cherie. Our love was so sweet. She was always so horny, which was fun. I’d never met a woman who was so well-connected to her raw sexuality.

Truly a queen.

But here I am doing my job and wondering after what happened between Kita and me if I will ever see her again.

As much as I’ve been a mentor to her, I have to admit all I’ve wanted to do was to split her like a ripe melon and fuck her back to China.

See if you know anyone that has the balls to say that?

I can’t lie in my blog. I’ve got readers counting on me to be honest.

It happened. I did it to her.

How is she?

Did I mess her up?

I can’t live with that. Too much anxiety.  I never want to hurt a girl. I couldn’t live with myself.

If Achilles finds out I’ll probably be fired.

Rule 3… You’re available but not available.

I’m losing my shit.

What did I do to this girl?

I was her mentor on every level and then I fucked her on the utility sink of the salon.

I don’t know what to do.

Will she just stop coming here and cancel her membership?

Fuck.

I can’t think about this but I can’t help it.

I love Kita.

That blonde, tanned, fit little 22-year-old naive Asian girl who is super hot and dumb that you just slammed on the back sink of the tanning salon.

I feel awful, but exhilarated.

I put in a lot of time with her. all of the hours of counseling. the endless texts. It was so annoying. Was it wrong for me to extract my fee?

No. She offered herself willingly.

But still.

 

I sweep and mop the salon, and punch out.

This fucking place.

I no longer like it, or Achilles.  But it groomed me to be great at my new job as manager at the restaurant in Rittenhouse.

I lock the door and head down the steps. I card lock the outside door and head West on Walnut street.

I’m tired of working here. This whole relationship with Achilles went nowhere. Which I have learned is how all of his relationships go. Even the one with his girlfriend.

I walk South on 16th, Starbucks and a healthy alternative restaurant that will be out of business in 6 months because their rent is to high and their covers are too light.

I need to quit smoking.

I hate smoking.

The dirty smoke, ashes, paper, glue, carbon monoxide, all of that and $10 bucks a pack need to go away.

 

I’m puffing my celebratory smoke as I walk past the Italian restaurant where I had my final dinner with Annabelle before we saw the worst show ever and then she later dumped me.

I feel nothing now for Annabelle. She is just a series of blog posts that tell my story with her.

 

I approach my place in Rittenhouse  and I pause.

I stand on the steps of my walk up and think about my life for a moment.

I’m surrounded by good people and family.

My health is fine.

I’m killing it in my work life. (And for once I actually like what I do!)

I’m loved and I truly love.

I have things to look forward to.

 

My Magic 5!

 

I’m good. we’ve come a long way.

Like I always do if Lorelei isn’t home, I’m going to sit in my chair in the living room and watch Mr. Robot on the 50 inch.

Life is good.

I’m at peace an I don’t have to be in work until 5pm tomorrow.

 

I’m actually dozing when I get the text.

 

“Hey, how are you? WE should meet up!”

Kita xo

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

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