Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Coffee Women and Tea Women: Filipino Women vs. Japanese Women

The title of this article can be misleading. I am not trying to pit Filipinas and Japanese women against each other. I just want to contrast how these two Asian women,  who have an intertwined history, differ from each other. I don't even intend to point who is better or worse. These are just curious observations.


1. Filipinas are laugh-out-loud type; Japanese women are all-smiles type

Filipinas are noisy. We love to talk, giggle and guffaw. We love hilarity no matter what the situation is. When a group of Filipinas come together, expect endless chatter, exchange of jokes and nonsense noise. And seriously, Filipinas laugh and talk more than smile. When we meet someone we know expect a small chitchat whether it's a man or woman, young or old. It seems that a friendly smile is usually not enough. 

On the other hand, Japanese women always seem to smile and never really laugh. I've been here a few months and I have never heard a Japanese woman laugh loudly. And for some reason, when they talk, they talk in a quiet manner with little noise. And they always seem to smile whatever the situation is- even if it's just mundane as asking for the key. 

2. Filipinas find something to complain about; Japanese women find everything all right

When Filipinas talk, we would usually find something to complain about- from our seemingly unkempt hair to how politicians run the country, from the heavy traffic to the our telenovela-like lovelife. We just love to complain. I think we feel closer to each other when we complain about common things. 

Japanese women seem to take everything to be fine- at least on the surface. Their agreeable faces can fool anyone who thinks everything is fine. According to some Japanese I've talked with, Japanese women will always said that everything is okay even if it's not. They have the tendency to just sweep things under the rug.  

3. Filipinas barely dress; Japanese women ALWAYS dress up

This is not to say that Filipinas are not fashionable. We are just minimalist when it comes to dressing up. The more natural the look the better. Malls and other establishments are full of women in shorts and beach sandals paired with sleeveless tops or simple shirts. We go for the comfortable look. Our fashion sense, in fact, will be deemed too comfortable in Japan. 

Japanese women love to dress up. And this means, wearing fake long lashes, stockings with ribbons, thick make-up and high-heeled shoes even when they're just going to the mall. I always feel my clothes are trashy and drab when I go malling here. I've also learned that a lot of them even go to the salon before going to the mall. All I can say is "Wow, where do they get the time to dress up?" And maybe when they dress up like that in the Philippines, people would silently ask "What party are you attending?"

4. Filipinas are coffee-women; Japanese are tea-women

I like to end with this contrast cause I think it captures the essential difference between Filipinas and Japanese women. Japanese women seem to be more delicate compared to Filipinas. They are like a fragile tea cup with Filipinas like a strong coffee mug. I don't know if this also applies beyond the physical and the manners. It's just like Japanese women have the word FEMININE written all over them while Filipinas have the word SASSY painted all over. 

As I have stated, no type of woman is better than the other. The way women behave is largely cultural and social in nature. I just think that Filipina women should sometimes tone down their sassiness especially when they are in another country while I hope that Japanese women would learn to be more open with what they truly feel. And oh, less make up please!

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