Japanese grass eaters
Just came across this article:
..on an emerging generation of young Japanese men called "grass eaters". I hadn't heard of this before and would be interested in any insights. Is there a Chinese term for them? Does it happen in China also?
Also, does Chinese have an equivalent expression/concept to the English "get in touch with your feminine side"?
simonpetterssonSeptember 03, 2010, 12:29 AM
I've said it before and I say it again: Japanese are crazy.
The article smells strongly of exaggeration, though.
The article smells strongly of exaggeration
A recent survey found that one third of Japanese men aged between 20 and 34 had never even had a girlfriend, because most weren't even interested.
...1/3 is surprisingly high. Maybe they conducted the survey out among the buttercups.
zhenlijiangSeptember 03, 2010, 01:15 AM
啊。真的令／让／使／叫人感到忧郁。 Ah. Depressing stuff (if you're Japanese) Baba.
--Otsuka believes the rise of the grasseaters is the result of a generation of young men watching their salarymen fathers live a life of corporate drudgery.
Oh. Well I believe it's at least partly the result of a generation of Japanese getting woefully inadequate sex ed at home and school, instead being "informed" by all the A片 and rubbish entertainment content like that overflowing in this society. No wonder the idea of sex appeals so little to them!
The 戴乳罩的男子 bra-wearing men needs to be another story (anyway I don't think the masculine VS feminine angle they put on the 草食系男子 [☜ think of "grasseater" as the exact opposite of "cougar"] story is totally accurate. it's more about aggressive VS passive I think). Believe me, this is stuff that leaves us shaking our heads too. We don't think it's like, regular, for men to go needing to put on a bra because their bosses are nags and that stresses them out.
I think I had some other nits to pick with the story, maybe I'll discuss those later.
And Baba, I think "getting in touch with your feminine side" is a very western, un-Asian concept.
Boy I can see why it would be so not realistic to try to create a JPod in the CPod mould. Imagine the culture questions to be dealt with endlessly.
What about "bishōnen"? I can't say I've watched a lot of it, but it seems to me men in anime have always been depicted as pretty darn feminine. In fact, that's what I'd assume is behind the grass-eater thing, though it wasn't mentioned in the article.
Bishonen 美少年 are impossibly beautiful boys/youths. They can be androgynous. Most often they'll have feminine features and a virginal look. They are very much objects of sexual desire (of men, and I guess women fall desperately in love with them too). I'm not familiar with anime either (where's Changye?). As far as I know, pretty-faced young men that dress up in frills and wear makeup and have long curly tresses don't appeal to homosexuals. Those ones form "visual-type" bands and become objects of female fantasies.
The guys we saw in the video (sorry, but) have zero appeal of that sort. Grass-eating people behave as if they've been neutered. They're non-sexual.
Being a grass-eater means you have no lust for anything; it doesn't mean you're feminine.
From wikipedia on bishonen:
it breaks down stereotypes surrounding feminine male characters. These are often depicted with very strong martial arts abilities, sports talent, high intelligence, or comedic flair, traits that are usually assigned to the hero/protagonist
...ring any bells?
"Baba, I think "getting in touch with your feminine side" is a very western, un-Asian concept."
..yeah, that would have been my guess [which is why I asked if there was that concept in Chinese culture], but this quote:
"The company denies that its customers are cross dressers, saying Japanese men simply want to get in touch with their inner woman"
..seemingly from a Japanese company made me wonder. Perhaps the concept has been imported to some degree through exposure to American culture.
"Imagine the culture questions to be dealt with endlessly."
..hehe, yeah, but what's wrong with that? Nothing like a bit of stimulating conversation on culture.
Yeah with this kind of line I suspect the writers of getting a bit too cute for my taste, and taking too many liberties. I would remain sceptical as to whether the Japanese maker of bras for men really actually said that. As far as I'm aware and I'm no expert or psychologist, these men wear bras because they find the idea of having such a secret (they wear them to work, under their salaryman suits), and being constricted is a physical and mental comfort. A security blanket I guess? Seeking and enduring a physical stress to displace the real-life mental stresses they're under?
Straight news-writing doesn't allow this sort of cuteness, but feature stories esp. ones on "light" subjects as this (and also benefiting from the added removal of a foreign country and language needing to be translated) can often get written like this. Many scripts turn out getting cute at times, like here. After all this is a piece on wacky Japanese-ness.
I agree stimulating conversations on culture are a good thing. There's only so much I think I can take though, when it comes to questions on crazy Japan. The interest from overseas in Japanese things seems overwhelmingly focused on anime and "kawaii" pop culture, "otaku-ism"--and wackiness. A lot of fringe stuff constantly gets front-page attention and it can get a bit exhausting, to try to understand and then explain those things that I'm not familiar with, all the time ...
Well said.Though I didn't mention it in my hasty post, I did consider that [journo's taking some liberties..plus translation issues,etc..all good points]. It's good to get your perspective.
I see what you mean about responding to the whacky fringe stuff.
TalSeptember 03, 2010, 01:46 AM
Except for wanting to wear bras, I'd say these guys have got some pretty good ideas. Sex is way over-rated anyway, let's be honest. It's so unfortunate that evolution has programmed us guys into wasting so much time and energy chasing after females in hope of a few moments of pleasure and/or romance, often absent anyway.Think how much we'd get done if we could just switch off those primal urges!
I don't think this is going to take off in China though. Maybe in the future. China is still only developing to be a rich, spoiled society like Japan and western nations, so most Chinese are still very connected to basic drives and desires, (e.g. food, comfort, shelter, etc.)
It's already over and done with in China, hundreds of years ago. There's a quick way to get rid of those primal urges: 太监. And according to the Wikipedia article on bisōnen, "it has roots in ancient Japanese literature, the homosocial and homoerotic ideals of the medieval Chinese imperial court and intellectuals, and Indian aesthetic concepts carried over from Hinduism, imported with Buddhism to China".
"Think how much we'd get done if we could just switch off those primal urges"!
Well, Ive had that same thought many times in my life, but then, I just say nah, and get on with it. Im really not sure we would get any more done. Impressing women is the reason we build stuff - isnt it? Without that primal urge, we probably wouldnt do anything. But your point is well taken......nah.
I guess my tongue was in my cheek when I said that RJ! Certainly much of life, human behavior, and yes, human creativity, is closely linked to our sexuality. It's our animal nature and we're stuck with it, it's not like we got a choice, 呵呵. At times it's a bummer though, 对吧？There's part of me that can envy a person, anyone, who simply does not feel the need or desire to chase after a member of the opposite sex (or the same sex for that matter) to make them 'happy' or 'complete'. To enjoy simple uncomplicated pleasures like sweets, strawberry tea, and a nice comfy bra... no wait, not that last one!
Here I thought Eunichs were created to keep the staff from messing with the Emperor's wives. Nip it in the bud so to speak. You can stick with all that philosophical high brow shit if you want to, but I like my idea better. Occam's razor as it were. (one of your favorites) And here the razor is literal. Anyway with all them grass eaters running around you ought to take a trip to Japan. There should be some great fodder for your blog there. Like the gal at the end of the video said, (more or less) where there are grass-eating men, there will be man-eating women.
Forgive me Zhen, just having some fun.
Wait, what philosophical high brow shit? I just quoted Wikipedia, dude! I'm pretty sure you're right about the purpose. Anyway, it doesn't seem to have made the eunuchs sit around and enjoy strawberry tea. I understand they were often fiercely career-minded. I do wonder a bit about the "homosocial and homoerotic ideals of the medieval Chinese imperial court and intellectuals". Anyone got the dirt on that?
As for going to Japan, I cannot stand the look of their writing. I'm sure there would be a lot of hilarious adventures to be had, and the culture is not without merits (NINJAS!!!!!), but how can I go to a country that mixes 楷书 and 草书 like that? It looks like someone wrote half of the words in Garamond and half in Comic sans!