Once a week?
By Kazuya Muto
The other day I was chatting with a Chinese girl about my girlfriend back in Japan. "How often do you call her?" she asked me. I told her once a week. "Once a week!" she cried. "That's not enough. If that's enough for you, then I don't think you really love her. If you really love her, you would call her every day, every five minutes."
I was offended. Since when did this girl have a Ph.D. in Love?
She continued: "I knew it. I've been told that Japanese men are selfish. I've heard that even if they have a girlfriend or wife, they give priority to their work or to their own interests. They never think about their partners. Do you?"
The question struck a nerve. I began to think more deeply about this.
It's curious: the different attitudes people have toward love. Since I came to Australia, I've talked about love with people from all sorts of different countries: from France, Korea, Peru, Germany, America, Thailand, China and, of course, Australia. So I decided to ask my friends: "I normally call my girlfriend once a week. Do you think I should call her more often?"
Phillipe from France went first. "Hey, Kazu," he said, "When it comes to talking about love, the French are the best, because you know, France is the country of love." "Yes, yes," I thought impatiently, "You're not answering my question."
Phillipe said that calling just once a week was unthinkable. "You should call her more often. As much as you can. Twice a day. Once to say good morning, and once to say good night. The good thing is that there isn't much of a time difference between Japan and Australia."
The reactions from my other friends were similar.
Bruno from Peru took a different tack. "You shouldn't worry about what other people say. Just express your feelings directly whenever you want." He added, though, that Japanese men should probably express their feelings a little more often.
A Korean girl told me, "If my boyfriend only called me once a week, I would start worrying about whether he had another girlfriend or not. If he had, I would make him regret it."
Xuan and Jack, my friends from China, said that it would, of course, depend on the woman, but Xuan said he would normally call her every two days. He thought calling her just once a week was a bit harsh on her.
After I'd heard what my friends had to say, they asked me what I thought. Is ringing my girlfriend once a week enough? I still think it is enough. I think calling once or twice a week is better than calling every day of the week, particularly if the couple trust each other like we do.
For me, calling once a week gives me something to look forward to, it gives me something to work hard for during the week, and it means that our conversations never end up just being plain routine. In any case, I do e-mail her during the week as well.
But the Chinese girl was right in some respects. I am probably self-centered, and I don't think I've considered my girlfriend's feelings as much as I should have. I certainly don't know how she feels about my weekly calls. In the meantime, what do you think? Is once a week enough?
Shukan ST: Nov. 3, 2006
(C) All rights reserved