So even in Tokyo yesterday, living a Travelife, the topic at lunch among a group of women was how to marry a rich man.
This was after a query of a supposedly young lady in Manhattan, 29 years old if I'm not mistaken, about how to catch a millionaire (or actually a billionaire), went viral on the Internet.
Her query was supposedly answered in a typical cut-and-dried fashion by the CEO of one of the biggest firms in the global financial industry.
Scroll down to read more...
HUMOROUS BUT CUTTING FICTION
It's probably a fictional account, of course, concocted by someone for fun.
I know that CEO in question and the people around him, and I'm sure they would never deign to answer such a rather shockingly outright question -- especially not online, and including the name of the company as well.
But it did provide for a lively conversation yesterday, as all the women had read it, and not a few of them had done pretty well for themselves in this department of marriage.
In other words, they'd all married wealthy men.
DIRECT STUFF IN AN INDIRECT SOCIETY
Interestingly, in Japan, marriage brokering is still a fact of life.
This is one of the most indirect societies in the world and yet people can be shockingly direct about stuff most people never talk about in public.
Like "how much money do you make."
Money is an issue that's never taken off the negotiations table for marriage brokering, and you usually know all the financial stuff about a potential marriage partner even before you meet him.
The two people who are being set up -- for quite a hefty fee, of course, and the rates go higher, the higher on the food chain you go -- are required from the outset to provide almost every bit of evidence to prove that they are who they say they are.
Scroll down to read more...
BLOOD'S A REALLY BIG DEAL IN JAPAN
Knowing your blood type is SOP in Japan, by the way, and there's probably not a single adult who doesn't know his or her type.
There's a whole culture around one's blood type, including the characteristics of your personality, whether someone is a good match for you, and even what kind of foods you should eat.
So I thought this was the norm everywhere in the world as well until I happened to ask my travel companion to South Africa last year what blood type he was -- before we left for our trip.
He didn't know. Never had it tested, he said.
I was completely shocked. I said: "What if you fall down a ravine or get bitten by a tiger on safari, and I have to find blood for you somewhere?"
He shrugged, and we ended up going to South Africa without him knowing his blood type. Of course, I told him mine, just in case.
Thank goodness no tigers took a fancy to him....
SCHOOL DIPLOMAS AND TAX SLIPS FOR A FIRST DATE
The documentation list for an arranged formal first date in Japan also includes school diplomas, company IDs, real estate ownership papers, tax payments, and even club memberships.
This may all sound rather crass in a society outside of Japan.
But you have to remember that Tokyo, for instance, is a megapolis with millions of people.
It's not like Manila where you can ask around and get validation about an acquaintance since there's only one degree of separation between people in a certain category.
In Tokyo, land of the equal that is increasingly becoming unequal, people have to rely on more practical means for investigating people's backgrounds.
There are professional companies that handle this as discreetly as possible, but everything is indeed undertaken in a very business-like fashion.
To even get on step one of the marriage brokering bandwagon, you need all the documents to prove that you are who you say you are.
THREE DATES AND YOU'RE OUT. OR IN.
And you have about three dates to decide whether this is the person you wish to spend the rest of your life with.
It's rather complicated, while also being rather simple at the same time.
DIVORCE IS SIMPLE
And talk about a pretty simple divorce process in case two people decide it's not working out.
Apart from a legal division of assets, the only things needed are two hanko (personal stamps) on a very simple divorce paper easily obtainable from the local city hall.
You don't even need to sign anything.
Trouble only comes about when there's a more reluctant party.
Then he or she needs convincing to attach his or her hanko to the paper -- and this is where it gets messy sometimes. But after this, it's smooth sailing and you're divorced in days.
More on how to marry a rich man in the next blog entry based on the discussions over lunch yesterday.
It's not something we usually cover in a never-ending Travelife, but it's interesting sociological studies just the same.
TRAVELIFE MAGAZINE on Facebook