The Independent Archive: So You Think That You've Got Problems 6 August 1990 When Japanese Woman Meets New York Man, Steve Fochios and Couch Are in Business, Reports Reggie Nadelson
"I LOVE you is not a Japanese saying." Steve Fochios, a Manhattan psychiatrist and family therapist, has an interesting speciality: he treats Japanese women who are married to American men. In these relationships, and in the problems that beset them, he sees a metaphor for America's own uneasy marriage to Japan.
"The details of cultural problems that pop up resonate in politics and business," Dr Fochios said. "For instance, we Americans need to be told we are loved. Japanese don't do that. They think it's rude and empty; they read through a person's behaviour how he feels.
"The differences are enormous. Our notion of mental health is based on development of the individual. We try to get people to be direct, to deal with their feelings. We look people in the eye. For the Japanese, everything is the opposite. They love indirection. They do not speak of feelings openly. They are not confrontational. What is not good for the group is not good for the individual."
I saw Dr Fochios last week, a few days after The New York Times, in yet another article on the presence of Japan Inc in New York City, reported that racism was on the rise. Verbal abuse was common, it said: parents were pulling kids out of schools they saw as overrun by Japanese. The irony here was that all this was taking place in rich, white suburbs, and the problem with Japanese kids was they were too clever. Smarter than ours.
The 60,000 Japanese in the city are becoming too rich and successful, and they are too different. Unlike traditional immigrants, they are transient. They do not reveal their feelings by shouting "I LOVE NEW YORK", but by buying up big chunks of it.
New Yorker and Japanese, we are caught in a messy net of transcultural stereotypes, something Dr Fochios sees in his patients.
"Many American men have been lugging around the Madame Butterfly stereotype. Then they discover the Japanese woman is not this dainty creature in a kimono, but a tough woman who makes all financial, educational, social and living decisions," he …
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Publication information: Article title: The Independent Archive: So You Think That You've Got Problems 6 August 1990 When Japanese Woman Meets New York Man, Steve Fochios and Couch Are in Business, Reports Reggie Nadelson. Contributors: Not available. Newspaper title: The Independent (London, England). Publication date: August 6, 1999. Page number: 7. © 2009 The Independent - London. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All Rights Reserved.
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