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More women enjoying a night out alone

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“Over New Year,” a 30-year-old woman tells Shukan Asahi (March 27), “I rented a hotel suite and spent the night there all by myself, drinking wine in a bubble bath and reading a magazine.” She smiles. “Very elegant, don’t you think?”

Very. The key word is “all by myself” -- which is how, Shukan Asahi finds, a growing number of women prefer to spend their time. It’s not that they don’t have friends and significant others. It’s that -- well, who needs them? Their presence only spoils that certain special atmosphere you can only create in solitude.

Example follows example. A working woman with a 2-year-old daughter has to hire a babysitter anyway, so when she finishes work early, she treats herself to a solitary sushi dinner and then goes out for a drink or two. A 26-year-old Kansai-area freeter penny-pinches her meager earnings as best she can, and then, when she has enough, she treats herself to a first-class restaurant meal. “Once I took the day off and went to Yokohama for a full-course French dinner. At the restaurants I like best,” she says, “I prefer to be alone.”

Doesn’t dining alone feel… well, lonely?

“No way,” she says. “Alone, you can really savor the taste of your food. You can take as much time as you like. With no friend or lover present, you can, for a while, live entirely for yourself.”

Shukan Asahi uses the expression “good at being alone,” as though it were a skill. If it is, more and more women are acquiring it -- or maybe they were born with it.

“There are two main reasons,” says Tokyo University professor Chizuko Ueno, author of a book on the subject, “for the proliferation of ‘o-hitori-sama’” -- the neologism coined to describe women soloing out on the town. “First, women have stronger social skills than men” -- which presumably give them confidence to venture alone into the sort of place where everyone else is matched with somebody. “Secondly, a woman is conventionally expected to adjust her behavior to the mood of her companion. It’s very stressful. No wonder they’ve come to think, ‘It’s more fun alone!’”

A staffer at a karaoke box in Tokyo’s Shibuya has noticed over the past two or three years a growing number of women coming in alone. “Now,” he says, these solitary women “make up 30% of our business.”

One of them is a third-year college student, who explains it this way: “When you’re with other people, you can only sing songs everyone knows, or songs that the others are in the mood for. You end up not singing what you want to sing. To work off the stress that builds up, I’ll come again on another day to sing alone.”

Then there’s the 25-year-old office worker whose idea of the perfect date is to leave her boyfriend at home and go where she wants to go by herself.

“I like the sort of places where people go on dates,” she tells Shukan Asahi. “He hates them. Sometimes he’ll let me drag him along, but it’s always, ‘This is no fun,’ ‘Let’s go home already.’ So I go on dates by myself. I’ll go to a nice place for lunch, then maybe to a planetarium, and then I’ll go to Yokohama for dinner at Chinatown.”

“I have a boyfriend, but to be honest,” says another young woman, putting the essence of the solitary social life in a nutshell,” it’s more fun without him.”

© Japan Today

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

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“Secondly, a woman is conventionally expected to adjust her behavior to the mood of her companion. It’s very stressful. No wonder they’ve come to think, ‘It’s more fun alone!’”

There is a kernel of truth to this, although my boyfriend would probably say men have to do the same on occasion! I do quite like being by myself from time to time.

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shame hotels in tokyo routinely rip off guests by charging almost the same if not equal to rate for double. try booking short package tours for one in Japan and you'll see what I mean

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I suspect the phenomenon is partly due to people, in this case women, having in fact very low stress boundaries. They can't and they won't try to adjust to other people or fit social situations.

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It’s not that they don’t have friends and significant others. It’s that—well, who needs them?

Lol true and not true for me ;P I love being alone, but then again i love being with people, i like to have that social interactment.. if not, that causes a very very bad thing to happen.. non-stop talking! lol Plus girls should and guys should have sometime alone, a day for yourself. ;]

Karaoke box T_T i want one here! ;[[ my neighbours would be all for it too haha ;P

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sometimes when i head to Tokyo for work I will book a hotel near drinking spots I like & after work dump my bag at the hotel, leave my ketai there then head out & hit a few spots for sticks & a few beers & just relax & watch the world & forget about all the crap I have to deal with. Since my wife is allergic to alcohol she doesnt wanna join me most times anyway, sweet.

Everyone needs to escape on their own for a bit, if thats all you do........well then you obviously have problems

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well as the population falls and no children are born, everyone will get their wish and will be alone soon enough whether they like it or not. Apparently they like it! This points to a lack of social skills and the shut-ins that is only increasing. I hope it changes but I don't see how?

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Jeez, I WISH I could go out with someone. But, all you guys are only goggling Jgals. It's hopeless. Ohitorisama bleh.

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Well I understand how these "o hitori sama" feel, its a real social problem for J women in this do-what-your-boyfriend-want-you-to. But still I think some of these women are just selfish or hypocritical.

But sometime there s no other choice but to go around alone and just have your fun doing what you wanna do. Thats just a pity that your friends/partner can't make some agreement to share good times.

Well I bet it depends of people, I don't have much fun or even not at all, being alone.

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"do-what-your-boyfriend-want-you-to-do" society, just forget a word :p

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Me myself and I - the 3 best companions. Travelling, going to the movies, shopping, relaxing in a park...great pastimes to do alone. Sometimes you dont want to be around anyone. I can fully understand this hitori sama phenom in the article.

Drinking alone in bars on the other hand is pretty sad.

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Hmmm - women going out drinking alone because they're not happy with their love life...what's the worst that could happen?

If your typical Japanese woman could look after herself, I'd say there was something to this. But given the helpless child attitude so many of them adopt, I can see this leading to big trouble.

And, call me old-fashioned, but getting into the habit of drinking alone is not in anybody's long-term interests.

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On this trip to Japan, i have run into a couple of these types and suffered miserably due to their behavior.

Some of the posters had it spot on "failure to adjust" and incredible amounts ot stress caused by the most insignificant requests.

If you have the chance, travel for a few weeks to mainland China and you will find quality people that dont mind meeting you out 4-5 times a week, and can always make time, even if they are working 3 jobs, etc. I can't wait to get back there, and many of my friends too. I havent been to other countries in Asia, but other than Korea, i would assume things are much better than here socially.

Here in Japan it was impossible to meet anyone more than 1-2 times a month, and how could it be possible to establish any sort of meaningful relationship if thats the case?

I'm outta here on April 6, so hope that trends have changed by next time!

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With the depressing little grottos single women often end up with in Japan it's not surprising they need to escape to a stress free environment sometimes. Personally I enjoy some company when I go to a restaurant as long as they don't feel obliged to go into an oiishi spasm with every dish.

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Japan is socially immature.

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And so the population of Japan will continue to decline.

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You need to be okay by yourself. My experiences so far are that the people who are NOT okay by themselves are the ones to steer clear of. Instead of going to a hotel room, scrape a little extra cash together and go to a spa. I'm a writer and an artist so I always take a good book, paper and pens and my laptop with me. There's no, "I'm bored." "Okay, we did something you like, now let's do something I like" (go to the bar and drink all evening). You get tired of being with complainers (and they AGREED to come along, of their own free will!) and the passive-agressive who will bring it up later during a giant tantrum, or who will continue to bring it up for weeks in the future. Life is too short to be suffering through unhappy days.

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this is what friends are for. You have your tennis friends, drinking friends, weekend friends, or friends at work. Friends change and come and go depending on what you do with your life.

Millions of loners in Japan, and growing doesn't make any sense. Without enough social skills training where no one wants to be judged, thus no friends or explanations.

why would Japan want the Olympics? To show off their loneliness and boredom with life?

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I dig it. I also would like to join them. The guys here suck in so many ways. My wife was one of these loners and it took a long time to unlock. However we have a great son and she is now married to him.... Personally I think the Japanese have become disconnected in many ways because of the phone and internet.... the comment above mine is spot on.

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That girl whose idea of a perfect date is to leave her whiny-go-nowhere boy at home needs to dump his sorry @ss. Why stay with a guy that complains about everything, and offers nothing? He can't find enjoyment in just being somewhere with her? I know a girl who dates a dude like that, and I can never understand why someone would tolerate such a selfish jerk. Practically alone even when they're out together, so why not go the extra step and forego the whining? So sad. Why do women put up with it?

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In Japanese society people are expected to be what everyone wants them to be, rather than who they really are. It's really sad and not surprising that so many people are alone.

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Why stay with a guy that complains about everything, and offers nothing? He can't find enjoyment in just being somewhere with her? I know a girl who dates a dude like that, and I can never understand why someone would tolerate such a selfish jerk.

I know a bloke who married a woman who turned into a pain like that. Nice as pie she was, then he gave her the ring on the finger, the mortgage and the kid and it's whine, whine, whine or total silence. Every little thing, the wife views as unbearably stressful.

He tends to go out alone more frequently these days, too. It's not a female-only phenomenon.

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Here is the problem: Japanese men are too pampered by their mothers to the point they become mama's boys. So, when they marry, they expect the wife to continue as sort of a servant. The problem with Japanese women is that they have bought the story about being subservient to their husbands to the point that is their duty. It kind of has similarities with some extremist religions which I do not want to mention. The other problem is that Japanese are disfuntional when it comes to maintaining friendships. They only know that one friend is all they should have, and if you have other friends, it is like you are cheating them as if you were husband and wife. I am not making this up. I had this experience. I learn a lesson, when it comes to friends, anybody except Japanese. Anyways they have no strong commitment and will side with their Japanese compatriots when it comes to who is in the wrong or right. They are also very indiscrete. Some of them would even say, I am going to tell your wife. Back home, some of these people do not live long if they spill the beans on a friend.

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in case you folks havent noticed most Japanese are only truly happy when everyone around them is as miserable as they are, then its all good(but it really just slowly destroys them all & they cant really see it).

This is why its good to be gaijin, we are much much freer in Jpn then the Japanese, much easier for us to have a good life, if I was Japanese I wud hopefully have left in my 20s

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Japan is socially immature.

110% agreed. And the men don't know how to treat women here too, that's why they are always losing out to foreigners. No shit. And that is also probably why these women like being alone. If your man is useless, then what's the point in keeping him around?

Million dollar question for any who can answer. This is like a legit SAT style question. Why do beautiful girls date such dumbass dudes?

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And so the drama continues with OL's and desperate housewifes going out to have a good time by themselves...

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I don't think that enjoying time alone with yourself necessarily makes people "weird" or "socially immature" or whatever else some posters are saying. If someone ALWAYS wants to be alone, or can't be with other people, then there might be a problem, but every once-in-a-while could even be considered healthy. I love spending time with my girlfriend, friends and even my crazy family, but I've been traveling on my own before, for decent periods of time, and I absolutely loved it. Back when I used to live by myself, I loved nothing better than going home after work to read in peace or to turn up the stereo and play along on my guitar. I've even been out to clubs by myself before, and while you may run into someone you know, or meet a stranger, it's not necessary to still have a good time.

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the women actually prefer to cuddle up with their Louis Vuitton bags and other brand products in these hotels... if they did this at home their boyfriends would be pissed off... as mentioned above many times, the people in this country need to get a social life away from their computers, games and brand products...

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don’t have friends and significant others. It’s that—well, who needs them?

Are you kidding me? You don't need friends? Okay...

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lol, playing with oneself is considered " cool " now ?

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i honestly dont see why people think it's horrible that these women want some alone-time. if anything i think most societies place too much emphasis on going out with other people. going out alone can be just as good of an experience, and everyone needs some alone time.

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i'm not a japanese but i do agree with the idea of dining alone, i usually go to karaoke room alone, but never lonely.I don't find it absurd when someone treats herself to a good trip without someone to tell her where to go, what to do, what to eat.......kudos to all of you, brave girls!!!!

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And I though I was a go out by myself kind of person alone in Japan. Oddly, my wife is exactly the same as me and we have no problem relaxing at home but yet not needing to entertain each other. There's a time a place for everything and this is how some people wish to relax. Nothing wrong if they can relax in country where the stress of being always at someone's call is just too much to take sometimes.

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I do draw the line at drinking alone... that's just really sad no matter how you look at it.

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i'm sure if chrisbiggins read this article he would have a good weep with mrs biggins.

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Does not bother me at all. I'm married 20 plus years, and I had an entire vacation by myself and it was great! My wife does not get as much vacation time as me, so I may as well enjoy it by myself. You get to go exactly where YOU want and you can have a lot of fun!!

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don’t have friends and significant others. It’s that—well, who needs them? Are you kidding me? You don't need friends? Okay...

I re-read the article by mistake lol and i believe they have and want friends but they dont need them. it makes sence that way, they don't rely on there friends to have a good time, they can do it on there own. but thats just how i see it now, and i agree with that.

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Most women in the above article sound 'desperate' to me. Rented a hotel suite over the NY and dining at some exclusive place - ALONE, ...you must be joking...lol.

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If people, not just women, feel that they can't be themselves and feel that they have to adhere to others well being then good for you for taking some time off to relax and be yourself. But I still find that eventhough it might be quite hard on the job, that being yourself is the best, even if it means singing that song you feel like singing. But Japan is the land where people sometimes seems afraid to stand out and have the need to be polite, eventhough it might be more polite just to be yourself in Karaoke situations. But I really understand the need to be alone if you have a "boring" boyfriend/girlfriend who just keeps on dragging the fun down.

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Hiashi: did you really say japanese seems afraid to stand out. completely the opposite, you walk out on the street for 10 minutes and youll see people trying too hard to stand out or be "unique"

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Just because they like to dress unique doesn't mean they're able to act uniquely in social situations.

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I agree to this entirely... there is so much pressure to be accepted under the rules of the group and finding solitude is also peaceful for the mind. Some people discover more when doing by themselves than they do if there with a significant other or a group. ROCK ON ENTERTAINMENT OF SOLITUDE!

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But I really understand the need to be alone if you have a "boring" boyfriend/girlfriend who just keeps on dragging the fun down.

If you have a 'boring' boyfriend/girlfriend....just break up and find a not boring one...and enjoy the dinner together...I still feel the idea of enjoying/dining alone in expensive places is silly and desperate act.

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I dunno, I dine and travel alone on business all the time. I sometimes go out alone on my own when I am home, but I usually don't go to movies or dinner alone if I'm home. Maybe all the travel takes the place of the need for solitude.

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I have a question for the JT readers. I (+ my friends) know/dated many Japanese women, OLs, and most of them have very few friends, make that basically no friends. I mean they have some people to hang around sometimes, and coworkers, but not exactly friends in the sense I'm used to (go out often, talk about all your problems, stand by you in trouble, etc) . Is it just me and the people I hang around with?

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timeon-For the most part, I am pretty sure everyone is with you on that. So no, it just is not you, no matter what part of Japan you are in.

My wife used to do all that stuff by herself for a long time. I had to get her out of it and now we do almost everything together. Hell, she is one of the top rated players on Gears of War 2 in Japan for females...not that there is a long list. lol.

But for the most part, she does have Best Friends (BF) but really does not keep in contact with them nor they with her. Not sure how many people have that? I KIT with mine back in Fl, but even being this close, she rather not go see them or whatever. I don't really get it, but as long as she is happy, I am good.

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It's kind of " LONELY FEELING " if you stayed at a hotel room by yourself. Where's the fun in that ? Pretty soon women will go to love hotels by themselves. Hahahahaha !!!!!

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More women enjoying a night out alone

The usual lack of specifics. For example, WHICH night?

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IchyaWarFare, from my experience, lack of close friends they can talk their problems with, and the reluctance to talk serious problems with the partner leads to the most problems in a relationship/marriage with a Japanese. It happened to me, it happened to my friends

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Timeon- My wife has quite a lot of friends and 3 very close friends and they are also there for here if she or they need each other. But when I think about other females that I know or work with here you are definately right.

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I am a man and I can appreciate this article.

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"The key word is "all by myself"

Isn't that three words?

And isn't that an Eric Carmen song?

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I don't believe the fuss here. For as long as I can remember upon arriving in Japan, women friends were sharing rooms together just as a cheap, convenient, and doubtless comfortable source of accommodation when traveling in Japan. Usually love hotels back in the 1990's because they were cheaper by far.

What the heck is the problem of women want to go sleep over in a hotel by themselves? Especially in Japan. Beats having to spend 30 minutes with a male partner while they first get themselves primed with alcohol, then bam into a hotel, let mr smooth get down to business, not a lot of talking, ooops and that's it, then bam back out the door again. And likely all in all in less than 3 hours. Some kind of relaxation that would be.

By comparison a leisurely evening to spend anyway she likes in her own company. I wouldn't think there to be a difficult choice to make between the two scenarios for most women.

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