How to Enjoy Your Single Solo Life in One of the Most Aging Countries
According to the National Institute of Population and Social Security Research (IPSS), one in four women are expected to become single for life in the next 10 years in Japan. This is due to the increase in middle-aged divorce, separation, and other factors. Thus many of these Japanese women are coming to realize the importance of spending quality time for themselves and enjoying experiences by themselves. This realization is magnified especially during the COVID-19 pandemic as people were more isolated in their homes and feeling more lonely.
For many reasons, it is an ideal time for single people embrace solo living and to enjoy Me Time. Actually many single people have inspired those who had never tried to spend their own Me Time. We can see many Me Time beginners today starting to research and trying to enjoy their own time, learning from other solo living friends. More than ever, Japan is becoming a comfortable place for solos. Today we are answering our readers’ questions, “What’s on the minds of Solo Living Japanese?”. We are so excited to answer the questions! If you want to know why Japanese are staying single, here are some of the answers.
How do people spend their Me Time in Japan?
There are many Japanese favorite Me Time activities such as the popular Table For One; dining at Michelin Star sushi, Italian and French restaurants; staying at luxury hotels with comfortable king-sized beds; luxurious spas; onsen/ryokan; special railroad trips; domestic & international travel; driving unique automobiles; cycling; pilgrimages; camping; shopping excursions; movie-going; visiting & experiencing live music & theater; walking through gardens & national parks; drinking at the counter seat at a bar; singing a song in a private room at karaoke, and many more!
The Minds of Japanese Me Time Enthusiasts, or Those Living Alone.
- Do they have the desire to get married?
There’s roughly an even split in the number of those who want to be married and those who want to remain single. Many of those who say “Yes” to marriage only want that to happen if they organically meet someone, which results in them possibly getting married. However, they don’t want to find a partner through the use of a matching app or a matchmaker for singles. Regardless of being single or married, most people have a growing positive image of the solo-lifestyle. A lot of people love to spend their time by themselves alone.
- Do the Japanese fear being alone in a future solo life?
Yes, this anxiety is generally a natural human reaction. Some people say, “Living alone is inconvenient when I get sick and when I need nursing care”. Others say, “I’m worried if I can’t make enough money/savings before retirement to live alone”. Some nature lovers say, “When I am in nature, such as in the mountain hiking or camping, I am worried that I will be involved in an unpredictable disaster”. But this anxiety factor for the unpredictable disaster is normal, with or without a partner.
- What do the Japanese need to live comfortably solo?
It depends on where and how you like to live in your life. The amount of funds needed to live comfortably can vary greatly. Some say living alone is all about money. They say to invest in financial vehicles (like stocks and bonds) while continuing to work at one’s own pace to maintain opportunities to meet new people and friends. For feeling comfortable, most solo living people love hobbies, keeping pets such as dogs and cats, and meeting friends frequently also helps cope with some periods of loneliness that everyone goes through. Enjoying varying activities with people you have things in common with also make for a fun and more comfortable time. For example, some people gather to have potluck meals once every few months with friends that they originally met through their group guitar lessons classes. We heard about a person who acquired a certification as a yoga teacher, which was previously her Me Time hobby and special alone time for many years. She eventually started a side job holding workshops on weekends several times a month.
We talked amongst our gender-neutral team (about 20 people), in which the majority agreed that it is more important for them to feel fulfilled at their job that they liked rather than working stressfully at a high paying job. Ikigai, a Japanese concept, talks about a reason for being, which stresses making Japanese lives happier. Thus, they are less stressful and eventually live longer. This is more preferable than accumulating money or any material items.
- Are there any specific things/rules for solo-living in Japan?
Keeping things tidy and organized is a good base to start for many as you can build from this discipline. Many are big fans of the world-renowned book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing. They love the idea of maintaining a clean and organized home on a daily basis. It brings them peace, calmness and happiness. Some really enjoy actively utilizing Instagram as a diary and to record memories. A popular Instagram user exclaimed, “my friends and I have numerous followers, but my account is not used to show off to others, but rather a keeper of my memories. The SNS motivates me to go out and spend my days in a good mood and improve the quality of my health & well-being”.
- What are the Annual Expenses for Me Time in Japan?
Although this may be difficult to assess, we can give you some guidance from third parties as well as our experience in Japan. The monthly average spend, according to research conducted by Gaba, is 13,254 yen, and according to another survey, the amounts vary in range, from 10,000 to 20,000 yen monthly. Of course it doesn’t really explain in detail which activities this covers. However, it should be noted that in Japan, you can be quite frugal in your Me Time choices. For example, you can dine on a substantial Izakaya a meal for $30 USD which would include two beers. A cup of coffee with a delicious pastry at a café is only $4-$5 in total. In addition, tipping is not required in Japan.
Japan can certainly be an affordable city, as there are many many cheap eats & drinks as well as economical entertainment. You just have to do your research!
Many people are satisfied with their solo life. Here are some messages to solo-living people in the world from our members. If you have the abilities financially, you should choose the country and type of culture you want to live in, and spend your money freely. You can decide your life without judgement from others.
We have two friends who were discussing their solo living and Me Time experiences. One person has been divorced for 35 years, and the other person has lived with the same partner for 20 years, and both are over 60 years old. They mutually agree that they are tired of taking care of husbands/partners. “We would like to enjoy more things individually for own personal well-being for a change” and finally they have started their own Me Life after turning 55 years of age.
People who have been raised in the western culture may don’t know about the typical Japanese married life and relationship culture. It might be good for you to read an article, Why Do Japanese Want to Stay Single?
Ultimately, it’s all about empowering yourself. Your life is yours only. You are certainly not alone, and we are happy to hear your voice and opinions. Please leave us a comment or send us a message!