|The story below is originally published on Mainichi Daily News by Mainichi Shinbun (http://mdn.mainichi.jp).|
|They admitted inventing its kinky features, or rather deliberately mistranslating them from the original gossip magazine.|
|In fact, this is far from the general Japanese' behavior or sense of worth.|
Japan's first generation of 'have-it-all' women looking for one last thing: love 2008,06,19
"It wasn't just what university he came from, he also had to have gone to good high and junior high schools. And he had to be working for top-ranked company. He needed to be 15 centimeters taller than I am and be a good driver. I didn't want anyone whose eating manners were bad. They had to know a lot about wine and champagne, but also be sensible drinkers. And, on top of all that, he needed to have similar values and be a person I could respect, or there was no way I'd marry him," a 40-year-old woman working as an architect tells Sunday Mainichi, outlining what she wanted in a husband while she was still in her 20s.
Gradually, as the woman went through her 30s, she found herself relaxing her conditions and found herself a boyfriend when she accepted about one-fifth of what she had been looking for.
As time passed and she still couldn't find a husband, her ideals became even less stringent, particularly around the time of her birthday.
Finally, at 39, she tied the knot.
"I guess I had a lot of things I wanted, but I got married in the end, so I have no worries now," she tells the current affairs weekly produced by the Mainichi Newspapers.
"I guess it might have been because marriage put my mind at ease, but my career is also progressing better."
Sunday Mainichi notes that Japanese women aged 40 or thereabouts are the first generation in this country who've been able to pursue careers and motherhood.
While most of them are making a fist of it, according to the weekly's survey of 120 married 40- something women, are lot of them are also pondering about what it actually means to be a woman as opposed to just being a wife or mother.
"I married, had kids, got a career and it's all going really well. People tell me I should have no worries in the world, but for some reason, I feel lonely every day," a 43-year-old woman tells Sunday Mainichi.
"I guess I dream of falling in love again, to feel that thrill. I realize I sound like a silly schoolgirl, but perhaps I'm getting the feeling that my 'use-by' date as a woman is approaching."
Others have similar sentiments.
"When people get into their late 40s, the number going through menopause increases dramatically. Menopause brings with it the impression that you're finished as a woman," a 44-year-old woman in the publishing industry tells Sunday Mainichi. "I have a really strong urge to confirm for myself one more time that I'm still a woman."
Women now in their 40s came of age during Japan's heady "bubble" economy of the late 1980s, and it appears their attitudes toward playing around were shaped during those times, the weekly says.
"Having been through those days, there are parts of me that would find it relatively easy to plunge into an extramarital affair," a 44-year-old housewife tells Sunday Mainichi. "And I look at others around me and think the same about them."
Of the 120 married women in their 40s that the respectable magazine surveyed, 17 reported they were seeing men other than their husbands.
Of these, eight were involved with men who were also married, but the remaining nine are entangled with people such as their child's swimming coach or tutor, or their own tennis coach.
All these men were at least 10 years younger.
"Honestly, I really want to love my husband all over again, but it doesn't look like I do anything for him anymore," a 41-year-old woman working for a foreign manufacturing company tells Sunday Mainichi.
"I don't want to reach my 'use-by' date for a woman like this. And that was what I was thinking when I first met my boyfriend."
Many women see a fling as their final chance at love.
"Extramarital love is still love, right?" a 43-year-old dentist tells Sunday Mainichi.
"It may be our last chance at love, so we give it everything and justify our actions."