An Open Letter To My Date Who Commented On My Weight

I still wonder how many times he counted my sushi plates

By Anisa Kazemi
November 25, 2018
Lifestyle, Up Close & Personal

Yes, I've put on those extra 5 kg since coming to Japan. And that is none of your business.

Once in a while, I still get flashbacks of a date with a Japanese man when I was still living in Japan that I’ll never forget — unfortunately not for the right reasons.

It happened at the coolest sushi-train restaurant ever. I remember being so amazed because between every two seats there was a touch-screen monitor where you could conveniently order your sushi/edamame/chocolate-parfait only to be freshly made. The monitor would notify you of their arrival — at the same time as a variety of other tempting delicacies continued to choo choo by. Maybe in your home countries, such contemporary sushi-trains are common but for me, coming from a small town in New Zealand, this particular joint’s techno-savviness was definitely a first.

As is the norm with sushi trains, I lost count of how many plates I snatched (in this case, ordered) and only felt slightly guilty later, after seeing my leaning tower of plates. But I was so happy to be there and nothing could ruin my mood. The food was delicious, and I was, after what seemed forever, dating again. Until he opened his mouth, that is…

“Anisa, you’ve put on weight since coming to Japan…”

“Oh?” I didn’t know what to say. It was the truth but did it matter? Couldn’t we talk about anything else in the universe?

“Maybe you should try a diet,” he politely suggested staring at my sushi plate tower.  

That was it. Although I acknowledge cultural differences and the fact that most Japanese are used to being frank and honest, I still couldn’t help but feel hurt.

‘Maybe you should try a diet,’ he politely suggested staring at my sushi plate tower.

Dear Prick, who at the age of 29 was still living off of his parents and has never before left his rural hometown, moving to a new country is hard. No, no one forced me to fly some 5,000 miles from my family, friends and comforts but just because I chose to actively follow my dream, doesn’t make it any easier. In addition to obvious changes like food, moving to a new country means encountering and gradually learning to conduct oneself to new and unfamiliar, weather, work, people, daily routines and so much more. As well as, having to find the nearest exercise facilities, farmer’s markets, health stores and so on. Or in my case, learning to live by myself, cook for one, shop for one and the number one culprit: STRESS. You know, from changing your entire LIFE.

Since you’re yet to experience it, being unable to speak the language of the country in which you live causes anxiety. Performing trivial tasks like posting a letter, checking your bank balance or ordering a chai latte can make you sweat (obviously not enough in my case).

Lastly, since you’ve traveled so very far to a so very foreign (but exciting) land, naturally, you want to immerse yourself in the culture, make the most of every day, if you will. So if that means immersing oneself in a bathtub of ramen – then so be it!

It is okay for our bodies to change and normal for our weight to shift.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not justifying gluttony, all I’m trying to say is, life is short and it is to be lived. Remember Elizabeth Gilbert in Eat Pray Love? She said: “I have no interest in being obese, I’m just through with the guilt. So this is what I’m going to do, I’m going to finish this pizza, and then we are going to go watch the soccer game, and tomorrow we are going to go on a little date and buy ourselves some bigger jeans.”

But to answer your question, yes, I have put on weight. About 5.3kg to be exact, which at first I really struggled with (doesn’t everyone with society’s never-ending pressures to be thin?). I really appreciate that you’re taking the time to keep track of it, but unfortunately, that says a whole lot about you and your host of issues.

It is okay for our bodies to change and normal for our weight to shift. I’m not saying that by commenting on my weight gain you meant to define me by my body’s appearance, but it sure felt like it. I write to you knowing full well that life is too short to hold grudges and even shorter to say no to sushi. 

Yours truly,
Miss Enlightened