SINGAPORE – Not only do they like Singapore’s culture and food, but they also like Singaporean men.
This group of four Japanese women are Aya Imura, Atsuko Sato, and two others who wanted to be known only as Ms Manami and Ms Kayo.
They call themselves the “Ninja Girls” and run a blog with the same moniker documenting their lives in Singapore.
All four have been living and working here for between two and four years.
In March, Ms Sato, 29, an assistant manager in a rental office, blogged about the differences between working in an office in Japan and working in Singapore and described Singapore as “heaven for office working ladies”.
The post went viral, garnering some 6,300 likes on their blog and 48,853 views since it was posted on citizen journalism site Stomp.
It was also highlighted by Foreign Affairs and Law Minister K. Shanmugam, who wrote on his Facebook page: “Someone sent me this interesting article. Good to hear from another perspective.”
Ms Sato told My Paper: “We are so shocked and honoured.” On the blog, she wrote about how there is less gender discrimination and more flexibility in offices here.
She said: “I worked for four years in Japan and I love my country but, work-wise, it can be unfair.”
But some have pointed out that the women are “foreign talents” and their experiences can’t be compared with those of locals.
To this, Ms Sato responded: “We are not living in condominiums with great facilities. I think our lifestyles are really close to those of the local people.”
The blog, started at the end of 2011, was the brainchild of Ms Imura, 30, a freelance marketing consultant. The women take turns to update the blog at least twice a week.
Ms Imura, who is the only permanent resident (PR) among the four as she is married to a Singaporean, said: “I like Singapore because people here accept other cultures and races. In Japan, it’s almost like a single-race country.”
Ms Manami, 29, who works as a trading operator, added: “People here are more open-minded. I started learning pole dancing here, and I really like it. But in Japan, if you do pole dancing, some people will think you are a stripper.”
For Ms Kayo, 30, a consultant at a training and human capital development firm, writing helps her improve her English.
There are more than 27,500 Japanese nationals in Singapore, of which some 1,692 are PRs.
Ms Sato, who is dating a Singaporean, has also found love here. She said: “I feel that guys here are more supportive of career women. My boyfriend always encourages me to do better.”
Ms Imura, who has been married for four years, added: “I don’t think one is better than the other – many Japanese men have the “I feed you” mentality. They are more understanding about their partners being a full-time housewife. But Singaporean men are certainly more gentlemanly. They also share household chores with their partners.”