For Alisa Yamasaki's accompanying opinion article on this theme, click here.

Sometimes over drinks in Tokyo, I was amazed to find that the Western "Charisma Man" — that creature of urban myth, the nerdy guy who transforms, Clark Kent-style, into a superhero in Japan — was alive and well. I would listen to expats in their 30s and 40s — all otherwise well-mannered, educated men — as they relayed their exploits with Japanese women in an awkwardly boastful manner.

Some of the locker-room lore was sexist. Invariably the women were "girls," regardless of age, with no character, no traits beyond being attractive — and in seemingly endless supply. With great investment of time, the men would chase these girls like missions to be accomplished, then drop them after the hookup, forgotten like umbrellas.