In the United States, I hear, it is very common for a man and a woman share a room. Is it true? To us, Japanese, it is just unthinkable! No Japanese woman wants to share a room with a man unless they are lovers or couples.
There are a lot of things I do not understand about roommates between opposite sexes. First, why don't they fall in love with each other? This question may sound ridiculous to many Americans, but if I were younger and if I started living with a girl in the same room, I would absolutely fall in love. Or at least, I would begin to imagine that something romantic would happen between the girl and me. How can American boys stay so calm, when a young girl is always near them? Don't they ever get aroused? And don't girls?
Second, why don't girls feel anxious about their roommate becoming a peeping Tom? How can they feel so secure while they are taking a bath, for example? This question may also be silly to Americans, but Japanese girls would absolutely feel uneasy.
Japanese are in a conservative society, and if a woman shares a room with a man, she will never be regarded as just having a roommate, but she will surely be thought to be living with a lover. Everyone will start rumor about her. Her parents will try to stop her, afraid of her losing an opportunity of happy marriage because of the rumor.
Americans having the opposite sex as a roommate is a mystery for me and for many Japanese. What about in other countries, I wonder.