Looking for romance in Japan? Learn from our experience! Here a few things we’ve learned from foreigners who’ve dated in Japan.
Even as the world of otaku becomes an increasingly co-ed one, many of Japan’s obsessive fans of anime, video games, and other forms of pop culture struggle in finding a romantic partner. That’s where Aeullura, a matchmaking company specializing in konkatsu (marriage-minded dating) events for otaku, comes in.
But conventional speed-dating can be intimidating for even ordinarily outgoing individuals, let alone otaku who might very well spend more of their free time watching fictional characters than interacting with other people. Add in the pressure of a ticking clock, and some might not feel confident in their ability to walk up to an attractive stranger, make a good impression, and then find out more about them.
That’s why Aeullura is flipping that sequence of events for its upcoming otaku matchmaking party by giving the speed daters access to a wealth of information about one another, and even letting them communicate online, before putting them all in the same room together.
Despite the fact that plenty of tall guys can be found walking around Japan these days, it’s still true that the national average height for an adult Japanese male is 170cm (5’5″), which, compared to the figures for countries like the US, UK and Australia (all around 177cm, or 5’10”) might seem a little on the shorter side for some.
However, it’s not all bad news for shorter guys looking to find love in Japan—many Japanese women actually really like shorter men, and here are some of the reasons they gave as to why they like their fellas fun-sized.
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, dating is hard. This is very true in Japan as well, where a survey in 2013 showed that many Japanese aren’t really dating. Also, being a foreigner and trying to date in a country that is 98.5% ethnically Japanese makes it an even more daunting task for some.
But fear not! Though statistics may not be in your favor, there are certainly those that not only want to date, but date people who aren’t Japanese. Earlier this year we focused on what women thought about mixed-race relationships, but now it’s time for Japanese men to share their ideas about what they would like, as well as what challenges they would expect with a person who’s not Japanese.
Watch any Japanese drama or anime with a romantic plot thread, and a love confession or “kokuhaku” scene will inevitably crop up. I wanted to know whether this was just an on-screen phenomenon, or if it happened in real life, too, so I set out into Tokyo’s Shinjuku neighborhood to meet some couples and ask them about how they got together.
Everyone has different expectations when they go out on a first date with someone. Maybe you expect to eat some great food and engage in some wonderfully pleasant but generally stilted first date conversation. Maybe you expect nothing more than a quick cup of coffee so you and your date can get to know each other without feeling locked into an hours-long affair in case your date reveals themselves to be, like, a serial killer or something.
Or, like 14.3% of Japanese women, maybe you expect the first date to end with not just a goodnight kiss, but also mind-blowing coitus.
As in most countries, magazines aimed at young adults in Japan spend a lot of time talking about the opposite sex. Just as publications aimed at men often wax poetic about their image of the ideal woman, so too do women’s magazines write up collections of traits of desirable guys.
But one recent list has Japanese Internet users scratching their heads over its oddly specific list that includes such minutiae as foot size and social media preference.
Remember that time you spotted that cute guy/girl at the cafe? Remember how badly you wanted to go over to them, make a witty comment, sit down and have them laugh and gaze into your eyes? And remember how they left before you actually did anything?
Well no longer! Aiseki Cafe in Ginza has the answer. When you come in you’re shown to a table with only two seats: one for a man and one for a woman. You chat, flirt, sip coffee and eat cakes, and then after 30 minutes you get rotated to the next person to repeat the process until you’ve found someone to make the sacred connection with: sharing your cell number.
Oh, and if you’re a woman, great news! You get unlimited coffee and cake for only 500 yen, one-fifth of the price for men. Cha-ching!
Although online dating services allow you to peruse profiles of potential paramours from the comfort of your home, they can also be a prime opportunity for fraudsters who pray on the lonely. Last month, for example, we took a look at a ring of dating sites which claimed 2.7 million “users,” only one of whom turned out to be an actual female.
Thankfully, a man from northeastern Japan who joined a dating site actually got to go out with a real girl, and probably thought she was quite the catch, seeing as how she’s decades younger than him and a medical student. Regardless of whether he was looking for something serious or just a fun dinner out, we imagine he was having a great time right up until she drugged him right there in the restaurant and robbed him blind.
Live overseas for long enough, and you’ll start to experience reverse culture shock on your visits home. On my last trip back to L.A., I was surprised to see how popular beards have gotten in the States, and judging from the foreign travelers I see here in Japan, they’re just as trendy throughout western Europe.
As someone whose Arabic ancestry means every day is a battle against a phalanx of facial hair, I have to say I can see an upside to this new golden era for beards. But, as with any decision a man makes, it’s important to first ask yourself that critical question, “Will this make women think I look cool?” To help answer that question, today we’re looking at the results of a survey asking Japanese women whether or not they like a guy with a beard.
The rumors of Japan’s shrinking and aging population have not been exaggerated at all, it seems. Struggling to develop countermeasures, the Japanese cabinet commissioned a survey of men and women in their 20s and 30s, asking them various questions about marriage.
Unfortunately, it looks like the results of the survey probably weren’t what the government was hoping to find…
The issue of who should pay on a date can be a tricky one. Do you split it evenly down the middle? Should the one who initiated the date be the one to pay? Should the guy man always pay, no matter what?
Here’s what Japan’s net users had to say on the matter of splitting – or not splitting – the bill on dates. Hopefully this information will be useful to anyone who’s hoping to find love in Japan!
Sometimes, girls say the darndest things… but you’d be surprised at the variety of utterances that get Japanese men’s eyebrows twitching in rage. We rounded up some of our Japanese male writers to compile a list of 30 things Japanese girls say that really grind Japanese guys’ gears!
Any guesses what made the list? Trust us, some of these came straight out of left field.
The Japanese language takes a lot of cues from English when it comes to talking about romance. For example, “kisu”, the corrupted pronunciation of “kiss,” is about 100 times more common than “kuchitzuke,” the purely Japanese word for locking lips. Found the love of your life? Then it’s time to puropozu (propose), and when your bride walks down the aisle, she’ll probably be wearing a uedingu doresu (wedding dress).
Still, sometimes Japanese goes its own way, and while “boyfriend” and “girlfriend” are pretty readily understood, the indigenous terms kare and kanojo are much more widely used. And every now and again, the two languages get mixed together to describe something in the Japanese dating scene, such as with the newly coined phrase uiru kare, or “will boyfriend.”
Dating is never easy, is it? Going out and meeting strangers and talking to them can be painful, awkward, and downright terrifying. Fortunately, Internet dating sites have helped us cut through the trial-and-error process to find people we have deep, personal connections with — or, at least, who swiped right.
Unfortunately, online dating is also ripe for abuse, exploitation, and scams. If ever you needed a cautionary tale for being careful about who you give your money to, this group of dating site executives who ran multiple scam sites should suffice. Of the 2.7 millions users on the site, only one was a woman. The rest of the “women” the male members were chatting with online were all paid fakes!
In modern-day Japan, entering into the marriage or dating market without any prior experience puts ladies at a serious disadvantage from the start. With many women living with their parents until they get married, and with people getting married later in life, there’s a rise of women who remain virgins into their thirties.
Now, there’s apparently a service whereby women can hire someone to take their virginity in order to raise their market appeal to future potential husbands…
They say that an elephant never forgets, so we’re guessing that Sunny, the Asian Elephant who lives at Ishikawa Zoo, has gone through some sort of traumatic breakup in his past. A sign near his enclosure warns visitors that Sunny can’t stand happy couples and will fling grass, water, and snot at anyone he spots canoodling…
Japan is a country that values fiscal responsibility and economic security, and that can influence how people judge a possible romantic partner. For example, we previously looked at a survey in which an overwhelming number of women said they’d rather date a man who’s ugly but rich than a guy who’s handsome and unemployed.
That doesn’t mean that just any old job will do, though. A new poll asked Japanese women what jobs were deal-breakers for a potential boyfriend, and the resulting list includes some surprisingly high-paying professions.
With the prevalence of public transportation in urban Japan, going out on the town means having to lug any belongs you’re taking with you around for the day. This adds a bit of a complication for couples out on a date. Assuming things are going well and the lovebirds are spending several hours together, at some point the woman’s purse is going to start feeling heavy, but how many Japanese guys are willing to step up and shoulder the task of carrying their girl’s bag for her?
Compared to many other countries, Japan still has a very high percentage of smokers. The habit is so prevalent that even in cosmopolitan Tokyo many restaurants allow customers to smoke anywhere on the premises, and despite repeated pleas to refrain from smoking and walking to show consideration towards non-smoking pedestrians, many can’t be bothered to wait until arriving at their destination before puffing away.
But if health concerns and etiquette complaints aren’t motivation enough to quit, perhaps the results of a recent poll will help, as it showed many Japanese women will immediately remove a guy who smokes from their potential dating pool.