romance

Old execution grounds become popular place to tell someone “I love you”

When taking big steps in relationships, like confessing your true feelings to a friend or asking someone to marry you, the setting is important. You want to set the mood, and getting the right atmosphere may mean the difference between delighted acceptance and “Where did that come from??”

Among some high school girls, this statue in Tokyo is considered a great place to take an amorous risk. It might not look like the most romantic place, located on a rather busy intersection and nestled between the NHK Broadcast Center, Shibuya Tax Office, and Amway Japan, and in fact this very spot is actually the memorial of a bloody attempt to overthrow the Japanese government. Nevertheless it is said to have a “supernatural” ability to create strong couples.

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Chinese comedians pitch brilliant boyfriend-rental service to fend off nagging parents 【Video】

The Lunar New Year is China’s biggest holiday and the time when most of the country travels back home in impressive numbers, prays for luck and of course spends some quality time with family who remind their adult children why they’re failing at life. And the Spring Festival, as it’s commonly called, can be an exceptionally annoying time for single 20- and 30-somethings whose more traditional parents gripe constantly about the lack of a significant other and the every-decreasing hope of a grandchild. A Chinese comedy group put out a video recently that offers single woman a solution to this headache—a company that rents out boyfriends to impress your parents and get them off your case until the next New Year holiday.

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What do Japanese women want for White Day and how much do they hope a guy spends?

With the exception of the girls at a few high schools with especially generous male student bodies, women don’t usually receive presents for Valentine’s Day in Japan. Instead, it’s the guys who get gifts, returning the favor one month later on March 14, White Day.

But while guys’ Valentine’s Day aspirations are pretty standardized (just about everyone wants homemade chocolate), the options are a little more flexible for White Day. A recent survey asked Japanese women just what they hope to receive, and how much they envision guys spending.

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Twitter is all aflutter over a magical Tokyo Disney proposal, but will it get a fairytale ending?

Tokyo Disney Resort is a popular date spot among Japanese people, and also serves as the setting for a fair number of wedding proposals. But getting down on one knee in front of a huge crowd of people is not without its disadvantages. When one plucky young man proposed to his girlfriend in front of the Cinderella Castle in Tokyo Disneyland last week, he set off a chain of events that looks to have ended with a little less magic and sparkle than he anticipated.

While many people were delighted to see the romantic scene unfold, other visitors took to Twitter to grumble about the inconvenience the man had caused by proposing in such a busy place, delaying the scheduled parade. And now, the guy’s ex-girlfriend has waded into the debate too.

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Magazine asks Japanese women if they’d rather date an ugly millionaire or unemployed hottie

Japan’s got an unabashed soft spot for beautiful people, with attractive models and celebrities used to promote everything from fashion lines to insurance packages. At the same time, the country also has a deep respect for financial stability and economic vigor.

Recently, fashion magazine AneCan pitted these two cultural values against each other by asking readers which guy they’d rather date, an ugly dude who’s flush with cash, or a hottie who doesn’t have a job?

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Elderly Chinese man tells the touching tale of his married life through 200 hand-drawn pictures

We may be a couple of years late to the party, but even if you’re seeing this for a second time, you’ll still be on the verge of tears by the end, so stay tuned. Back in the spring of 2013, Rao Pingru, a 91-year-old Chinese man, published a book of over 200 hand-drawn illustrations and letters telling the touching story of his 80 year relationship with his beloved wife, Mao Meitang.

The book, entitled Our Story, is over 360 pages long, so we can’t bring you all of the drawings, but we know you’ll enjoy the snippets we have for you. Get out the tissues and don’t be afraid to let those tears flow.

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In the mood for love and pizza? Domino’s will deliver your pie with romantic kabe-don wall pound

Valentine’s Day falls on a Saturday this year, which makes it a perfect opportunity for an elegant dinner out with your special someone. Of course, if you’re single, you may want to bypass a meal in a restaurant surrounded by couples making kissy faces at each other and just call Domino’s for a pizza instead.

But even if you’re not headed out, Domino’s understands that maybe you’re in the mood for both pizza and love. That’s why this Valentine’s Day the popular pizza providers are offering a deal that includes a cute heart-shaped pizza, and, if you’d like, a romantic kabe-don wall pound as part of the delivery service.

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Cuddles or cash? 7 in 10 Japanese 20-somethings choose money over love

Valentine’s Day, as you’re undoubtedly aware thanks to the abundance of heart-shaped goods that have suddenly appeared on shop shelves, is almost upon us. But before you break out that chocolate-making kit or ass-shaped pastry for your special someone, take a look at this downer of a statistic: Seventy percent of Japanese 20-somethings recently surveyed think that money is more important than love. 

Maybe you should add your bank statement to your Valentine’s Day card? If you’re already wishing February 14 had come and gone, join us after the jump for this decidedly un-romantic story.

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Happy Twintail Day! Now ask out that girl you’ve got a crush on, say Japanese fans of the hairdo

Now that we’re into February, shy men across Japan are out of excuses not to ask out the girl they’ve got a crush on. This month includes a special day with its own framework that allows guys to express their feelings with an established method that leaves no doubt about their affections.

Of course, we’re not talking about Valentine’s Day, because in Japan, women give gifts to men on February 14. No, we’re talking about Twintail Day, observed on February 2, which not only celebrates the dual-tail hairstyle, but also seeks to strengthen the bonds between young lovers and established couples alike.

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Aquarium provides fishy fun, horrifyingly awkward marriage proposals

If you’re as introverted as I am, then the thought of public marriage proposals (whether on the giving, receiving, or spectating end) fills you with a deep, visceral horror. Popping the question in front of a big crowd is supposed to be romantic, but it also smacks a bit of desperationwith all these witnesses, how can she possibly say no? But what’s even MORE embarrassing is when your proposal is undeniably, horrifyingly lame, like when that one dude confessed his love to his girl with 99 iPhones, or in this case, where people actually got an aquarium tank diver to hold up cards with their proposal on. Nooooooooooooo!

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Is “Ago-kui” the next “Kabe-don”?

Kabe-don” ranked among Japan’s top anime buzzwords of 2014. Facing a woman with her back on the wall, the man places his hand on the wall beside her with a “don!” (the Japanese sound routinely used to represent something hitting a hard surface), with his face close to hers. This situation common in girls’ comics is also frequently seen in TV dramas and movies, and many young women who watch this scene dream of finding themselves in a similar situation with the object of their affections.

But is the ago-kui set to be 2015’s kabe-don and among its most-used phrases?

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New smartphone game allows you to date the man, monkey, or dessert of your dreams

A common element in Japanese dating simulator video games is that they all feature an extensive cast of potential romantic partners. Still, there are only so many characters the designers can cram into a single game, and some gamers find that the available roster of would-be boyfriends just doesn’t measure up to their preexisting celebrity or anime crush.

Seeking to solve this problem is mobile game developer GimmickPlus, with a new smartphone title that lets you drop pictures of your favorite actor or girls’ manga character straight into the game. But as we’ve seen before, when you give users a template to create romantic tension with you also give them the means to craft bizarre humor, and Fantasy Condominium-You Can Fall in Love with Your Ideal Boyfriend is no exception.

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Japan’s newest sweet-(16)-heart isn’t old enough to drink, is old enough to star in wedding ads

To both fuel and satisfy its intense interest in celebrities, Japan is always on the lookout for its newest “it girl.” In the case of the nation’s newest sweetheart, the “girl” portion of the title is pretty appropriate, seeing as how the popularity of 16-year-old actress Suzu Hirose is soaring. But while her tender age lies squarely in the period associated with puppy love, Japan is apparently serious about its affections for Miss Hirose, as her highest profile gig to date is appearing in ads for the country’s most popular marriage planning magazine.

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In the name of the moon, I will marry you! Couple holds awesome Sailor Moon wedding in L.A.

A while back, we took a look at some Japanese wedding receptions that took cues from Nintendo’s The Legend of Zelda and Konami’s Beatmania rhythm game. Japan isn’t the only place where fictional fandom and romantic nuptials cross paths, though.

This month, an American couple that seems to love Sailor Moon almost as much as they love each other took their vows, and not only are the outfits they wore for their ceremony the classiest cosplay we’ve seen in a long time, they’re just the beginning of the wedding’s many elegantly beautiful anime-inspired touches.

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Blogger offers four pieces of advice for foreign women looking for love with a Japanese guy

Blogger Madame Riri often writes about her experiences as a Japanese woman in an international relationship who’s spent a considerable amount of time living abroad. Recently, though, she took a look at women in the opposite situation.

Sifting through the writings of Grace Buchele Mineta, a Texas-born expat married to a Japanese man and living in Japan since three years ago, Madame Riri pulled out four pieces of advice for non-Japanese women in or looking for a romantic relationship with a Japanese man in Japan.

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Dating websites offer advice on how to land a famous Japanese boyfriend (or at least stalk him)

Recently, Japanese media has coined a new term: “pro girlfriend.” While it might sound like a freshly-minted euphemism for women working for Japan’s highly specialized titillation/borderline prostitution providers, it’s actually pretty benign, as pro girlfriends are women who date or marry men from the professional entertainment or sports worlds, without being part of those industries themselves.

One reason they’ve captured the imaginations of celebrity-watchers is because of their ability to turn the heads of high-profile eligible bachelors, such as actors Hidetoshi Niishijima, Tetsuji Tamayama, Ryuta Sato, all of whom recently married their pro girlfriends. Just as compelling a question, though, is how pro girlfriends manage to meet their famous beaus?

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Professional grade mind games: Japanese company dispatches hot dudes to make your man jealous

Poke deep enough into the corners of the Japanese service sector, and you’ll come across the class of businesses known as benri-ya. Literally meaning “convenience providers,” they exist to fill all the little needs that generally aren’t common or lucrative enough to have their own dedicated businesses. For example, female-run Support One offers personal shopping, dog walking, PC setup, and even substitute grave visitors.

Support One is also willing to help customers with white lies that make their daily life easier, such as providing companions who’ll pretend to be your friends or family members at social functions. Now, the company is expanding its catalogue of social trickery with its newest service, dispatching a hot guy to make your boyfriend jealous.

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Humbug! Japanese wives in international marriages share what they hate about Christmas overseas

Christmas. Depending on who you are, it can be a time for getting together with family and friends, attending religious services, or maybe just drinking a lot of egg nog. But while all of those are activities of profound cultural and spiritual importance, not everyone has a song in their heart at this time of year.

For a certain set of Japanese women in international marriages and living overseas, ‘tis the season for venting about how Americans and Europeans spend Christmas, and here’s their list of grievances.

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10 girls, 10 wall-pounds – Female kabe-don is here!

One of the biggest buzzwords of the year in Japan has been kabe-don. A staple of girls’ comics in Japan for years, kabe-don, literally “wall-pound,” has traditionally been the domain of guys clumsily expressing their feelings while leaning against the wall and fencing in the object of their amour with their outstretched arm.

We live in an age of increasing gender equality, though. Today, woman govern nations, helm corporations, and are highly capable of wreaking terrible violence upon their targets with their bare hands. As such, it’s only natural to assume that women are gradually shattering the barriers that have made the world of kabe-don practitioners a boys’ club until now, and as proof, we present these 10 videos of women flipping the script and showing off their kabe-don skills.

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Free to download Japanese marriage applications are cute, stylish, and legally binding

In Japan, the act of getting married isn’t really all that exciting. I don’t mean that weddings here aren’t memorable affairs, as they’re packed with all the joy and emotion you’d expect (and sometimes the video game references and crazy cakes you wouldn’t). The ceremonies held at churches, shrines, and wedding halls in Japan don’t constitute a legal union, though.

The only way to be officially hitched is to turn in a marriage application, called a konintodoke, to your local ward office or city hall, where you and your beloved will be pronounced husband and wife with all the stirring pageantry that goes along with a clerk stamping his authorization on the paperwork. When my wife and I submitted ours, the clerk offhandedly told us “Otsukaresama,” more or less “Thanks for stopping by,” instead of “Congratulations.”

Thankfully, there’s now a way to add a little color to the otherwise bland proceedings, with a new line of artistic marriage applications that’re not only approved for official use across Japan, but also free!

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