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Archive for February 2009

Today is the end of February. Last night, I took out my monthly planner and counted the days I went out to one of the TMM activities either gokon, date, or girls night out, and it turned out that I was busy and out 18 out of 28 days of February….. no wonder my wallet is empty!

February was a month full of gokon, total of 4 gokons, once every week… I am quite exhausted of them, to be honest. I cannot spend any more time sitting in front of couple of guys, evaluating them while they evaluate me. I just wanna drink, dance, and have fun~!

So the next month, March is full of parties. I’ve got Latin party, somebody’s company party, and 2 dance parties. May be I should make a new category for Tokyo Party too? well, I think party is a party whatever country it is… at least… I hope so. So I went to gotenba outlet shopping center with my friend and we bought tons of spring dresses and cute tops to be fabulous for March fiestas!

For those of you in Japan, never been to gotenba outlet? I really recommend you to go there. Gotemba Premium Outlets is located approximately 60 miles west of Tokyo on the heavily traveled Tomei Expressway, midway between Mount Fuji and the Hakone resort area. What I like to do, for a perfect relaxing weekend, is to go to Hakone on Saturday morning, stay in onsen yado (hot spring B&B) then on Sunday morning, take the bus to the outlet for shopping. There is a bus that takes you back straight from the outlet to Tokyo station.

Gotemba Premium Outlets has 90 international, domestic and restaurant tenants, including Bottega Veneta, Brooks Brothers, Coach, Cole Haan, Diesel, Escada, Ermenegildo Zegna, GAP, Kenzo, La Perla, Laura Ashley, Nike, Royal Copenhagen, Space (Prada, Miu Miu), Timberland and Versace, BCBG, Banana Republic, Armani, Dolce & Gabbana, Dunhill, Gucci, Hugo Boss, Hunting World, Kate Spade, Loro Piana, Meleze (LVMH Group), Salvatore Ferragamo, Theory, Tod’s, Tommy Hilfiger, TSE, Vivienne Westwood and YSL. http://www.premiumoutlets.co.jp/en/gotemba/

And, if you are lucky with the weather, you have the best view of Mt.Fuji from the outlet!

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Tonight was the first time I felt that I could no longer fight against the gravity and stand. I literally fell onto the floor when I returned home, out of dissapointment and out of pure sadness that 1 date had ruined what could have been a fabulous Friday night. Friday night is a luxury you only get one in a 7 days, and to have that ruined by a boy I spent 2-3 hrs with… no more first dates will be scheduled on Friday night, I swear!

Here’s a new rule for me: don’t ever schedule first date on a Friday night

Here are 20 most used phrases used by Japanese men and women to FlirText with the one, a little more than just friends but less than lovers!

15 most used phrases to FlirText with him

  1. What’s up?
  2. I just finished work!
  3. Nice weather today
  4. What are you doing now?
  5. Are you free today?
  6. I’m going to (town/city/country) but do you have any recommendation?
  7. What did you do today?
  8. Just got home
  9. I’m going to (town/city/country) soon, what do you want as souvenir?
  10. Can you lend me (object)?
  11. There is this movie I want to see, would you come with me?
  12. Did you just call me?
  13. What are you doing this weekend?
  14. What time do you finish work tonight?
  15. Where are you now?

15 most used phrases to FlirText with her

  1. What’s up?
  2. I just finished work!
  3. What are you doing now?
  4. Are you free today?
  5. What did you do today?
  6. What are you doing this weekend?
  7. I’m going to (town/city/country) but do you have any recommendation?
  8. Nice weather today!
  9. Where are you now?
  10. I bought you a souvenir from the trip!
  11. Just got home
  12. I’m going to (town/city/country) soon, what do you want as souvenir?
  13. Can you call me tomorrow morning so I won’t sleep in?
  14. There is this movie I want to see, would you come with me?
  15. What time do you finish work tonight?

Nothing so surprising…  I think. The only surprising thing is how cute the mail looks with the smileys with simple messages!

Some phones have the function to automatically add cute smileys in the appropriate places according to the wording

Some phones have the function to automatically add cute smileys in the appropriate places according to the wording

The survey was conducted in November 2008, by goo
Source: http://ranking.goo.ne.jp/ranking/017/mail_phrase_man/
http://ranking.goo.ne.jp/ranking/017/mail_phrase_woman/

Here are 2 lists of 10 things Japanese men and women would like to try during Konkatsu activity in search for a partner for marriage.

10 things Japanese men want to do for Konkatsu

  1. Go to as many gokon as possible (100)
  2. Be introduced to friends/acquaintances of friends (82.4)
  3. Participate in Miai parties (55.9)
  4. Search for a partner in school reunion (42.6)
  5. Register for marriage consultation agency (39.7)
  6. Bring older and younger women into view for potential partners (39.7)
  7. Re-evaluate female colleagues as potential partners (36.8)
  8. Take lesson and start a new hobby (to meet new people) (35.3)
  9. Search on internet dating sites (30.9)
  10. Say to the world “I am single and looking for a partner!!!) (29.4)

10 things Japanese women want to do for Konkatsu

  1. Be introduced to friends/acquaintances of friends (100)
  2. Go to as many gokon as possible (90.1)
  3. Take lesson and start a new hobby (to meet new people) (80.3)
  4. Participate in Miai parties (63.4)
  5. Register for marriage consultation agency (62)
  6. Bring older and younger women into view for potential partners (52.1)
  7. Search for a partner in school reunion (47.9)
  8. Go to fortune tellers (43.7)
  9. Say to the world “I am single and looking for a partner!!!) (39.4)
  10. Re-evaluate male colleagues as potential partners (35.2)

The above 2 lists indicate that Japanese men and women both consider “friends of a friend” as the most ideal candidates for their future life partner and they are less motivated to meet “strangers” through miai parties or introduction through marriage consultation agency. Though internet dating is unpopular among both gender, women are even more shy about internet dating than men, and they would rather go see a fortune teller than to register on a internet dating site. I wonder if the women are expecting the fortune teller to he a handsome eligible bachelor though LoL That would be funny wouldn’t it? “I can see… your future… and my future… are intertwined, let’s get married for 1000yen/10 min!”

hunt-for-love1

The survey was conducted in December 2008, by goo
Source: http://ranking.goo.ne.jp/ranking/017/marriage_action_woman/
http://ranking.goo.ne.jp/ranking/017/marriage_action_man/

“Gokon hasn’t even began and I wanna go home already”
The list of 20 gokon that makes you wanna leave even before it starts:

  1. More than half of the members of the opposite sex are late (100%)
  2. The members of the opposite sex are clearly bored (89.5%)
  3. The food served in the restaurant is not good (73.5%)
  4. The participants are quiet and boring even from the beginning of the gokon, the self-introduction (72.9%)
  5. There is no one attractive or interesting (71.3%)
  6. There are 1-2 weirdos creating awkward atmosphere (70%)
  7. The number of participants for male and female team are unbalanced, too many guys/girls (69.8%)
  8. The members of the opposite sex are ALL married (69.8%)
  9. All participants are snobbish (68.8%)
  10. The members of the opposite sex ALL have boyfriend/girlfriend (66.6%)
  11. The conversation does not flow (66.4%)
  12. The gokon starts out in karaoke bar (65.6%)
  13. Wide age gap between the participants (64.6%)
  14. So different from expectation ( 62.8%)
    Usually, the participants receive brief information about the participating members of the opposite sex team. (i.e., age, appearance, work place, marital status,…)
  15. The gokon venue is chain restaurant (57.9%)
  16. The guys are drinking like crazy (49.2%)
  17. Everyone else, but me, is very dressed up (43.1%)
  18. My ex is there! (38.7%)
  19. By the time I get there, there were people already coupling up (35.4%)
  20. Sitting next to colleague/friend (26.3%)

As I thought, tardiness of the members are clearly unmotivating for the start of the gokon. Tardiness, is followed by “clearly bored members,” which I haven’t seen yet in my previous experience, but I have seen some Japanese guys who cannot start an interesting conversation with the girls and just talk among themselves without making the effort.

But I am surprised to see “There is no one attractive or interesting” on the #5 of the list! Food (#3) matters more than attractive interesting boys/girls? This shows that, Japanese people don’t go to gokon searching exclusively for instant attraction with “the one.” As the list indicates, people go to gokon, looking for nice company, fun conversation, good food and drink! Gokon is more of a place to have fun, than a place to meet “the man of the dreams” or “the future ideal girlfriend”

funny-pictures-cat-sleeps-boring-meeting1

The survey was conducted in April 2008, by goo
Source: http://ranking.goo.ne.jp/ranking/017/compa_evade/

In the gokons I have been to in the past 2 months, I have never played gokon games. After a brief self-introduction, the participants would just freely start a conversation with one another. The conversation could be anything from work, friends, favorite drink, music, movies, good restaurants in Tokyo, travel, hobbies, to break up stories (which is a bad choice of conversation topic, I thought)

Slightly more younger crowd, especially students, often play gokon games (which is bit like drinking games in the US) to let the conversation flow and boost the party mood. Based on my secondary research of the gokon games on the internet, it seems that the most exciting part of the gokon game is usually batsu game, the penalty game. Let me first explain what “penalty game” is, so you get better sense of these gokon games.

Generally, a batsu game takes place after some sort of competition or bet. The winner forces the loser to participate in the batsu game, which involves doing something unpleasant or embarassing or experiencing something unpleasant/embarassing. The winner takes enjoyment in the fact that he does not have to experience the punishment and that he is forcing the loser to do so. Because the batsu game relies on an acceptance on the part of the loser to experience the punishment as a result of losing, precautions must be taken to ensure that the punishment game is not too cruel or needlessly painful.

Common examples of batsu game of gokon games include:

  • Drink more: take a sip of drink, drink a shot, chug down the beer
  • Confession: reveal who she/he finds most attractive among the participants
  • Getting physical: kiss the back of hand of the person sitting next to, hold hands with the person sitting next to
  • Have you ever…: answer questions asked by the winner about the past experiences
  • Picture time: make a weird face and let everyone take pictures with the camera on the cell-phone

I hope you get the point of these batsu games and why some people want to play games in gokon-  to be more drunk, more fun, more flirty, more touchy, and just have good time.

Now, here are some of games people play in gokon:

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Relatively mild games – less drinks needed

  • Pop-up-pirate
    The pirate is pushed into the top of a brown plastic barrel, readying the spring mechanism for his eventual launch. Players then take turns pushing colorful plastic swords into holes on the side of the barrel, one by one until finally someone releases the spring and sends the poor little pirate on his way. Whoever makes the pirate pop loses. The advantage of this game is its simplicity. No matter how drunk you are, it’s simple enough to just push the swords. The lovers version of the pop up pirate has truths and dares writte on the daggers that the player must obey.
  • Wink killer (detective and killer)
    This game is a lot like cops & robbers, but just a bit different. Everyone sits around a table, and cards are dealt out — one is an ace, one is a king. The ace is the killer, the king is the detective. Whoever is the killer must remain secret — he kills by winking at people. The detective starts guessing who the killer is after the first kill/wink. The game goes until everyone’s dead or the killer is caught. If you’re killed, you have to drink. If you’re the detective, you drink for each person that got killed once the round’s over. And if you’re the killer, you have to drink as punishment if you’re caught. Number of drinks can be determined before the game. yamanote_b
  • Yamanote-sen game (Yamanote line train station game)
    The Yamanote Line is one of Tokyo’s busiest and most important commuter rail lines. Running as a circle, it connects most of Tokyo’s major stations going around and around and around. In Yamanote-sen game, one person chooses a category (i.e., candy bars) and the players go around in circle to name items that fit in the category (i.e., snickers, butter fingers, milkyway, 3 musketeers) in the theme in rounds. The person who stops the train, by failing to name an item in the category, or can’t think of anything to say, is the loser.
  • Japanese only
    Japanese vocabulary has been heavily influenced by loanwords from other languages. Since the late 19th century, Japanese has borrowed a considerable number of words from Indo-European languages, primarily English so it is very difficult to speak, trying to avoide usage of English words. In this game of Japanese only, the players must try to converse, drink, and enjoy themselves casually, without the usage of English-originated words. The person who first uses an English word is the loserhadaka

Relatively wild games – after some drinking

  • Oosama game (The king game)
    Oosama-game is a Japanese version of the Truth or Dare or Simon says and it seems it is The most commonly played gokon game. Take the same number of chopsticks that there are people, and write numbers on them- except on one, you write “K” for king. Then, the participants take turns drawing chopsticks- the one who gets the K is the king- meaning, is the person who gives the orders. For example, the king all out, “Number one must drink a glass of beer all at once.” The King don’t know who number one is until they start drinking. It’s a bit like truth or dare, only there’s no truth. As the participants get drunker and braver, the game tends to become, obviously, more sexual.
  • The Pockey game
    The Pocky involves the chocolate-covered biscuit sticks called Pocky. The Pocky game is a very simple game for two players (and several laughing spectators). Here’s how you play: Take one Pocky stick. Each of the two players puts one end in his or her mouth and begins munching. The pair get closer and closer with each bite, creating an awkward intimacy, and the first person who chickens out, and lets go of the Pocky, loses the game and has to down their drink. If the two players end up kissing, they are safe from punishment

Now, all members are seated in the table, the female members come face to face to the male members. The participants casually talk about the weather, work, how the fellow members are connected (i.e., through university, work, childhood friends) then the waitor comes to ask for the drinks.

What to drink?

In most gokon, alcohol plays a big role in developing the relationships among the participants they have just met. The first drink, is almost 98% of the time alcohol, and it’s typicall beer for the male team. If you are a woman, you have two choices: 1) be the fun girl you are, and toast with the beer like the guys (and guys like gals who can gulp down beer like a man) or 2) be the cutey girly girl and order your pink/red/orange sweetie cocktail to show your feminine side (and guys like girly girls) Ladies, the game has already began with the choice for your first drink!

“Kanpai” (Toast!) After a friendly toast, usually given by the male organizer, it is time for the self-introduction. The chance to promote yourself, to sell your best qualities and to learn about the others. Now, there are so much written and said about the techniques of the self-introduction I’m going to summarize the rules into 1) how to talk about yourself 2) how to talk about your friend 3) how to listen to the opposite sex team introduction and 4) what to do with information gathered through the introduction

The basics of self-introduction:

Objective: to promote yourself and to gather information on the members of the opposite sex

When it is conducted: After the first drink is served

How it’s conducted: Usually the male organizer announces the beginning of the self-introduction and he would go first, and most likely go around the table in order

How to introduce yourself :
Firstly, smile, be fun, speak with your attitude cutely/confidently (whatever your style is) and introduce yourself on

  • Name, and nickname
  • Place of residency
  • Work (and workplace)
  • Age
  • Hobbies and interests

How to support your fellow team members introduction:

At times, you may want to give a supporting introduction for your close friend from your fellow team members. Don’t say anything negative about her/him. Only support on the positive nature of the friend and help her establish favorble fun first impression. For example, if you want to support your friend on promoting her beauty and popularity, you do not talk about her ex-boyfriends and the crazy night outs in the club when she got so many guys attention… But you can bring up an episode back from high school when she was voted as beauty queen (equivalent to prom-queen), something non-threatening, but fun episode as such would help your friend look better.

How to listen to introduction of the opposite sex members:
Don’t just listen to the others introduction. Make a few appropriate comments and questions. Obviously, you want to do so to show interest, so focus on 1-2 person that you have found instant attraction with.

  • Ask for their nickname, how they like to be called and the history behind the name
  • Ask how their name is written in kanji (chinese characters)
  • Express interests, awe, surprise, respect especially on men’s career
  • If you find something in common (i.e., work place, neighborhood) tell them! (but again, only if you are interested in him!)

Now what?

The self-introduction gives enough information for you to start private conversation with the one you are interested in. You should try to remember the information given and to develop the conversation later in the gokon, as the introduction is over and the mingling begins. How well you listen during the self-introduction is the key to developing lasting relationship throughout the gokon.

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Past articles

What is Tokyo Meet Market?

From the Western perspective, what goes on in the Japanese dating scene is really different and interesting! In this shy nation of Japan, meeting new people is almost institutionalized, dating and romance is littered with conventions that protect people from social awkwardness. What are dating conventions and rules in Japan? How do the shy Japanese people meet new people, develop affection, and express their passion? As I research and answer these question, I will write a real time report of what's going on in the Tokyo dating scene, or the "Tokyo Meet Market" here in this blog. I hope you enjoy my blog and a trip around Tokyo Meet Market with me!

Cherie’s tweets

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