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Using kawaii smileys

Posted on: February 17, 2009

I never really used text messages on the phone when I was back in the US.

It’s just that it’s much quicker to call someone than actually push the 10 little buttons to spell out the words.

And when I do text people, I usually wrote very short messages, so short and direct that I can’t be even bothered to call them… like “you working late tonight?” or “sorry, running late” and may be at times “do you remember me?” Text messages for me were something very simple, direct, and easy.

Little did I know that the text messages were sooooo popular here, among friends, family, and  lovers and more so between couples who just met and are in the midst of flirtation! In fact, I think I am confident to say, that the text messages are the only way that Japanese people would openly express their passion,… but very shyly lol

And how do you express your emotion through the little screens on the cellphone? It’s the smileys and emoticons. and I’m not just talking about the smileys that you may be using in the Western world like these:

🙂 😉 😦 >;-> %-) :*)

Nooo, I’m talking about real cute, Japanese Hello Kitty cute smiles, called “Emoji” equipped with all the phones sold here in Japan. Emoji picture characters that are extremely popular in the Japanese mobile maremoji21ket, used to express all kinds of emotions, seasonal events, and animals in text messages. Emojis are the essense to the text messages exchanged between lovers in Japan.

In the ancient times, it was a custom for  Japanese lovers to exchange love poems, “waka”, expressing their overflowing love, passion, and at times, lack of love and passion.

In waka, specific seasonal objects and occurrences are particular to the seasons and are also used to express a certain mood. Many are so commonly used that they have become standard. Orange blossoms are associated with the happiness of love, and also with nostalgia. (Ooka, 124) “…morning glories bring up thoughts of quickly fading beauty, …autumn winds suggest sadness, …plum blossoms… the promise of perfect beauty to be attained by the later cherry blossoms”(Henderson, 16). The most famous sign of spring, the cherry blossom, generally symbolizes something like fleeting beauty, but can be specifically associated with samurai who die at a young age. (Henderson, 16-17)

And just like these common seasonal objects and symbols of the seasons used in waka, emojis also convey different emotions and moods, and are used very strategicaly. There are many articles and books available on the strategic technique on writing appealing text messages, and there are several instructions worth mentioning on the use of emoji. Here we go!

1) For girls who love to put heart symbols everywhere, watch out! Guys would take the heart symbols as the sign of your feelings so use them strategically. Don’t put hearts everywhere in the2586611301_f5e217be8f mail, otherwise he’d think you are in love with him!

2) For boys who are wondering if you should use emoji or not in the first mail, don’t use them until you receive emoji from her! Only use “。, !, ?, ☆, ♪ ” at first and when you receive the reply from her with the emojis, you may start using them little by little. Use emoji strategically on a special occasions and anniversaries!

3) Emoji generally conveys your affection toward the receiver. Don’t overuse emoji otherwise the receiver might feel pressured by too much affection!

4) To really impress him, try to use various symbols, not just the same smiley face and hearts. By using various symbols, he would be favorably impressed that you make the effort to pick and use appropriate emoji in each text messages. At times, using emoji that convey your sadness and loneliness would bring out his sympathy and care for you, thereby strengthing the bond between the couple.

5) The most effective amount of emoji used would be 3~4% of the total letters in the text message.

Oh my… the list goes on but my head is filled with the smiley faces for now and I seriously want to call it off for a day.

I think you get the message though… The use of kawaii smileys in the text messages are essential to Japanese flirtation LoL


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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!

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