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Archive for the ‘Go Go Gokon’ Category

Phase 1: Choosing the right event targeted at appropriate population segment

  1. Know the differences among various parties
    • Petite omiai party: It is where you have the chance to converse with every participants for 2-3 min, followed by free time to converse with those you felt affection with. Because it is highly organized and the process is systematical, giving every participant chance to meet all participants, it has higher rate of success. It also allows because speed dating is an individual play, one can participate alone.
    • Large omiai party: Most popular  style of omiai party which is more flexible than speed dating style of petite omiai party. It is more like a dinner party with games and matching events organized throughout the party. It gives people more time to converse with participants they are interested in.  Since meeting people require some aggressiveness, if you are shy person, this is not the party for you.
    • Travel omiai party: This is an all day event where the agency rents out a bus and takes the participants on a day trip to amusement park or hiking in the mountain or whatever. Throughout the day, participants get to know eachother while having fun together on a relaxing weekend trip
  2. Identify target segment- who do you want to meet?
    • What are you looking for? a boyfriend/girlfriend or husband/wife?
      The higher the entrance fee is, the more serious participants are in kokatsu acitivty and the higher the success rate is for finding your life partner. Identify what you are looking for and choose the appropriate event with appropriate level of entrance fee.
    • Every omiai party has requirement for participants… whether it’s age, salary, marital status, academic degree, occupation, find out what your target segment is and choose the appropriate event with the people you want to meet with.

Phase 2: Looking groovy for the party – no need to be sexy or beautiful, the most important thing is to look clean!

  • Guys, watch out for body odor, bad breath,  beard, dirty nails, dirty shoes, unwashed un-ironed shirts
  • Girls, no need to show off your cleavages, but look clean and pure, smell like soap and smile a lot

Phase 3: What to do at the party

  1. Be on time, or rather, get there early
    • Tardiness could mess up your experience in the event completely: messy hair, lack of time for last minute makeover,  bad impression, lack of time to work on profile card, nervousness, panic
  2. Work on your profile card, write a lot, give lots of information
    • Since your profile card is conversation initiator, you want to really work on a well developed profile card which opens conversation with various participants easily and openly. Starting a conversation with a total strangers is difficult so in most cases, you and your partner will start the conversation from eachothers’ profiles. Put as many information as possible, but nothing heavy, nothing serious, write down trendy movies and interesting hobbies, new trendy restaurants in town and interesting stories of your latest vacation! https://tokyocherie.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post-new.php
  3. Don’t get drunk
    • no need to explain in detail… I suppose

For advanced participants: Tricks for Omiai Party

  1. Be a good listener more than a good talker
  2. (If you really wanna be “matched”) Mark as many people as appealing for the final matching vote, this will increase your chance of being “matched” to someone
  3. Give out your mobile phone number and email addresses on your “message card” to increase the chance of being contacted after the party even if you fail to be “matched” for the night
  4. Use follow-up service
    After the party, if you really want to contact unforgettable participants you met at the party but were not matched to, you can ask the agent to send personal message to them for extra fee.

Souce: Men’s strategy for Omiai party
http://www.konkatuman.com/entry13.html

Note: I thought it’s not just for male so I translated/edited some information to make it general tips and advice

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My friend went to a konkatsu party and she told me all about it, so let me share the details… ok ok, I must confess, it’s not just my friend who went to the konkatsu party, I went with her. As you can guess, we were a little hesitant and a little embarassed to attend the konkatsu party, but what the heck. Life is all about experience!

Romance meter: 65%
Conclusion: Although speed dating with 35 men can be very dizzy, it’s surprising how 2min quick chat is enough to see if there is any potential between you two, and it seems this instinct is often mutual between the couples… well, at least in our cases it was. Konkatsu party turns out to be much more efficient, cheaper(at least for us girls), and safer way to meet people than going to a gokon.

Genre: Speed dating (with no alcohol)
Show time: 7:30pm
Running time: 120 min
MPAA rating: G

Guys team: 35 men in the 20’s with college degree or in civil service with 3,500,000 JPY ($35,000) annual salary
Girls team: 35 women in the 20’s

Synopsis:

We arrived at a building in ginza which had a sign “Mariage company” on the 5th floor of the building at 7:20pm, 10min before the party starts. In the elevator up to 5th floor were us and 2 more girls dressed in pastel color spring dresses doing last min make up with pink lip gross. They were, like us, a little hesitant but a little excited to “see what’s out there,” well, aren’t we all like that when we go out to a night out may be expecting something special to happen. So… may be konkatsu party isn’t all that weird… was what I was thinking just when the elevator door opened and there were 20 men  lining up to pay the 6,500 JPY ($70) entrance fee to the konkatsu party… ok… this is no “normal party” for sure… but then again, don’t men always pay higher entrance for night clubs and bars, when women often get free drinks and discounted entrance? so it is normal that men pay higher fee to meet women.

At the reception, women were asked to show their ID to confirm their identity and received the profile card to fill in. We were also given an assigned number and a number plate to put on our clothes. From here on, everything that happened during the party was as described on the company website, as translated in What is Konkatsu party.

Here is what happened for us, me and my friend. First we were given 70min to have 2 min conversation with 35 men. This was an experience. I think this is the most people I have ever talked with in 70min without being hydrated. (they should really give us a bottle of water, or better yet, a bottle of beer!) But as surprising as it sounds, 2 min is enough to figure out if there is any possibility with the guy we are talking to. Sometimes, 2 min is too long even! When the guy is too short, or has overly jelled hair, or wearing a black shirt with skull and crossbones, or … well whatever that is not so appealing, you know there is not going to be anything between you and him. And this is not surprising, we use this kind of judgmental instinct everywhere in the dating scene. Whether in a bar, night club, dinner part, restaurant, or among your friends, we use this instinct to see if he could be your potential object of affection!

Among the 35 men, there were a pair of lawyers (#4 and #5) who were also coming to the konkatsu party together for the first time (I believe… well at least that’s what they told us) and the 2 of them were co-workers/friends. Although the speed dating is designed to be an individual game, since we were both sitting next to our friends so the 4 of us started to converse together for the total of 4 min. As you can imagine, the ease of involving our friends took away the nervousness and we hit it of fairly well. The fact they worked very close to our office, and often go for lunch in the same neighborhood, and go for after 6 drink in the same area helped our conversation flourish.We scored them “mb” (for may be) in our checklist. Most of the others were given “nw” which in our code stood for NO WAY.

During the approach time (this is the time we are supposed to approach the people we found interesting during the speed dating process), my friend and I decided not to approach anyone (since no one was THAT interesting anyway, why make the effort) and let the guys approach us. We also receive message card from secret admires. My friend received messages from 2 secret admires, and she showed me the card. One of the messages was from a NO WAY guy which had his mobile phone mail address and a message saying “let’s have coffee together sometime. I am REALLY interested in you” to which she shaked her head sadly. The next message was from one of the lawyers (#4) we talked with! With a smile she showed me the card which read “wanna go for drinks after this is over?”  #4 and #5  then approached us to our table and we continued our conversation from where we left it off, the bike trip #4 did from Spain to France.

Then, we were told to cast a final vote for potential partners. We were tempted to not vote at all so to avoid being “matched up”, so we can just go for a drink ourselves to laugh about the whole experience… but  then she showed me the message from #4 and shrugged her shoulder. “oh well… what the heck, why not put #4 and #5 and see what happens”…

During the matching process conducted in the backroom, we were shown a brain washing DVD about a happy partners who met in the konkatsu party and are now happily married. The happy wives all wore pink apron and welcomed their salary-men husbands home, thanking the agency for “matching them” and helping them find happiness. We were also given a thick booklet with a 150 page list of all the konkatsu parties, konkatsu golf, konkatsu bbq, konkatsu hanabi, konkatsu breakfast, konkatsu dance,… I mean the list goes on and on for all the “social event” the agency hosts with match making as main objective. This made me feel really sad and gave me goose bumps… how people must be so lonely in this metropolis Tokyo…

“Congratulations!!! Tonight we have 13 matched couple” the match maker shouted with happiness and excitement! “I will announce the paired numbers and the guys will leave the building and please wait for your partner downstairs. And here we go, the first pair is…”

(to be condinued in Tokyo date report #3: double date after konkatsu party)

Review:

If I must chose between spending 4000JPY ($40) to spend 3 hrs in a cheap restaurant drinking beer, stuck with group of not-so-interesting not-so-impressive guys pretending to have fun, and spending 120min talking with 35 men with no drink not even water, but having dinner and drink bought by a pair of fairly interesting people somehow “matching” our taste, I’d prefer the latter option.

But then again, this is not my real review of this konkatsu party. I’m truly shocked to have seen people who are really involved in konkatsu activity that I have been jokingly about. Some of the people at the party, I could tell, were serious konkatsu activist… and well… I don’t know what to say… let me digest this experience a bit more.

photoh2

I heard my friend is going to Konkatsu party, trying out an alternative way to meet men in Tokyo. What is a konkatsu party anyway, how does it work?

Company hosting the party: Exeo
http://www.exeo-japan.co.jp/ex_party/index.html

Participants: 15-20 male and 15-20 female

Things to bring: ID, pen, business card

Party process:

  1. Reception: please arrive on time, reception starts 15min before the start of the party. Show your ID, fill out profile card, put on a number plate (not a name plate!!!) which displays a number you are assigned.Profile card below asks you to fill in responses for the following questions:
    1) name 2) age 3) address 4) city of residence 5) living alone/living with family 6) height 7) horoscope 8 ) blood type 9) occupation 10) city of employment 11) days of no-business day 12) what you look for in opposite sex 13) favorite movies 14) describe your personality in one word 15) how do you spend your free time 16) family structure 17) marriage record 18) illustrate where you want to go for the first date 19) hobbies or special skill 20) favorite food

    The profile will be used for the start of conversation

    profile card

    profile card

  2. Speed dating: The step 2 of the party is conversing with each opposite sex for 3 min, by exchanging the profile card and finding as much information about eachother in the 3 min. At the end of 3 min, you fill out a check sheet to note down your impression of the ones you talked to.

    check sheet to evaluate the opposite sex

    check sheet to evaluate the opposite sex

  3. Approach time: After you’ve talked to everyone for 3 min, fill out “impression card” to evaluate the first impression of each participant and choose 3+ participants you found favorable. Then fill out “approach card” for the participants you would like to get to know more. You can write personal messages, note your contact information on the approach card. The approach card will delivered by the staff in discretion during the “free time”
    Tips for filling out impression card:

    1) mark as many participants as favorable, at least more than 3 up to t or even 10 2) if you really want to find a partner, the best practice to mark as many participants as favorable * Note: tip 1 and 2 are exactly the same things LoL but it’s writte on the card below

    impression card

    impression card

  4. Free time: You will be given aggregated result of “impression card” and “approach card” (so you know who is interested in you) to decide whom to approach during this free time. You will be given 3-4 min to converse with 3-4 participants you want to get to know better. Use the result and be aggressive to approach the potential partners who already like you little bit!
  5. Final vote: After all this meeting, now it’s time to rank your preference for future partner. Rank the top 6 participants in the order of your preference and the agency will match out the result in the back… just few min until you meet the man of your dreams LoL
    *Note: you don’t write the name of the participant, you write down the assigned number… why!? LoL

    final vote is casted

    final vote is casted

  6. Coupling announcement: The successfuly made couples will be announced by the staff by calling out the assigned number. (so not to embarass the female) Male participants will be asked to exit first, and to wait for the female partners to escort them to the exit. If you did not find your match, the agency has “after follow up service” where you can find a way to contact participants of your interst…

    Happy successfully matched couples

    Happy successfully matched couples

Apparently, the most popular female occupation in gokon is “OL” (Office Lady)

OL: a female office worker in Japan who performs generally pink collar tasks such as serving tea and secretarial or clerical work. Like many unmarried Japanese, OLs often live with their parents well into early adulthood. Office ladies are usually full-time permanent staff, although the jobs they do usually have little opportunity for promotion, and there is usually the tacit expectation that they leave their jobs once they get married.

In gokon, Japanese men prefer to meet OL women. Not consultants, not lawyers, not flight attendants, not models or movie stars, they want the most normal OL for their future partner. Yes, of course, many of them would gladly attend gokon to meet flight attendants or nurses, but it would be just for a life experience, for a life-lasting memory. But when it comes to a search for a potential girlfriend, they prefer OL women.

So even if women have high career in law office, PR, consulting, advertising, introduce yourslef as OL at least in the initial introduction. (guys, please believe that I am only translating this from a Japanese gokon guide book. as I am typing this into this blog and I am starting to feel a little sick 😦 ) anyway, where was I… well, this guide book says (again, not me!) according to the experience of a director of advertising company, she is much more successful in a gokon she she wintroduces herself, “I am just a normal OL” than to tell her real occupation. It is very likely, especially for a successful hard-working career woman to be very descriptive of her occupation ” I am a director of a new PR project team to market new product to be launched this summer” and she would rather die to think of herslef as just another normal OL. But such pride and confidence will only make her unapproachable.

If you want to develope a positive impression, t is better to start off with “normal OL” in the initial introduction. But that doesnt mean you will forever lie to him that your job is standing in front of the copy machine and making coffee for your boss all day long. You can talk more in detail about your job later once you get acquainted with the male members in gokon. Then he will be impressed that you are successful and intelligent yet humble!

It’s not that Japanese men don’t like successful intelligent career women (says the book, but I still doubt it) They are intimidated by the pride and the confidence of women for their success.

“I am a normal OL” would make him feel comfortable to approach you

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The size of the gokon is inversely proportional to the level of intimacy achieved.

Remember the large classes you had in University? I had once attended a psychology class of 500 students. The professor was very famous and his lecture was very interesting but the course completely lacked communication and intimacy among the class mates and with the professor. Some of the best courses I took were very small in size and were centered on discussion rather than lectures.  Similarly, the size of the gokon also matters for creating the intimate atmosphere.

But how small should a group be in order to have a successful gokon? Is it better to have a small group? A gokon of 2 female and 2 male is too small and loses the purpose of having a gokon. Remember, the merit of going to a gokon, not a date, is that one gets to meet multiple number of opposite sex at once.  Reducing the participants number to 2 vs 2 also increases the risk of complete failutre = none of the memebers get along well.

According to the survey, the most preferred size of gokon is 3 vs 3. It balances the ‘level of the intimacy’ and ‘the efficiency of meeting multiple number of opposite sex’ the best. A gokon with size of 5 vs 5 is likely to end up as just a drinking party but a gokon with size of 3 vs 3 have increased chance in development of  intimate relationship among the participants.

The next time you are planning a gokon with your opposite sex friend, suggest 3 vs 3 gokon!

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The main difference between gokon and a blind-date is that gokon is a team play.

Gokon requires  team-work skill.  At the same time one must appeal to the memebers of the opposite sex, one must also be able to coordinate and cooperate with the team members (the group of people of your own sex).  Don’t get carried away by the competition for getting the most eligible attractive memeber’s attention. In order to play well, you have to be able to walk out of  gokon leaving good impression on all participants of the gokon.

For example, if I go to a gokon and meet one very good looking, nice, eligible guy, and if I put all of my energy and efforts into getting his attention and getting his phone number, I will probably not succeed in this gokon.  I might end up hurting other girls who may be interested in him,  and may never be invited to another gokon by the girls.  The other male attendents would also feel neglected and ignored, developing a negative impression. They would probably share their negative impression among themselves and I would probably never hear from him, never again.

It may be difficult in the beginning, to pursue your self-intetrest while playing in the team, but you will soon realize that team play has its advantage too. In fact, many people form a gokon team with particular friends to succcessfuly play in gokon.  Many people go to gokons with regular members because they know how to work together already. In such gokon team, each person contributes with different skills and express his or her individual interests and opinions to the unity and efficiency of the group in order to achieve common goals (to find a partner, ofcourse!).

As for me, I have a regular members of gokon team too.  We share several things in common:

  • marital status: all single, never been married
  • social status: business women
  • age: 26 – 28
  • language: Japanese and English
  • area of residence: Tokyo
  • education: bachelors degree

But we contribute different sets of skills and knowledge, forming a strong team… may be a little too strong for Japanese men sometimes.

Go to a gokon with the spirit of “all for one, one for all”

Tags:

Romance meter: 21%
Conclusion: We are too old for this LoL Guys, you might be able to entertain college girls with “low quality frat party” stuff, but not us… Or did we just go to a wrong party? hmm… May be so. The real learning was “don’t expect too much from a party organized by 40 single guys living in a single male dorm. Whether they are teenagers or in their late 20’s they all want the same things”

Genre: Saturday night dinner + drink party
Show time: March 14th
Running time: 180 min
MPAA rating: PG-13 (because of the comments made on the earlobes)

Guys team: 40 guys who all work for the same company and live in the same place in a dorm
Girls team: Four 20-something working women (me and my friends) and 40 college senior girls LoL

Synopsis:

My friend got invited to this Saturday night White Day party by a guy she met in a gokon. She extended the invitation to her friends, and we all got excited because it is a large party organized by bunch of men who all work for famous Japanese company and live in single male dormitory, no better place to meet potential bachelors!

It was 4 hrs before the party started when we were all told about the dress code for the party. “Girls, please wear a dress,” which raised suspicion in all of us attending the party. Who are they to tell us what to wear? We were gonna wear a dress anyway, but being told to wear a dress is another thing all together…. but we all put on our dress, wondering how good the party must be with the dress code and all.

After few drinks in a pub nearby, the four ladies arrive at the party with bit of excitement. We paid the $40 entrance fee which includes the drinks and the food, and the entrance to a party full of potential bachelors. Let the party begin! We were first introduced to the young newbies in the company and yes, they were very young. They shyly introduced themselves to us with their senior members teasing them. But then, we looked around and we realized most of the women are even more young looking than these boys were. In fact, most of the female participants were college students.

That is when the party officially began with the announcement by two guys to gather around and pay attention. The men made a small speach and we gave a toast to “this fabulous evening lots of new opportunities to meet new people” and then the guys started their short comedy sketch. It lasted about 10 min with the private jokes and some nuditiy, well, to be specific, the two guys stripped off their shirts to show some painting on thier nipples. I forgot what the storyline was but I remember I wasn’t laughing.

30 min into the party, we were told to split into the assigned groups of 5-6 people a table. But the assignment was poorly done in terms of the balance in the number of female and male in each team. My table only had 1 male and 5 females. Then the game of “earlobe touching competition” started.

The earlobe touching competition

  1. The women feel the earlobe of each man in the same group
  2. The women vote on the man with “the best earlobe” from each group
  3. One woman who can identify the earlobe of the chosen man is selected
  4. The couple, the man with the “best earlobe” and the woman who can identify it, enters the competition
  5. The men from all the teams line up in random order
  6. The women from all the teams are blindfolded (with red silk)
  7. The blindfolded women touch the earlobes and identify the earlobe which belongs to her team mate
  8. After the feeling session, the women are told to comment on each earlobe and makes the guess
  9. The woman who guessed right is the winner
  10. And it is repeated for the second round …

Fortunately, since my team consisted of only 1 male, I could even escape from the first task to touch the earlobe. Pfew, thank God! So I became a quiet observer, with lots of free drinks and pretty good food. People were busy with the earlobes so there were plenty of food and drinks for me, with some decent mature men to talk to 🙂

The game went on and on and on for almost 2 hrs and when the game was finally finished, it was time to vacate the restaurant. And since it was a White day (reversed valentine day on which boys give girls present), the girls were given cookies and chocolates from the boys and also received discount entrance fee to the after party.  The college girls gladly follow the boys, and us ladies went the different way, got on a taxi and went to a bar where there are real men who don’t force us to touch their ear lobes.

Review:

1) about the college girls

I knew that college girls, when they start thinking about job hunting, start to wonder if they should work or get married. (yes, I’m serious) “are you going to look for a job or are you going to accept the offer from your bf?” they ask eachother. In fact, I have even heard a very romantic proposal phrase “would you accept a job offer to work for me?” apparently, some rich college kid asked his college girlfriend during the time of job-hunting. Anyway, my point is, even before they graduate college, some girls already start looking for potential bachelors who will hire them (as wife) so they can spend their free time without worrying about work or money after college. Unfortunately, this was such a party, a marriage hunting party for the college girls. And they are more than willing to touch the men’s earlobes and make some pink comments on them to give them bit of pleasure, in exchange for stable peaceful life with hard working husband. and for the men? well of course, don’t men always love the younger helpless innocent girls?

2) about the party game

Whether it’s Gokon games or party games, they are all about getting to know eachother, encouraging mingling and some physical touch… but this one was all-so-ovbiously-sexual, especially the red silk eye mask and the comments gilrs make on the earlobes… that it was a turn off for the normal people who grew out of college spirits, even the college girls. And the fact it went on and on for such a long time, almost like we payed $40 so we can touch the ears

Result:

exhaustion. I was already becoming tired of TMM but this party really exhausted me. And I smoked so much during this party that I actually decided to go on cold turkey, which is good. Aha! There are always goods that come out of bads.

6471c-ear-lobe


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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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