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Archive for the ‘Gokon rules’ 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

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

The ultimate objective of the gokon, is to exchange the phone numbers so you can keep in touch with the person of your interest after the gokon. No matter what expectations the participants came here with, the ultimate objective, at least for the night is to exchange the phone number. If you go home with the phone number, then you have succeeded the mission for the night of gokon. What happens after with the phone number, however, varies depending on each individual cases and actions.

I have seen different cases on the phone number exchange.

  1. Complete failutre: Nobody exchanges phone numbers
  2. Cell phone orgy: At the end of the gokon,  the organizer urges that everybody exchange phone number
  3. Folllow up contact list: After the gokon is finished, the organizers send list of the name and phone number of the participants
  4. Business business: the participants exchange business cards, with phone number and e-mail address from work
  5. Just for you and me: The couple who hit it off well exchange their phone numbers privately

and which one of the above cases has more success rate? The books say, obviously, #5 where the guy asks a girl privately for her phone number. (note: not the other way around) So what are the techniques to make this happen? Here are the techniques found on the gokon guides on the internet.

Best timing for phone number exchange:

1. during private talk
2. outside of the restaurant, during the good bye time

Advice for men:
How to smoothly ask for her number?

In in order to ask for her number smoothly and successfully, one must clarify the purpose of obtaining the phone number (i.e., I like her and I want to take her out for dinner) and communicate the purpose to her. “Can I get your phone number?” has less success of getting her number than “There is really good thai restaurant that I think you would enjoy. Can I take you out sometime?” However, this might intimidate the girl because “taking you out on a date” might be too much for her at this time. So the safest would be to propose a get together with couple of people, perhaps the same participants of the gokon or other friends. “Let’s all go out again” to “give me your contact address so we can organize another gathering” is your safest bet, at least for the moment. Then you can actually ask her on a date after the gokon. In order for the men to successfuly get women’s contact address, identify and communicate the reason for asking for the phone number, as easy as that.

Advice for women:
How are women supposed to make the men initiate phone number exchange?

Now, this gets more complicated, as you can imagine. In most cases, it is much easier for women to ask a man’s phone number, but that would come out as pretty agressive movement. In addition, women generally has only one shot to ask for the phone number from one man in a gokon. If she asks multiple men’s phone number, she will come off as desperate. In most cases, it is better off to only give out the phone number when men ask for it. And there are some technique women use to make the men ask for their phone number.

The most commonly advised technique is to show interest in his interests and make him invite you to join him. For example, when the man is talking about a restaurant or a place he likes, say “sounds nice, I have never been there but I would love to go some time. ” and hope he would respond “sure, I will take you there. Should we exchange phone number then?” This technique can also apply to conversation on movies, hobbies, museums… anything. Let him talk about his interest, show yout interest, make him ask you out, then exchange the number.

Now, you got the number but what you are gonna do with it is another BIG issue! Please look forward to my report on that one. I’m no expert on the subject but I have successfully lead the FlirText to get to 3 first date so I know something about it myself 😉

this is how you exchange contact info in Japan, infared sending contact information between phones, essential for giving your info to friends and partners

this is how you exchange contact info in Japan, infared sending contact information between phones, essential for giving your info to friends and partners

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:


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.


Rule #1: Meet at the venue of the gokon

The ideal place to select for meeting would be the venue of the gokon, usually a restaurant. Meeting at a station could cause confusion among the participants since Japanese metro stations usually have more than 3-4 exists for the same station. Waiting outside the station in summer or winter is not nice, especially for women.

Rule #2: Don’t be late

Since the whole point of gokon is to gather equal number of men and women interested in meeting eachother, things start to go wrong when people arrive late. as you can see in gokon report #4: tardiness as gokon’s bad omen.

Rule #3: Last minuite cancellation should be avoided

If there is any last minuite cancellation, the organizer usually have to call all of their girl friends/guy friends to look for a replacement and this creates all sorts of troubles. The last one invited for replacements are usually not ready for gokon and often feel uneasy to be the replacement. If you know you have to cancel the gokon or will arrive late due to some emergency, make sure you call in for cancellation at least 3 hrs before the gokon.

Rule #4: Male members and female members setup different preliminary meeting point and time to create a favorable start of the gokon

It is best recommended for the male members to plan together to arrive 5-10 min before the meeting in the selected restaurant. The female members usually gather 5 min before the meeting in a station or cafe near the selected restaurant so they can all arrive to the venue together, in a fashionably late manner (1-2 min after the appointed time) And with this strategy, women can avoid the awkward situation of arriving alone to the group of male participants waiting already. (Although with the right amount of confidence and attitude, she may use this situation to her advantage by start getting to know the male participants before the arrival of the other female members!)

Rule #5: Put on your best smile and quickly build strategy on your seating area

Finally, the female team and the male team come together in the gokon venue. Put on your best smile, and as you get ready to sit, casually talk about weather and comment on the atmosphere of the restaurant, WHILE you build strategy on your seating area. Although most people would move around later in the gokon, you will be spending considerable amount of time with the people you first sit close by. It is absolutely necessary to look around the opposite sex members and instintively determine who you are most interested in. No need to be aggressive, but casually grab a seat where you think you would be most comfortable with. There are several seating patters typically used in gokon as below.

Seating patters in gokon:

1. face to face: women sit in a row and men sit in a row faceing eachother

2. sandwich: man, woman, man, woman, sit infront of woman, man, woman, man so you are surrounded by the opposite sex vertically and horizontally

3. grouping: all men sit together in one side of the table, all women sit together in one side of the table

The seating patterns are usually determined by the male organizer at the point of arrival. But personally I prefer the pattern 1 which gives women to talk freely among themselves and gives women chance to observe the male interaction. The short coming of pattern 1 is that it limits the number of men to interact with, it is most natural to converse with the male who is sitting in front of you, and this is where your initial seating strategy becomes important.


Things to bring:

  1. Cell phone
  2. Business card
  3. Money
  4. Lip cream

Since the main purpose of gokon is networking, cell phone and business cards are the must haves.
In some cases, formal exchange of business cards is more favored than exchanging phone numbers which may seem more private. It is surely easier for men to suggest exchange of business cards than to ask for phone numbers privately. Don’t forget some cash for ovbious reasons, and lipe cream for both boys and girls to have attractive lips.

How to dress

Before you think of how to look attractive or sexy, be clean. For women, it is more favorable to smell like soap than to smell chanel coco. For men, it is more favorable to be clean cut and clean shaved than to carry a Gucci wallet. For both women and men, business casual is the most favorable way to dress for gokon. Don’t go over the top when it comes to accesories, brand wallets and bags, perfumes, and sexiness. It is especially recommended for women to under-decorate themselves. Wearing expensive looking jeweries will intimidate men – they will wonder whether you are better paid than them, or if you already have rich boyfriends giving you expensive gifts.

Check the current news

Before the gokon, you should study the current news on the following topics:

  • trendy TV shows
  • hit songs
  • movies now in theater
  • celebreties
  • sports, especially baseball
  • If you know the industry the participants work in, studying bit of current news of the industry may lead to exciting conversation about his business (which then gives him confidence as a business man which gives him confidence as a man which might leads to affection toward you! who gave him the chance to rediscover his confidence and manhood!)

Other topics you can study for gokon include:

  • Birthdays and horoscopes
  • Blood types and related personality: Make sure you know your blood type if you want to join the discussion of who is compatible with who! Beginning in approximately 1930, the Japanese embraced the idea of matching personality traits with one’s blood type. This phenomenon is as popular in Japan as the idea of matching horoscope with personality is in the States.Almost all Japanese are aware of their blood type. Discussion of blood types is widely popular as a way of gauging relationship compatibility with a potential or current partner. And where else would be a better place to talk about the compatibility of each others blood types if not in gokon! So know your basic blood type stereotypes LoL

Type O:
Type O’s are outgoing, and very social. They are initiators, although they don’t always finish what they start. Creative and popular, they love to be the center of attention and appear very self confident.

Type A:
While outwardly calm, they have such high standards (perfectionists) that they tend to be balls of nerves on the inside. Type A’s are the most artistic of the blood groups. They can be shy, are conscientious, trustworthy, and sensitive.

Type B:
Goal oriented and strong minded, type B’s will start a task and continue it until completed, and completed well. Type B’s are the individualists of the blood group categories and find their own way in life.

Type AB:
Type AB’s are the split personalities of the blood groups. They can be both outgoing and shy, confident and timid. While responsible, too much responsibility will cause a problem. They are trustworthy and like to help others.

Compatability by Blood Groups:
A is most compatible with A and AB
B is most compatible with B and AB
AB is most compatible with AB, B, A and O
O is most compatible with O, and AB

  • Chinese astrology and related personality: In Chinese astrology the zodiac of twelve animal signs represents twelve different types of personality. When people start talking about their birthdays (preferred to just telling their age because it gives bit of time to guess the participants age) they often talk of their zodiac signs, and the related personality to promote their good nature.

For example, a man born in 1982, year of the dog would add that “yes, I am indeed born in the year of dog because I am honest/straightforward/amicable/unpretentious/sociable/ open-minded,…” to promote his good nature

Now you are ready to go to gokon!
The next rule Gokon rule 104 will be about getting there, on time, and making your first impression!


The second step to your success in gokon is to know yourself.
In some gokon guides, they even recommend you to do a SWOT analysis on your profile. Rather than just thinking about who am I, think of your strenth, weakness, opportunity, and threat. Before attending gokon, think about how to sell your strength (i.e., karaoke talent, flipping long beautiful hair), how to improve your weakness (i.e., beauty salon, push up bras), work on opportunity (i.e., appropriate body touches), and conquer threat (i.e., not inviting your most flirtatious beautiful friend).

Note: Just a reminder the definition of “strength” and “weakness” vary depending on the gender. For example, a successful career, high salary, big apartment, fluency in english, academic record in the foreign countries, are considered strength in Japanese men but not necessary so in Japanese women. (Which is same in other countries too in some extent, as seein with the lawyer Miranda’s case in Sex and the City but more ovbiously so in Tokyo)


The first step to your success in gokon life is to refresh the image of gokon. Get rid of negative images of gokon, be positive of attending any new gokon, be optimistic about the upcoming gokon, and be excited to simply just meet new people!

It is easy to have a negative image on gokon.

The idea of meeting strangers with a clear common objective to find a boyfriend/girlfriend, the idea of asking your friend to introduce you to their eligible single friends, the idea of reading the lables, the brand names of the attendents company and university, before actually meeting them, the idea of selling yourself in a market, being sized up your value, and sizing up others value… these are just so unappealing…

Gokon is a systematic unromantic way to meet people.
The start of love is most romantic when it happens in the most unexpected of the places and time.
Then love should just sparkle and they would know it’s true love by just looking into eachothers eyes…

But the reality is, in Japan it is difficult to meet new people, and with the shyness of Japanese nature, he/she would not expree the affection and the passion even if they felt it in their first sight…
So, gokon gives such shy people equal chance to meet new people and speak for themselves. Gokon creates a safe, casual, fair environment for strangers to meet and get to know one another. Even the Japanese government is supporting the idea! And if you want to successfuly find the partner in a gokon, you have to refresh and clean the image of gokon, that’s the first step.

Think of gokon as a casual dinner party, an opportunity to mingle with people you share much in common with (i.e., age, marital status, social standing, background) Forget the idea that “everyone is there to hunt for partner”
In a way, we are all looking for “the one” to be loved and to love anywhere anytime? no? Gokon just increases the number of people you can meet in your life, and the number of eye contacts you have with people, thereby increasing the chances of finding the spark of romance. So let go of  the negative images of “gokon” and just enjoy the opportunity to meet the friends of your friend!


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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!

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