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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”

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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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