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Japanese people love to categorize people.

Sado vs. Maso, horoscopes, blood types, Chinese astrology, herbivorous vs. carnivorous, gal-type vs. onee-type (hip or princess), Kikokushijo vs. Jun-Japanese … it’s pretty much because if we don’t categorize ourselves, we are all the same homogeneous Japanese race with same height, same hair color, all from middle classed and mostly with some job and some money.

So we classify people to remember that we are all different. I have been writing about some of the category of Japanese boys, but it seems they just keep coming! So I made a new page to sum up the 8 different types of Japanese boys observed and reported by Momoko Shirakawa in the famous love consulting online-guide on Ozmall. Ozmall is a internet-based magaine targeted 20-30 something business girls.

So check out the 8 types of Japanese boys here! J-boys guide

I’m proud to be the first on the internet to introduce the  emerging trend of new type of guys, the girly guys. Otomen (オトメン/乙男) is a pun made of the Japanese word otome (乙女), meaning “young lady” or “mistress”, and the English word “men”. Like the Soshokukei Danshi (Grass-eating boys), the description of Otomen is really very close to what you would imagine to be gay. Otomen is type of guys who like cute sweet things traditionally thought to be girls’ taste. Pastel colors, flowers, sweets, chocolates and cakes, teddy bears and bunny rabbits, to cooking, sewing, and all the lovely things. However, they are straight in their sexual preference. Otomen is a straight man with feminine taste and sensitive mind.

Originally, the word Otomen was first popularized by a comic book Otomen. It became such a hit that they even made a TV show on the life of Otomen, Asuka Masamune. Here goes the story: Asuka is a badass. He is a tough, cool, 2nd year high school guy who is also a master at kendo. He exudes an aura of manliness that is difficult to deny. .. at least that’s what everyone thinks.  But for Asuka, life is torture, because he can never show the REAL Asuka to the world. While he is phenomenal at kendo, and looks very cool, Asuka’s manly lifestyle is a lie to hide his real self. He actually prefers much more girly things: knitting, cooking, sewing, staffed animals, shoujo manga (girls romance comic), plushies, cute things – he loves them all. When he was a child, this worried his mother very much, as Asuka’s father abandoned the family after declaring he wanted to be a woman. The shock made his mother so ill that Asuka swore to become a more manly man… or at least act like one. So he falls in love, with his classmate, a manly girl who is tough and strong. The rest is a romantic comedy of the couple struggling to get along with gender roles and expectation and with the approval of their classmates and family. (see more on Otomen official page)

However, the trend of otomen did not stop with comic books and TV drama. Well, it actually started from the real phenomenon of guys who are becoming more and more girly in their tastes, hobbies, and action. And since the word Otomen became popularized by the media, it seems the trend of girly men are spreading out the media into the society.

As women are becoming stronger and tougher, men are going the other way around, becoming weaker and softer. With the emergency of strong women to lead the men, men no longer need to lead the society. They can relax and enjoy their life, decorating their apartment, indulging tasty sweets and herbal tea, reading books and day dreaming. The emergence of Otomen is actually welcomed by most women, according to a study conducted by Ozmall. 75% of respondents approved Otomen and would consider Otomen as their potential life partner, mostly because of their expectation for Otomen to support them with their femine side – to take on the traditional female role of cooking, cleaning, and laundry. And they expect to enjoy spend time together with men who can share feminine taste.

What about you? How do you like see your boyfriend wearing a pink sweet PJ cuddling a fluffy teddy bear?

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

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

Remember when I wrote about the “meat-eating girls” and “grass-eating boys” back in February? (if not please see News alart! Increasing population of “Grass-eating boys” ) Since these terminologies were introduced to the society, it’s become hot words of the season. Everywhere I go, in parties, izakayas (Japanese bars), gokon, and office drinking, people talk about thier own love life using these terminologies…

“She is such a ‘meat-eating girl,’ she goes to gokon every week trying to get herself a boyfriend!”

“Oh stop being such a ‘grass-eating boy,’ that’s why you haven’t dated for 2 years now. Get over your ex and go out there like a wolf!”

“Eversince I got a girlfriend, I don’t have the motivation to go out anymore… I’m totally becoming ‘grass-eater'”

“Would you say you are a ‘meat-eater’ or ‘grass-eater’?

If I remember correctly, last year, we had a similar type of categorization that became very popular… it was about whether one is S (Sado) or M (Maso). It became very popular among youngsters to talk about whether one is S or M. It wasn’t really about sexuality they were talking about, but more about life styles and dating style, defining masochism entirely in terms of control. They even sold T-shirts that says “I am M” or “I am S”… you see, Japanese people like to categorize themselves. There is always some hot topic of categorization in the society at any time… sometimes it’s S&M, sometimes it’s by blood type, or the type of job you do, or style of fashion. They love categorizing themselves and identifying the group they belong to. Why??? It’s because Japan is a country of homogeneous population. Most people here are 100% Japanese by blood, with the same black hair and brown eyes, speak Japanese, learned the same stuff under one educational system, watch same TV and practice no religion. We are all the same…. so, to make things bit more exciting and to create some differences and find distinction, we have to categorize ourselves using certain parameters.

Anyways, right now, Japanese youngsters are crazy about categorizing themselves into “grass-eaters” (not-agressive in attracting the opposite sex) and “meat-eaters” (agressive in attracting the opposite sex).

Lastnight, I went out with bunch of Japanese boys. Well, it wasn’t a gokon or anything, I know all of them pretty well and we were just casually drinking to celebrate approaching weekend lol As we start to get drunk, we started to talk about the recent updates in our love life, and of course, one of the guys started the hot topic by asking “would you say you are a ‘grass-eater’ or a ‘meat-eater?” The 4 boys regarded themselves as “grass-eaters” and they were proud to be “grass-eaters.”

Then I noticed, that guys think it’s cool to be a “grass-eater.” If a man can say that he is a “grass-eater,” it means that he gets a lot of girls attention without trying, that he is Don Juan who doesn’t need to pursue women.  “I’m not agressive, I don’t try hard, I’m just chilling out but somehow, girls love me” is the attitude they had when they talked about how vegetarian they are these days!!! They even started to debate which one of them loves eating the veggies the most but at the same time gets girls…

Boy 1: “no, I think I’m more of a ‘grass-eater’ then you are, I haven’t even been to gokon fsince last year!”

Boy 2: “Oh stop it,I’m more “grass-eater” then you, I don’t even have a girlfriend but you do”

Boy 1: “I didn’t try to pursue her though, she came on to me. I was a complete gentleman with her. I’m totally a ‘grass-eateting kind’….”

“So what about you?” they asked me. “Are you a ‘grass-eating kind’ or a ”meat eating kind’?”

And I said… “Oh, I’m a total ‘meat-eater,’ totally….  I know what I want, at least I know I don’t want some veggie loving feminine men… I’m as ‘meat-eater’ as T-rex and I’m proud to be a T-rex” wink** 😉


Makeinu literally translates to “loser dogs”…And who is the loser? The single, childless women in the 30s.

The term Makeinu was first coined by popular columnist Sakai Junko in her book Makeinu no Toboe (The Grumbling of Losers) which became a top selling book. The popularity of the book and the concept of makeinu has perked the public’s interest making the term “makeinu” one of the trendiest words.

In this book, Sakai terms a makeinu as a woman who is 30 years old or over  who is not married and has no children. By contrast, a woman who is married with children is defined as a kachiinu (winner). In days past, women who remained single in their thirties and beyond were stigmatized in the workplace, the community, and among relatives. But nowadays, according to recent data, 43% of men and 27% of women between 30 and 34 years old are unmarried; this is an age in which more than one in four women remain single even after turning 30.

At 37 years old, Sakai is a makeinu herself. In writing the essays, she took the approach that women in a position like hers could live more easily if they shrugged it off and said, “So what if I’m a loser?” But the real question is… are they really losers? Far from being true losers, the makeinu group possess strong purchasing power and have the potential to personal consumption, from gourmet food, vacation, hair stylists to condominiums, they can buy them all, with their own money. Single women in their 30s who have opted to forego the traditional marriage-children route in favor of careers and self-indulgence has won her economic power and independence. These women have taken ownership of the word makeinu as they reinvent what it means to be a young , independent, career woman in Japan.

makeinu no toboe

makeinu no toboe

I’ve written before, that Japanese people love rules and manners. So don’t think any different that there are no rules for expressing love or fondness… the most famous day being Valentine’s day and White day.

Valentine’s day in the Western society is a day on which lovers express their love for each other by sending Valentine’s cards, presenting flowers, lingeries or offering confectionery and have sexy romantic fun time… sigh… yes, that is how it was on valentine’s day. but not in Japan, not for Japanese couple. They don’t know how to just have fun, be sexy and romantic the way they want to… Yes, there are RULES for women to do certain things on a Valentine’s day… and then RULES for men to do certain things on a White day.

Simply put… On Valentine’s Day, Japanese women give chocolate to men. Men give gifts to women on March 14th called White Day.

What is Valentine’s day in Japan?

In Japan, Valentine’s Day is observed by females who present chocolate gifts (either store-bought or handmade), usually to a male, as an expression of love.

Grocery stores, department stores, and convenience stores sell many different kinds of domestic and imported chocolate. More than half of the chocolate sold in a year is sold around Valentine’s Day in Japan. Women buy chocolate for their co-workers, bosses, male friends, brothers, father, husband, boyfriends, and so on.  Are you wondering why women give chocolates to all males around them? Are they that desperate?

No, it’s just that there are two types of chocolates women give to men.
1) Chocolate given to men whom women don’t feel special love are called “giri-choco (obligational chocolate)” in Japanese. Chocolate given to co-workers and bosses are usually considered as giri-choco. Many men feel embarrassed if they don’t receive any chocolate on Valentine’s Day, so women usually make sure to give giri-choco to men around them so that they don’t feel left out, thus showing how caring she is.

2) Chocolate given to a special man from a woman is called “honmei (prospective winner)-choco.” As a honmei chocolate, a homemade chocolate is usually preferred by the receiver, because it is a sign that the receiving male is the girl’s “only one”. (and that the girl can do some work in the kitchen) Homemade chocolate… in  this sense, doesn’t mean grinding coco beans and making chocolate from scratch… it just means, melting chocolate bars and then reshaping them into heart-shaped chocolates, thus showing how “homey” she is.

What is White day in Japan?

On White Day, the converse happens: males who received a chocolate, whether it was obligational or real, on Valentine’s Day are expected to return the favor by giving gifts, usually more expensive, preferbly, three times expensive, according to the rule of “triple return”. Traditionally, popular White Day gifts are cookies,  white chocolate, marshmallows,… and jewellery if they decided to follow the “triple return” rule.

Such complicated rules and customs. But nobody gets confused and nobody forgets the day because the stores provide plenty of reminders of the approach of these days so that even the most forgetful man cannot say that it slipped his mind. So if you think Hallmark is lucky for making so much profit from cards and chocolates, think about how lucky Japanese chocolates companies and department stores are, for having 2 Valentine’s days a year, with women obligated to buy all the men in her life!

Lastly, the gifts of chocolate that men buy are in white boxes while the gifts that women buy for men come in red boxes. It is certainly expected that women chase after men, all the men in her lives with burning passion, but men are just expected to return the favor… though it may cost him a bit more according to the “triple return rule”


While Nomikai is generally understood as a drinking party,  Gokon is more like a dating party.

Nomikai is held to mark of a wide range of events, including completion of major projects, attainment of set goals, foundation anniversaries, school sporting events, entry of new coworkers, and retirement of senior employees… or no reason at all! Nomikai is wonderful because they’re simply an excuse to drink, and in Japan, there is rarely a time where you need a reason to go drinking.

With whom?
Nomikai is a part of the culture of most places of employment, from schools, nightclubs, to just casual friends. Anywhere from three to twenty people usually participate in a Nomikai.

They are most often held in restaurants or izakayas (dining-bar), usually with everyone seated at one large table or occupying a separated section of the venue.

How much money?
In some places, it’s customary to pay as you go, but a lot of parties will order a set course with an all-you-can-drink plan (usually 2-3 hrs time limit). The prices for Nomikai participation may vary, but a lot of restaurants and bars in Japan advertises their dinner and dink set courses for Nomikai parties. The price for these courses vary anywhere from $25 – $100. But for $25/person, you can easily get 5-6 course meals and 2 hrs- all-you-can-drink beer party.

After Nomikai
The Nijikai (Japanese: 二次会) is the afterparty. After the main nomikai is concluded, the surviving attendees often move to different bars. As attendance is not at all mandatory for nijikais, they usually are comprised of groups of friends or people interested in doing a lot of drinking, including bar-hopping. Heavy drinkers go on to Sanjikai, the after-after party for more drinks.

Things you should know about Nomikai etiquett:

  1. Generally, one tries to avoid filling one’s own glass, but instead offers to fill others’ for them. This is especially true when there are variance in the participant’s rank, age, sex. This relationship is often reciprocal and the junior and superior take turns in filling eachother’s glasses. For example, Japanese women often pour drink into men’s glasses, and the men would fill women’s glasses (most likely trying to get them drunk)
  2. Another point of etiquette which differs from many Western business cultures is that it is quite alright to get drunk at nomikais. In the same vein, things said and done under such circumstances are not taken as seriously, are forgiven, or are ignored upon return to the workplace (or classroom, or club). Consequently, there are sometimes frank and emotional displays between coworkers, regardless of rank, which may not occur in a normal workplace context. This is a place Japanese people get rid of shyness and surface formality, and are allowed to he honest and frank.


Miai, (literally “looking at each other”) or is a Japanese custom whereby unattached individuals are introduced to each other to consider the possibility of marriage.

The practice of miai emerged in 16th century among the Samurai class to form and protect strong military alliances among warlords to ensure mutual support. Later, during the Tokugawa Period (1603-1868) the practice of Miai spread to other urban classes trying to emulate Samurai customs. After the Pacific War, the trend was to abandon this restrictive arranged-marriage system, in favor of more Western ideals of love marriages. Currently, only 10-30% of marriages in Japan are arranged and love marriages are the social norm.

However, parents and children of bourgeois family deeply wish to maintain the social standard and life style of Japanese bourgeois family by finding an appropriate partner with the same or higher social status.  Ideally, the couple and their families should be of equal social status. Therefore, though love marriages are considered ideal in the society, the main concept of miai, to be introduced to an eligible single man/woman and to objectively select the initial criteria with marriage in mind, are still favored and practiced casually by majority of the young people.

The criteria used in the match making practice have not changed greatly.
The candidates and their families are judged on a large set of criteria aimed at determining the suitability and the balance of the marriage. This criteria is formally known in Japan as iegara (family background) which  include:

  • level of education, particularly the name brand of the university attended
  • level of income
  • occupation and status
  • physical attractiveness
  • social standing
  • hobbies
  • bloodline (family disease history)

Many Japanese women look for three attributes: height, high salary, and high education, commonly known as “The Three H” syndrome. What about the fourth H attribute, for great H!? (H in Japanese means sex)

These criteria of a good partner are so ingrained in everyone’s mind … that you would hear this kind of conversation all the time….

Girl 1: “Why do you look so happy?”
Girl 2: “I met someone and I’m so happy, I think we are in love”
Girl 1: “Oh, what does he do? What’s the name of the company he works for?”


Da-mens is a combination of two words “da-me” (not good) and men. Da-mens refers to uneligible, loser guys.

The word was first invented by comic book artist Mayumi Kurata in her work “ Damens Walker” (can’t help falling in love with losers) which was later developed into a TV show. Both the comic book and the TV show is about various hilarious relationship stories between a beautiful girl and loser guys: Maria (Norika Fujiwara) and Natsu (Yu Yamada) are both single, attractive, and beautiful women who work as a secretary for the top executives. Although they are more than qualified to seek for the best man in town, they always end up falling for the worst losers… who cheat, ask for money, lie, won’t work, etc.

Meny who are classified as “Da-mens” in Japanese society tend to…

  • be mama’s boy (overinfluenced by their mother)
  • be poor
  • be abusive (domestic violence)
  • have mythomane (habitual lying)
  • have sex addiction
  • be habitual cheater
  • work for chain referral business
  • NEET (Not in Employment, Education or Training)
  • have extravagant spending habits
An example of da-mens: Otaku, nerdy nerd

An example of da-mens: Otaku, nerdy nerd

Konkatsu is an abbreviation of kekkon(marriage) and katsudo(activity), which literally means “marriage hunting.”

The word Konkatsu was coined by a sociologist, Masahiro Yamada, and a journalist, Toko Shirakawa, in 2007. The book Konkatsu no jidai (The era of marriage-hunting), written by Yamada and Shirakawa was published in the early 2008. According to their research and analysis, Japanese singles can’t just sit around and wait for their “one” to appear anymore. They have to “hunt” for their partners instead.

Times has changed. It’s become harder for young people to get married in the last 20 years. Marriage is something to be pursued with strategy and planning. Marriage hunting should be executed in a similar manner as job hunting. You have to prepare your resume, wear the right suits that makes you look professional and sophisticate, present your best self through the interview, follow up the interview with polite emails and phone calls, and when you get the offer, review the contract and negotiate for your true worth!

Yamada and Shirakawa say that there are 2 main reasons for the situation.

  1. Dating has become much easier than before. That means one can have a relationship with someone without really thinking about marriage. So, if the relationship doesn’t work out, they are free to break up with no responsibility.
  2. Working situations have changed. More and more young men are having a hard time getting a regular job these days. While some women are pursuing career paths and making their own living, a lot of other women still tend to rely on their husband’s salary. So, for example, a man may want his wife to work full-time to contribute to the family income while his future-wife may want to be a full-time homemaker, and vice versa.

Yamada and Shirakawa say that young people need to be more conscious about such changes and make an effort at hunt for marriage if they want to get married.

And how do you hunt for marriage? You make an effort to meet an appropriate, eligible bachelor and bachelorett. In another words, “Welcome to Tokyo Meet Market!” They can ask their friends to set up singles’ parties, or they can also try using matchmaking services or dating websites. They may wonder why it’s so hard to get married, but socializing with more people and trying to become more attractive are surely useful first steps in the process.

This word konkatsu became a trendy word through 2008, encouraging single men and women in the 20’s to engage in rigorous search for their life partners. Gokon, previously seens as just a drinking party of youngsters, had received a new clean image as a meeting of men and women seeking a better future. In the end, the invention and the spread of the showed the acceptance of the idea to hunt for marriage, and magnified the phenomenon to a national scale.

The era of marriage-hunting

1/4 Japanese youth cannot get married? Now we are in a era where we must hunt for job and hunt for marriage!

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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!

Cherie’s tweets

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  • Ate a bowl of toshomen for lunch, super delicious! Check it out: http://r.gnavi.co.jp/g314410/ 10 years ago
  • getting warmer in Tokyo! The spring is just around the corner which means... love in the air! 10 years ago