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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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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

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

Romance meter: 47%
Conclusion: Golf-kon is a gokon where the participants play golf. Compared to normal gokon in a restaurant, participants tend to have more fun and develop stronger bonds through sports.

Genre: Golf simulator bar and 2 plates of pasta
Show time: February 25th 8pm
Running time: 150 min
MPAA rating: PG

Guys team: 3 guys including, Mr.Golfer, Mr.Obama, Mr.”I’m 24 but I look 37″ who all work for a trading company
Girls team: 3 girls including myself

Synopsis:

Golf-kon, essentially is a gokon in a golf course or a gokon in a golf simulation bar. This time, it was in a golf simulation bar, very expensive, so expensive that we only ordered 2 plates of pasta… and a lot of drinks.

3 girls arrived fashionably late, and 2 guys were already waiting for us, though the third person did not arrive 20min before the end of the night. We talked a little, drunk a little, and played the golf simulation game for an hour. That was fun, we paired up and played against the team. But personally, what I thought was more funny than the golf simulation game itself was how this guy named Mr.Omaha was so proud of him name because it’s so close to Barack Obama. So proud he called himself “Mr.Obama” and so proud that his player name was input as “Mr.Obama!” He also wanted us to call him Barack. ahaha!

After the game, we went back to the table and the 2 guys chatted up the girls…. this was new! In most cases that I have seen, guys are often quiet and girls have to make the effort to make them talk. Apparently, this kind of behavior shows that the guys are used to going to gokon, and they are used to chatting up women in gokon, for better or for worse. Then the third person then arrived who seems more used to going to cabaret club than gokon, hear this out. This third person, I really thought he was 37 years old or even older. But he proudly told me, “I am only 24 but I look 37, but the cabaret hostesses tell me I can pass for 30 because they are so nice!” good for you!

After some drinks,  guys started to talk about their break up stories and ex girlfriends that they still miss. And to make it even worse, they thought it would be a good idea to go around the table and share our break up stories… “We’ve given you enough respect and pampering for your career, and now you want sympathy for your lost love? ” is NOT exactly what came out of my mouth, but I did stand up and said “I should go home now, it’s getting late” I was ready to leave. And so were the guys. The guys left us in front of the bar and went for another drink, apparently not acceptable from girls’ point of view.

But I gladly said good bye and went to a really good yakitori-bar because I was soooooo hungry! And it was in the next bar where 2 cute French guys smiled at me and my friend, “bonsoire” and I happily smiled them back with a cold beer and a nice juicy chicken skew in my hands.

Review:

An employee in a Japanese general trading companies (“Shosha-man”) is apparently a very desirable eligible bachelor for Japanese women. Apparently, they have very clean sophisticated image, they have fairly stable job where most people work for the entire life and get handsome retirement package, and with some luck, he might be transferred to a foreign based branch someday and you, the wife, and the family may live in a big house in a foreign country, paid by the company. They’ve got everything a Japanese girl could dream of! so much so that the bachelors working for trading companies are called “Shosh-man” just like batman, superman, or spiderman! Personally, I would die for Spiderman‘s kiss but not sure about Shosha-man’s kiss…

Therefore, the 3 guys are “desirable” and they know they are very “desirable” for Japanese women, despite their physical shortcomings (short, scrawny, and “I’m 24 but I look 37”). And they have rich experiences being pampered by women in gokon and even cabaret clubs. It’s a little hard to hold conversation as equals with guys like that. It seemed to me, that they are used to being pampered but they want more, they want the girls to worship them, flatter them, respect them, …. because they work for a trading company….? While most of the conversation was centered around thier career, as usual, there was some other topics of conversation.

It is often said that Japanese avoid verbal conflict and that tooron ‘debate’ is not compatible with their traditional communication patterns. People usually avoid conversation which may lead to exchange of different opinions, including politics, religion, philosophy in life, international relations. They would much prefer nodding and agreeing, so most people talk about things that are not directly related to their own life and views. TV shows, comedy, movies, anime, trendy places to go… Which is still ok, I can stand that, though I cannot participate much except for the Western movie conversation. It was a real turn off, for the guys to start bragging abour their exes and comparing the misery of their breakup stories. And for them to ask the girls to share our break up stories? C’mon!

I thought gokon was a place to meet people, and hopefuly, a place to look attractive and a place to impress the opposite sex. Or has gokon suddenly become a cheaper version of “cabaret clubs” where women are expected to comfort and sympathize men rather than have men impress and attract women?

Result:

The organizers exchanged the contact information of the fellow members from guys and girls team and the participants recieve the contact information of the opponent team members. Apparently, this way of contact information exchange shows lack of private affection… less promising than personal exchange of contact information.

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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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