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Posts Tagged ‘nanpa

For all this time, I have been saying that Japanese men usually don’t chat up women but I’ve had a nanpa experience tonight, so I have to write this down as an evidence that men do chat up women.

On a Friday night, out in a crowded standing bar, waiting for my girl friends to arrive, I was drinking a gin tonic and people watching.

Then comes a guy, who is 20-something looking, spiky hair, and a little taller than me. He stands next to me and says “Are you alone?” and I raise my shoulders as a sign of “may be, may be not” and I sip my gin tonic. “Are your friends here yet?” and I look at the time and say “not yet.” “So… what are you doing… now… I mean, tonight, after this” I’m gonna meet up with my friends and go out. “oh, ok” silence… “what’s your name?” and I give out a random name and he tells me his… “You can speak English, can’t you?” somhow, he said that eventhough I hadn’t used any English. “I speak English too, Good evening What’s your name? do you prefer to talk inEnglish or Japanese?” so I answred “Which ever is good, I can speak both.” and then he freaked out. Apprarently, he wanted to show off that he can speak English to impress me. He didn’t expect that I would be able to speak English, better than him. He changes back to Japanese and said “Oh, well, I said I can speak English but I personally prefer Japanese”… “ok, ” I said and sipped gin tonic, almost empty now. He stood there as if he is waiting for something more, until I put on a jacket and left the bar to meet my friends in the station nearby.

Well, there you go. Some Japanese men do chat up girls, but, well, apparently, not as smoothly as it is done in other countries. But it happened, and I experienced it, so I write it down.

Gyaku-nan literappy means reversed nanpa. Since Nanpa is boys hitting on girls, the reversed situation, gyaku-nanpa (often shorted as gyaku-nan) refers to girls hitting on guys. It happens, but for obvious reasons, it is far less common than regular nanpa, but perhaps with a higher success rate than nanpa?

Just as nanpa, gyaku-nan tends to occur on busy streets and other lively public places. Young women stand at the edge of the street and watch passing men. When a man strikes a woman’s fancy, she typically starts a conversation wit him. Unlike nanpa, where the men invites women to a cafe or karaoke bar, Gyaku-nan does not necessary involve women inviting him for a date. The women just start a casual flirtation by starting a conversation.


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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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