Finding love in the modern age is a tricky business for us ladies; there’s attractive profiles to create, emoticons to choose and the general deciphering of Tinder captions – ‘I feel how pizza tastes’… anyone? In the name of research, GaijinPot got together three different women (UK, USA and Italy) to share their experiences of dating in Japan. Chiara: I thought that they didn’t find me attractive so I wasn’t really interested in Japanese guys, even though I was attracted to them.
Rebecca: I wasn’t so attracted to Japanese men but now after living here for three years I would say I definitely am. Christa: I’ve always been attracted to Japanese men, even when I was young, so I did some research before I came here and I saw that generally they are interested but they’re very shy about approaching women so you may need to approach them. Christa: I was with a girlfriend in Shibuya and two men approached us on the street and we went out for drinks. Chiara: I heard too that Japanese men weren’t so interested in foreign women but my experience is kind of the opposite. Christa: I actually approached someone on the train recently and he was totally ok with it but yeah it was kind of up to me to make a move.
So when guys are shy and girls aren’t supposed to make the first move how do people meet in Japan? Rebecca: Yeah I don’t know any of my Japanese girlfriends who would directly approach a guy. Chiara: I know some married couples and the first meeting is usually through friends or at university.
Rebecca: I think quite a common thing among foreign girls who are in relationships with Japanese guys is that generally the guy has lived abroad or has some sort of not-typical Japanese perspective that makes him attracted to foreign girls. Is it hard to find something in common or to talk about when you first date a Japanese guy?
Christa: Yeah I went on this one date and the guy spent most of the time on his phone and it was really awkward.
Rebecca: I think because of the language and cultural barrier often conversations can be quite superficial – this or that recommendation of what to do in Japan, or do you like this Japanese food etc. Christa: I feel like I have the same conversation over and over again because my language skills aren’t good enough. Christa: I think that dating isn’t so common among men and women in their late twenties and early thirties.
Chiara: Hmmm there’s a lot of pressure for both sides to get married and establish at least the appearance of a stable family unit as soon as possible. Rebecca: My experience dating foreign guys here has been comparable to back home – so pretty awful actually – but the general picture of foreign guys in Japan is that they really want to date Japanese girls.
Chiara: I have to say compared to back home in Italy, Japanese men help around the house and I was quite surprised by that.
Rebecca: Dating in Japan is just as messy and confusing as it is back home but I’ve been lucky enough to find someone really special here and I think that’s the way it works wherever you are. Chiara: I’m really happy with how my boyfriend and I are learning to collaborate together to make a great relationship so I think if both sides are willing to make it work then it will. A huge thank you goes out to all of the girls who took part in the dating in Japan discussion! Not to burst the bubble but Japanese men and women are deffinately more interested in dating white people than any other race. I’d also say that they are interested in dating White, Black and Hispanic people equally. You seem to have assumed that West Asians looked like East Asians which are both quite different. My husband is Tokyo born and raised and we’ve been married 50 years but I still remember dating.
I’m a 30 year old woman who has been living in Japan for over a year and my dating situation is pretty depressing. I am from Africa and Ghana in particular, I just moved here in japan for 4 months now, and it may be hard to believe but yes I already have a Japanese boyfriend, we meet through internet and decided to go on dates, in the beginning he was shy but i always try to bring on a topic for us to talk, he has never ask me about my background or anything about me it’s only through charting, on our forth date we finally got to hold hands, then he kissed me on our firth date when he sang in a karaoke confession his love for me. Broaching the subject of whether or not your date partakes can be touchy, the website claims.
I'm sure that a lot of girls in New York don't mind dating a dude who smokes weed, but I don't just smoke weed.
It never occurred to me that other people might be in the same predicament until I heard about My420Mate. A few years ago, such a site would have seemed like poor cover for a DEA sting operation, but in a national atmosphere that's warming to weed, My420Mate filters out those who refuse to ride the wave. A few minutes on the site reveals everyone from professional moms and dads to perfect stoner caricatures, complete with dreadlocks.
The best conversation starter I could come up with was the fact that I was writing an article about the experience. It occurred to me that, despite our shared interest in pot, these girls were wary of dudes hitting on them like they would be at any other party.
As I considered how many times I could use the "writing an article" approach, Lozano came over to introduce me to a couple that had met on My420Mate. B is an editor at Edibles List magazine, so she's got a formidable tolerance for pot after testing all those delicious cookies and candies.
I argued for their authenticity, but Z seemed pretty convinced that their relationship was a sham.
Of course there are sites aimed at specific religious or ethnic groups, but there are also those who aim to match couples with very specific interests. That means making a dent as a new player will be harder than ever since many will have to build a database of users from scratch, says IBISWorld analyst Jeremy Edwards.
The biggest web dating companies have a huge lead over the competition—two control more than 40 percent of the market. As ever more people meet on the web, they’re also peeling away the stigma once associated with it. Offering geo-dating apps, which allow smartphone users to locate potential dates nearby--has become almost a prerequisite for keeping up in mobile. Baby Boomers in the 50- to 64-year-old range may be the group attracting the most industry competition, according to IBISWorld. Even as the user base soars, it’s not clear that sites’ algorithms for pairing couples are improving their chances of staying together long term. The top five states in the study include Colorado and Washington, where recreational marijuana has just been legalized. The overlap is noteworthy a€” of the top ten states, marijuana is fully illegal only in Idaho and North Dakota. If AYI's users are any indication, don't be surprised if Alaska's marijuana legalization referendum does well this summer.


Now-engaged couple Justin Lebon and Michal Ott, above, discovered that their paths had crossed several times before. What the now-engaged couple discovered during these conversations was that their paths had crossed several times before. Justin Lebon used this customized Monopoly board game featuring places from their past to propose to Michal Ott.
Throw in some culture shock, the language barrier and a completely different set of rules and you have something like dating in Japan.
But you don’t know if they’re interested in you as a person or because of your foreignness. I invited this guy to my house and I think it was pretty clear what I wanted to happen, and at a certain point I started to kiss him and he said ‘No. She was on a date with a guy and it was going well so at some point she went to kiss him, and he just didn’t move his mouth. I feel that Japanese men scare quite easily and as a foreigner you won’t know exactly what it was that freaked them out. Even my boyfriend who is pretty confident had to wait for a friend of mine to set-up a dinner where we could meet before he could work up the courage to ask me out. It seems that Japanese couples move quickly into relationships, and very early on they’ll talk about marriage and kids. Back home I’m at prime dating age but I wonder about the guys I date here and why they’re not married yet.
I mean I think that people will go on lots and lots of dates, going in and out of relationships over their twenties and kind of assessing what they want before they settle down. Not to say that’s true for every foreign guy here but you do see a lot more couples made up of Japanese girls and non-Japanese guys around.
With Japanese guys you don’t know how much of their behavior is cultural or is actually their personality. I don’t know if it’s true or not but I have heard that there are some Japanese girls who look to specifically date foreign guys because they’re seen as cool or ‘ikemen’. On the way here I saw a couple on a train and the guy was just on his phone, he didn’t even look at his girlfriend once.
They’re also very attentive day to day so I would say that men aren’t as chauvinistic as cultural stereotypes make them out to be. I think it’s a really wonderful chance to learn and grow when you have these cultural differences to share. That aside, I know tons of Philippina girls here who are married to or are currently dating Japanese men.
Despite being relatively fluent in Japanese, the chances of landing a date with Japanese people is low if you don’t live in the big cities. Being a girl, I have a lot of Japanese friends but having male friends is much more difficult. They are not the same thing and you shouldn’t go about trying to get those 2 things in the same way. Japanese guys don’t seem interested in foreign women, and 95% of the foreign guys living here are either already in a long-term relationship or only interested in dating Japanese women. I role my eyes at online blogs saying that how easy it is for white males to meet the female natives here. I think that, because both of us are mature (age wise, anyway!) we were open and honest about our attraction to each other, and we have the patience for each others’ cultures and personal quirks.
Huuum for the past months I have really grown to love this guy, now it’s awkward for me to ask him about his family or anything concerning him. Seattle Hempfest is an annual event for the purpose of educating the public about the benefits of marijuana and advocating for its decriminalization. Louis, Missouri-based entrepreneur Jay Lindberg and his Los Angeles-based counterpart Miguel Lozano came up with the website idea as more states legalized marijuana and online dating services gained in popularity, according to the Riverfront Times.
It encompasses my work, my social life, my exercise and meditation, my meals, my downtime, and pretty much every aspect of my existence.
Apparently there are lots of humans who have attempted online dating only to hit a wall when the question of robust pot use arises. Most of the 11,000 users are in cannabis-legal states like Colorado, Washington, and (pseudo-legal) California, so there weren't many people for me to meet where I live in New York.
The backyard of the venue was packed with groups of guys and girls smoking weed, and the first thing that struck me was the racial diversity of the crowd. That was the concrete reason I gave for starting a conversation with a group of girls who smoked a blunt next to Z and I as we were lighting up a joint. As a guy, I'll never fully understand what it's like to be relen?tlessly hollered at no matter where I go, so I couldn't fault this group of women for being skeptical of my intentions. Jonathan and B found each other in an ocean of stoners after coming up empty on sites like OK Cupid and Plenty of Fish. Just like thousands of people on countless niche dating sites, these two were looking for someone who shared a very specific trait, even if being a pothead is not as readily identifiable as being a sea capt?ain, a clo?wn, or a very t?all person.
The field is already crowded, with almost 3,900 companies running dating sites, according to a report last fall from business research firm IBISWorld. To survive, they’ll need a novel marketing strategy and a focus on untapped potential daters—sites targeting niche markets have higher rates of membership growth, according to the report.
Of 19,000 couples married between 2005 and 2012, more than a third met through an online dating site, according to a study in last May’s Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. In 1970, just 28 percent of American adults were single; today, the share is 47 percent, according to the Census Bureau. In a poll last October by the Pew Research Center, just 21 percent of Internet users agreed with the statement “people who use online dating sites are desperate,” an 8-point drop from the last poll in 2005. That’s not only because of their size but because their Internet use is expanding and they’re more likely to be single than in the past: more than a third of adults that age are unmarried, according to the Census. In the last few weeks, eHarmony has launched a personal matching feature called eh+ that Langston says will combine the company’s huge database with a real-live matchmaker--for $5000 a pop.
A 2012 paper in the journal Psychological Science in the Public Interest concluded that sites “build their algorithms around principles--typically similarity but also complementarity—that are much less important to relationship well-being than has long been assumed.” The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences study reported that marriages that started online were only slightly less likely to end in divorce than others. His work has appeared in print and online at Salon, The American Prospect, Men's Health, The Crime Report, and elsewhere. In both states, 8.9% of AYI's users indicated that they use drugs sometimes or often on their profiles. But the initial inspiration came from a couple he met while bartending at work who told him how they met on the popular dating site. Not only did they both grow up in Fremont, they actually lived on the same street (Norris Road) for several years, and their parents had all attended high school together. Not only did they both grow up in Fremont, they lived on the same street (Norris Road) for several years, and their parents had all attended high school together.


I’ve noticed that if I show a little too much enthusiasm or come across as too independent, that will trigger silence.
And at the same time it’s hard to know, like we were saying earlier, if the guy is interested in you mostly because you’re foreign and the kind of status that that brings with it. I see that often, these really attractive couples who don’t have much in common and they maybe go on to get married and have a family because of the social pressure. As a person from a west Asian country, they really don’t even go beyond aquaintance stage. So, they are not at all acclimatized with things beyond their daily experience and I can’t blame them.
Also, if you are a male foreigner, you stand a better change of landing a significant other. Don’t take my questions as rude, because that’s not my intention, but are you putting yourself in situations that increase your chances of meeting someone? They seem to have tunnel vision and have zero interest in getting to know the foreign women in their area. Most people have no idea how life really is in Japan and how secluded and isolated the people have become. When you’re young and inexperienced, everything is magnified and more dramatic and sometimes scary. Dating sites match you with people based on all sorts of par?ameters, but none of them directly use pot preference as a factor, though OK Cupid does include it as a question in their match meth?odology. As chance had it, I was in Los Angeles last week and learned of a singles mixer co-sponsored by My420Mate in Hollywood.
At cannabis events in New York, Denver, and elsewhere, I'm usually the only brown guy in a sea of white, but here there was an even mix of colors mingling freely.
Perhaps online dating works so well because it cuts out in-person flirtation tactics and encapsulates everyone into the same-page format, forcing douchebags to flaunt self-aggrandizing photos and inarticulate bios, while allowing introverts to present themselves without the daunting task of starting a conversation. Rather than the usual song and dance--open with a joke, drop a compliment, ask a meaningful question--Jonathan just asked B, "Wanna smoke a blunt?" After a cup of coffee in a public place so that B could confirm Jonathan wasn't a psychopath, they smoked the proposed blunt. Still, I'd like to think that B and Jonathan genuinely found each other through weed, and that others will follow.
Target marketing, changing demographics, and decreasing stigma about online dating are continually bringing new users to fore.
The report projects the industry to add about a hundred companies per year over the next four years. Last December, more than 1 in 10 American adults visited dating sites, spending more than an hour a day there on average, according to Market research company Nielsen. That means an expanding target market, and it doesn’t include the unknown number of married people trolling the sites.
Disapproval has gotten especially rare among 20-somethings, who grew up with web dating as the norm, says eHarmony spokesman Grant Langston. And by 2018, more than 80 percent of the population will own a smartphone up from 46 percent in 2012, according to IBISWorld.
And in May 2012, IAC launched Stir, which holds about 1,600 singles events per year nationwide. But after they said goodbye and he messaged her saying he wanted to see her again so there’s obviously some kind of cultural dislocate there. That is unless you’re interested in hanging out in gaijin bars and talking to the same 20 or so English speaking girls that hang out there every month.
Despite Philipines being in South East Asia, they look completely different from Indians or Pakistani people and this region is abundant with diversity. After all, if there's one thing we've seen in this new age of cannabis, it's that there are a?ll kinds of smokers. My ultimate goal in attending this party was to see what kind of people are on the stoner dating scene, and to achieve this, I had to appear eager to meet potential 420 mates even though I had no intention of actually starting a relationship with someone in LA. I asked her how she had heard about the party (part of my journalistic research, naturally) and she said she had no idea it was a singles mixer for stoners. That ended in a divorce, and since then, she hadn't met anyone who was cool with her substantial cannabis consumption until My420Mate linked her with Jonathan. Plus, more people are getting online all the time—70 percent American adults had broadband access as of last May, up from 42 percent in 2006. Langston says that for eHarmony, that’s meant users are checking in more often—six to twelve times a day instead of two or three.
Even within the restrictions of technology -- "We must've just generally liked each other's mediocre photos and awkward 'about me' humor," Ott joked -- they clicked. The only reason if a Japanese guy asked me or a few of my friends to even hang out was only because he wanted to learn English. Guys in smaller cities aren’t accustomed to interacting with foreigners so are more likely to be scared of us and avoid us completely. Honestly, most Japanese girls enjoy living with their families and don’t have a strong desire to move out and even do things for themselves like cook.
So I dated a lot of foreign guys, but my relationships didn’t work out for various reasons. They seem like a great couple." Z, who had been quietly listening in to our conversation, squinted cynically and said, "Those two are totally not dating. And after their first date at the First Street Ale House in Livermore, they were inseparable."Michal is hilarious, so I remember laughing the whole time," Lebon said of their first date. Most of my foreign female friends are in the same boat, the few who do have Japanese boyfriends are fluent in Japanese which seems to make a big difference. I offered her a hit but remembered to disclaim the fact that there was a little bit of tobacco in it.
You’re competing with every other asian girl living in the country and so the conversation aspect becomes far more important. Unspoken language is just as important, if not more so, than spoken language in theses situations. It’s pretty sad when you come to Japan to have your dreams crushed once you are faced with the realization of how life and their people really are here. She wrinkled her nose and said, "No thanks." I had crossed a cultural line in this foreign land.
I guess they’re not used to women taking the lead when it comes to kissing, holding hands, etc.
I watched them engage in silent communication using only slight eye and head movements for about ten seconds before they said, "We're going to get a drink," almost in unison.



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