Almost all of my conversations went like this: Out of all of these matches I made, I was only successful in meeting two girls in person and just to give you an idea of low the response rate was to my messages, check out my inbox and see for youself: There are many different reasons as to why this could be, but from what I already know, this is a well-known general Tinder issue. Users match with each other on Tinder for almost zero reason other than liking your profile picture. At the time of that swipe, no real thought of meeting and therefore no real thought of compatibility took place.
I was able to finally exchange messages with some girls, but it was no use. It was nice to finally have some conversation and honestly, these girls were very attractive too. Sadly though, nothing materialized into an actual real life date and I then found myself frustrated with dead end conversations. Tinder is a pretty vague app these days. After wasting months subtly pursuing a guy at work only to discover he had a girlfriend, I quit the Japanese way — and bento making, also described by my friends as a boyfriend magnet in Japan.
I was new to the online dating scene and a little hesitant at first. After a particularly gloomy weekend, I decided that some no strings attached action sounded a lot better than no action at all. I joined Japan Cupid, a dating website and started combing through profiles of creeps, charisma men and thankfully, potentially interesting Japanese guys. To my surprise, I got a lot of attention, especially from the ever so shy and elusive Japanese guys. Hidden behind their computer screens, they could now safely approach me.
Most were also pretty international, could speak English and were looking for a chance to meet non-Japanese people. Most first dates were a bit nerve-wracking, as you are after all meeting a complete stranger or potential psychopath, but getting to know each other was quite easy. If conversation topics ran out, we could always talk about life in Japan or abroad, or worse case scenario, how good I was at using chopsticks.
People started moving away from anonymous Japanese social-media mainstay Mixi and toward Facebook, which requires the use of real names. Japanese dating apps started requiring logins through Facebook, providing users with a certain degree of confidence. I would reply once, she would reply the day after. Jun Nishikawa, chief operating officer of Eureka, the dating services company that operates Pairs, has a theory about why that is.
We are busy, working. Their standards are high. Twenty-five women from Kyoto and Okayama message me in the weeks that I am registered on Pairs. Their ages range from 20 to 44, with most in their mid to late 20s. In general, they are friendly and eager to chat about common interests in books, movies, languages, or travel. But all are reluctant to Skype or meet in person. She tells me she hopes to get to know people gradually, starting as friends. Fumi-san, an outdoorsy year-old college student in Kyoto, is warmer.
We chat about her interest in foreign languages and cultures—she studies English, and once spent a week traveling alone in Taiwan. I think the number of users will continue to grow, and using the web as a tool for men and women to meet is good. This seems like an opening. Maybe I will finally be able to move to the next stage: So I respond—typing on the tatami mat bedroom floor of my ryokan, or Japanese inn—suggesting we get together to talk, since I am in her city.
Internet dating in America is faster.
Looking for Love in Japan: Top Online Dating Apps in Japan
Looking for Love: The Trials and Tribulations of Online Dating in Japan
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