Acknowledging that the fine art of hitting on girls is already widely covered on the web, I assembled some ruminations regarding specifically hitting on Japanese girls. As females, many of the same rules of the game apply; however, as Japanese females, I've noted some fascinating cultural differences--many of which may serve as springboards for dating, relationships, and love. As a non-Japanese you have a distinct advantage in that you can play a deck of cards that Japanese men cannot. Here are a few of those magic cards.
The Foreigner With a Question
Be the slightly-confused foreigner with a legitimate question regarding Japanese language or culture. This country is a wild and curious place bursting with mysterious wonders. It's so very new to foreign you, and a bit confusing. Don't use Google to quench your curiosity! The only conceivable resource available that could accurately answer your question regarding a nearby hipster bar recommendation or proper kanji stroke order is that gorgeous Japanese woman standing over there. Being Japanese makes her an expert on her own language and culture; and being gorgeous makes her an enchanting ambassador candidate--a fatal combination of brains and brawn.
It's important not to come across as needy when doing this, so don't overdo it. Neediness is not manliness, and it will just end up annoying the poor girl. Instead, milk your foreign-ness for all the conversational sparking power it can muster. Not being Japanese makes you a charming man of mirthful mystery--like a James Bond that retired from spy adventures, and now teaches English conversation and speaks broken Japanese.
What's Your Kanji?
Yeah, it sounds similar to the cheesy "what's your sign" line, but I can't tell you how many times this simple question has sparked lengthy and juicy conversations rife with laughter as well as tears (of joy). People--and that certainly includes Japanese people--love talking about themselves, and what better way to start than to ask about their name.
* What's your name's kanji mean? (even if you already know more kanji than she does)
* Do you like it?
* How did your parents choose it?
* Doesn't your name mean "above the rice field mountain river village of fish origins?"
* Oh, it looks like a kanji I just studied the other day in my dreams. You were there too. (NOTE: Don't use this one.)
* I'd like to meet your parents and discuss your name's kanji with them. (NOTE: Don't use this one either.)
Why? Because if the girl speaks English back to you, you're golden. Perhaps she studied abroad for a time or is currently in the midst of fervent language studies. You just might be the Prince Charming language partner of her dreams, which in time can bloom into language "lover." English serves as an acid test for a Japanese girl's level of interest in non-Japanese dudes. If you speak other languages, bust those out as well. Perhaps she adores Korean language and culture (which is all the rage right now), and you just happen to be a lovable Korean dude.
If you meet resistance coupled with a deer-in-the-headlights look off the bat, then by all means switch to Japanese. You can't expect all Japanese girls to be into non-Japanese guys, but it makes sense that those girls most interested in foreign languages and cultures will be those you have the best chance with.
"Ippatsuya" translates to "one-hit wonder" or "one-trick donkey." These are comedy bits you see on Japanese TV that last a couple months or so, essentially stupid one-shot punchlines.
Step 1: Figure out what the current trendy one is.
Step 2: Drink plenty of alcohol. Buy me some too.
Step 3: Approach random cute girl and bust out the 一発屋.
Step 4: Watch as love blossoms.
This procedure could also end with you going horribly down in flames, but at least you get a memorable story out of it.
Talk About Food.
Turn on the TV, and you'll see that just about every show involves food to some degree. As TV serves as cultural looking glass, I peer into a culture obsessed with food in a way I'll never fully comprehend. Every country loves food, but Japan never shuts up about it. Food makes for a light, safe, and surprisingly vibrant getting-to-know-you conversation topic with a Japanese girl.
* What food do you like?
* What food do you not like?
* What's your favorite food?
* What food would you say is your favorite?
* What are your thoughts on food?
* What food are you thinking about right now?
* When you look at me, do you think of food?
* おいしい！ (NOTE: Do not point at her breasts while saying this.)
Fascinating conversation follows. Guaranteed.
Oh, hell yeah to this one. Let that cute girl on the elevator first. Open the door for her, followed by a flirtatious wink. She'll coyly giggle in an appetizer of embarrassment and confusion, followed by a succulent dessert of seductive magnetism. Perhaps it's not that powerful, but it's one of those things that non-Japanese guys can pull-off far more successfully than Japanese guys can. Keep chivalry alive, bro.
Fishing Off the Company Pier is OK.
Although it's taboo in my home country, it apparently does not carry the same stigma here in Japan. Coworkers date each other. They get married. After they get married, one of them often quits the job (so there's that too). I've seen it happen a lot, far more than I've seen it in my home country. Japanese people do it all the time, so "when in Rome..." right?
Getting acquainted with a coworker occurs far more naturally and leisurely than it does for a total stranger. A setting complete with a buffet of conversational topics has already been established, so building rapport flows more smoothly and gradually. It's not really necessary to stalk the girl as you normally would since she's in the same building day-in and day-out. How convenient!
2 bits of advice if you're going to work the company pier angle:
* Avoid immediate coworkers. If you're in the accounting department, don't hit on the fellow accountant sitting next to you. Hit on someone in a totally different department, preferably someone you don't really work together with in another building. This way you better separate business and pleasure, and avoid potential complications down the road.
* Start with gatherings. Maybe you enjoy hanging out with your coworkers, but you can't imagine dating one--especially if your coworkers are all balding Japanese guys. Organize a gathering or even a Japanese-style "gokon" to meet others outside your work circle. It's far easier hitting on girls that colleagues introduce you to, as opposed to drunkenly approaching a random stranger.
Japanese girls are often tragically accused of being boring as hell. While I'm periodically inclined to agree when in a half-to-full drunken state, I find this a bit unfair, as it's dangerous to typify an entire culture and ignore individual differences. What's labeled as being boring is actually a combination of shyness, varying social skills, and divergent cultural protocol. Don't expect a Japanese girl to be an aggressive driver of captivating discussion. Contemplating my tips above, take it upon yourself to sew up cultural fissures with your very own version of the universal language of love.
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