Before I even got to Tokyo this year, I was really worried that I would be bored or lonely during the transition period, before I found work and signed up for classes. So I was looking for ways to fill my time in those early days.
And one of those things…was entering a dating contest.
I can explain.
This contest was posted two years ago on a popular otaku website in the hopes of finding one of the staff a girlfriend. I was very familiar with this website, not just because I’m a nerd, but because my editor would occasionally ask me to write stories about those kinds of things in Japan. So this otaku-focused website was a good resource.
Anyway, the contest, as I said, was originally posted two years ago. But then about a year ago, an update was posted about him actually going on a date and how that went for him. It was interesting that someone actually responded to the post in the first place. So I thought, “Oh, maybe they’re still doing that contest?”
And then I had a moment of weakness. I was thinking, my god, should I just embrace my otaku tendencies? Should I stop caring about being cool? Could I be happy living the rest of my life with an outrageously geeky geek??!!
And in that moment of weakness, I hit SEND.
When he actually did get back to me, I was really surprised. Long story short, we made plans to go to Fuglen in Tomigaya. It’s near to the park so we could go for a walk afterwards. I used to live in this area so I already knew this was a genius plan.
PS – I’m having problems with the media and it won’t let me orient landscape, so here is an awkward sideways photo of a paper cup.
When I first saw him, my first thought was: “This person does not look at ALL like his photo.”
First of all, his hair was dyed blond, but obviously a home dye job. He was also way shorter, thinner, younger and smaller than he looked in those old photos. I want to say, he looked like the kid version of his photos. It was strange.
Secondly, he didn’t even buy me a coffee? What kind of contest is this?
I know that in Japan, paying your own way on dates is normal all the time. But I know that he knows that I’m from Canada, and I know that he knows that in North America, the guy always pays for the girl on the first date!
It was not off to to good start. I was still reeling from all these realizations, and couldn’t think of anything to say. I started to think this was a horrible mistake. Maybe I should just leave through the other door AFTER I BUY MY OWN COFFEE??? (Fuglen has two escapes…I mean entrances. Another reason it’s perfect for first dates).
I didn’t though, because I am too timid to do something like that. So I came back and sat down and I can’t remember what we talked about. In broken English and Japanese, I asked about work and anime and music.
The day before or so, I had picked up this ili translator to borrow, because I thought it would help me. But it turns out it’s not very useful outside of tourist situations. It doesn’t know what a fountain is and you can’t ask student-ish questions like, “How’s my pronunciation?” (I actually did try that lol). So I ended up not using it much.
LOL. Now that I’m posting up these pictures I’m like remembering how I asked him to help me take these. He probably thought I was such a weirdo.
Anyway, we didn’t really have anything in common, and he was also not interested in helping me to learn Japanese AT ALL.
Don’t get me wrong, I had a lot of fun regardless, and I don’t regret entering the contest.
But…I still asked him not to post anything about it on the English website, and I still feel paranoid when I wear this coat in Tokyo (in case one of the readers recognizes me). Which is hilarious.