How can you tell if a girl/guy likes you in a country where ‘yes’ can mean ‘no’?
Or read peoples’ emotions where pretty much no-one wears their heart on their sleeve?
And how do you interact with a nation of shy people who always seem to have their head down and nose buried in a book/iphone game?
Fear not, scratch your head in bewilderment no longer – as myself, Grace (famous for her “My Japanese Husband Thinks I’m Crazy” story) and Martin of Asian Dating Monthly have put our heads together and distilled our combined two decades of Japanese dating experience to bring you these top tips, which will help you navigate the seas of romance in Japan.
Brooklyn-based Vice correspondent Simon Ostrovsky traveled to Akihabara, a bustling district in Tokyo, to explore the sexual exploitation of young women as a part of Vice News' short documentary entitled Schoolgirls for Sale in Japan, and soon discovered that teen girls were readily available to 'rent' for a variety of services, including fortune telling, massages, and walks with clients. In the video, Simon is visibly uncomfortable as the girl giggles and reads his 'fortune' using a birthday dictionary.
Innocence lost: Vice News host Simon Ostrovsky (left) spoke with an anonymous Japanese woman (right) who revealed that going on 'walking dates' with men as a teen quickly escalated into underage prostitution She never had to dress up for the dates because her clients preferred young, fresh-faced school girls; in fact the plaid skirt and knee socks she wore on the walks wasn't a carefully chosen ensemble; it was what she wore to high school as an 11th grade student.'The strange thing is that a lot of people look at Japanese culture and think this is all role playing,' Simon said. When Simon asked what her other clients typically wanted to talk about during these sessions, and she remained vague, saying: 'Whatever's fun'.'That was the most awkward thing I have ever done in my life I think,' Simon told Daily Mail Online.
Some years later, on her first day of senior high school, she was groped on the commute home.
After that, the groping and sexual assaults - men would often stick their hands inside her underwear - became a regular occurrence as she made her way to or from school in her uniform.
She recalls feeling shocked and physically sickened.
When she reached home, she repeatedly washed the spot where he had pressed himself against her, although she was conscious of not spending too long in the toilet, in case her family noticed that something was wrong.
Besides, her parents had never spoken to her about such things and how she ought to handle them. Today, Ogawa, a writer and cofounder of Press Labo, a small digital content production company in Shimokitazawa, an inner-city Tokyo neighbourhood, often writes about Japan's gender inequality and sexual violence issues.
In 2015, she began writing about the country's long-standing problem with groping - or chikan, in Japanese - often experienced by schoolgirls on public transportation.
Many victims stay silent, unable to talk about their experiences in a society which, by many accounts, trivialises this phenomenon.