🔖 4 min read

Dating a Japanese person can bring sensitive situations. Whether it’s viewed around dating etiquette, manners, and activities; it’s safe to say that Japan possesses a unique dating culture. This dating culture must be kept in mind when dating a Japanese person to fully grasp expectations and understanding.

Make sure that everything goes smoothly on your date with your potential partner with these 7 Tips for avoiding awkwardness.

1. Don’t be late!

So you’re about to have your first date with your Japanese date, here’s the first tip, be punctual, secondly, be punctual. 

If you’ve ever been to Japan, you’ll see that everything and everyone is bang on time.
The trains are never late, people get to work on time, the post arrives when it’s supposed to arrive (Crazy isn’t it? – or what we should expect -_-).

This behaviour stems from a Japanese mindset called “KIKUBARI” 気配り.
Directly translating to English is – Attentive,

but in real life, it plays out as – ‘Being aware of others’ or ‘Being mindful of things other than yourself’.

So, when dating a Japanese person, if you’re late… it may appear as if you don’t have respect for their time! Hima ga nai zou!

Guy using phone in cafe

2. They’re not the Ambassador of Japan!

Do remember, that your dear date was born and raised in Japan but they don’t represent it.
Too often have we overheard westerners (and Easterners) on a date with a Japanese person and
question after question is related to Japan! – Give it a rest, they’re a person, not a Japan Encyclopedia!

Don’t get me wrong, it’s perfectly OK to have a healthy interest in your date’s culture and visa-versa. But, it’s about balance! Would you really be dating this person if they were not Japanese?

Dating a Japanese person shouldn’t just be about the fact that they are Japanese!

Japan Ambassador

3. Find out their story! Any mutual interests?

Become aware of who you’re dating. They’re a person who has left their home country, travelled to the other side of the world to live or study in a foreign land, away from family, friends, and everything that they previously knew.

Isn’t that amazing? They’re an adventurer!

You could ask  –

– Why did you decide to leave Japan?
– What did you choose to come here?
– How does it feel to have such a life-changing experience?.

I could go on and on.

Looking outside of a plane

4. Let them in on the local English Expressions

We’ve witnessed many conversations between Westerners and Japanese where certain English phrases go right over their heads!
Believe me, in Japanese English classes they don’t teach students to use “Pop to the Loo” when referencing using the restroom!

So, when dating a Japanese person make sure that you’re mindful of your date’s response (Or lack of response) to what you’re saying.

We’ve had hours and hours of conversations on different English expressions that don’t make it to the Oxford English dictionary.

Quoting a passing conversation – highlighting English expressions in red:

Me: “I totally left it to his discretion, I wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt.
Japanese Guy: ..Yes, hmm it’s a benefit?”
Me: “Right? because at the end of the day it’s not as if it’d cross their mind
Japanese Guy: “Cross their mind? They are cross with you?”
Me: “Hmm Cross? Angry? no…. Oh “Cross their mind” is an English expression”
Japanese Guy “Ehhh really?”

Simple expressions that we take for granted have hours of conversation packed inside.

5. Relate your story!

Sadly, most people are quite boring. This can be your advantage!
Why are you interested in Japan? or dating outside of your race?
There’s a rich story of your life that you can tell.

Relate some of your private or intimate details, this shows your date that you’re willing to trust them – and trust leads to LURRRVE.

The greatest thing about relating your story is that you may find that you and your Japanese date may have many things in common!

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6. Keep it Local. Show them the ‘local’ spots!

The keyword here is local, as much as you may enjoy Japanese restaurants, gardens, or spots in London…well let’s just say they probably won’t appreciate it as much as you. Usually, your Japanese date won’t be familiar with the ropes of your city yet…
This is your opportunity to show them around, even more, date opportunities!

If it’s London, most people see the Touristy spots – Big Ben, London Eye, Tower of London, Oxford Circus.

How about you show them the local spots that we locals go to?
Or, the quiet Coffee Shops on Brick Lane? Dinner in the restaurant hidden in the Hoxton Hotel – that’s Old Street! Where’s your local Chippy – perfect British experience right there!

Top Golf and Hoxton Hotel

7. Don’t be “KY” – Read the situation!

K-Y is a Japanese slang expression, It stands for “Kuuki-Yomenai” or “Can’t read the Wind”
A better explanation would be ‘Can’t Read the Atmosphere/Environment/Situation’.

This one may go back to KIKUBARI that we spoke about earlier, though I feel this one encompasses more.  A person who cannot read the situation can find themselves in awkward scenarios.

We’ve witnessed a date between a Western man and a Japanese Woman.
The Japanese woman received a phone call with some distressing news, which sounded like she needed to leave and deal with her situation.

Being polite, she said it was ‘OK’, and the man continued to talk about his trip to Kyoto.
Her body language was painfully obvious – Crossed Arms, Tapping Feet, Looking at her watch, Checking Her Phone, Looking distant…

Very painful to witness.

It took her 30 minutes of her not saying anything for him to ask “Are you alright?” >.<
She politely said told him she may have to go, apologising profusely.

Kuuki yonde kudasai yo!

Although this is also universal to dating – we’ve found in Japanese culture and especially when dating a Japanese person that it’s not nice to be rude.
Though, it may be ruder to not allow someone to be rude! (Haha complicated huh?)

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