Saturday, January 14, 2012

Party for singles

Thank god I am through all this, but Goukon (合コン)is a huge deal for any aspiring single in Japan. Especially this time of the year (year end and beginning) is also the time when you have good excuse to arrange such parties.

Gokon is a slang word, originally meaning party but has taken closer meaning of speed dating dinner lately. Usually, it starts with one or few people wanting to have such party. More participants are 'recruited' using their connections. It's absolutely OK even if most of the participants don't know each other. In fact, that is even better. Also it's common sense to keep the sex ratio of participants to 1:1 and typically size of the party is from 4 to 10 participants. At one of the Japanese client's place I worked for, there was a roster for desiring participants and during any party there have to be at least 2-3 'outsiders'.

Even the restaurants in Japan are also customized to suit the atmosphere of Gokon. From menu to even interiors. Gokon is arranged in Izakaya (Japanese style drinking bars) or any typical restaurants meant for Gokon. If you haven't been to any Gokon, note that it's dutch and girls usually pay lesser portion. Also if you imagine that since it is kind of 'date' the restaurant atmosphere will be calm and romantic, you are mistaken. Although it is a kind of date, Gokons rarely take place in such restaurants. Unless of course it is matter of 4 people participating in. Usually, it takes place in not too noisy but not too romantic restaurants.

Some of the keywords you will hear often in this context are
Sakura: Yes it's a flower name. But in Gokon context it means a decoy. It's person brought in, just to fill up the place or make sex ratio even. He or she may not be interested in the Gokon or even may be married already. Sometimes it's kind of unsaid favor made to the inviting person because they could not fill the spot and Gokon itself may not take place without it. I have done it few times.

Kanji (幹事): It is not the word for Japanese script but means someone who arranges everything about the party; an organizer or manager in a sense. He looks after everything from choosing the restaurant, notifying everyone to seeing that everyone pays.

What happens at the dinner time itself is similar to typical dinner date. Girls and boys introduce each other and then afterwards it is you and your mingling skill. But iPhone Apps are assisting in everything these days.

本音サーチャー Honne Search (Real Voice/Intention) : It 'analyzes' the real intention behind your voice when you speak to it.

合コン勘定 Gokon kanjo: Easy calculator which considers how much more you charge to seniors or how less you charge to female participants.

If you get a chance to get invited, do enjoy the romantic side of Japan! Who knows, you may even find your soul mate!!