First Dates: What to Expect, What Not to Expect

Now that you’ve asked her out and got a few good ideas about where to go and what to do on your first date let’s take a look at what to expect and what not to expect on a first date. Dating Japanese girls can be a bit of a mystery because of cultural differences in etiquette and especially when it comes to dating behavior. This list of expectations and some Do’s and Dont’s will help you expect the unexpected and make a good impression on your first date.

Beautiful Japanese girl

Beautiful Japanese girl

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1 – she might be really shy

2 – you both might feel nervous

3 – oohs ahhhs and giggles

4 – ask lots of questions

5 – answer lots of questions

6 – some strange or unusual questions (blood type)

7 – expect to pay

8 – sitting side by side

9 – holding hands


1 – to kiss

2 – to drink

3 – to ask her to come home with you

4 – deep personal questions

5 – Tell her that you love her

A Closer Look 

Let’s take a look at these and try to understand the cultural background that might lead to these type of situations to help you figure out what to expect. Being prepared for these kind of situations will give you a big advantage when it comes to impressing your date and greatly improve your chances for a second and third date in the future.

Japanese girls learn from an early age that being shy or coy is a really attractive attribute. They are bombarded with images in cartoons, especially manga and anime love stories, in which a shy girl is swept away by feelings of love. Often, this character doesn’t know how to handle her feelings and so she keeps them to herself. She doesn’t know how to express her love to a guy, let alone show it. These first-love type stories are extremely popular among Japanese girls and really influence their ideas about dating.

manga love

First Love Manga

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As a result, on the first date a Japanese girl might be even more shy than she naturally is. This could be an intentional strategy to draw you in. It could be to give a sense of mystery, it could be genuine shyness, or it might be in order to reinforce an aura of innocence. Japanese girls tend to behave very innocently. There is a huge prejudice in Japanese society about flirty girls, or girls who date a lot. This goes far beyond the terrible moniker of ‘slut’ or ‘easy girl’ that Japanese girls, well, really any girls, want to avoid at all costs. Japanese girls will likely want to appear very innocent and childlike by Western standards. This is considered an attractive quality by most Japanese men and so many Japanese girls emulate this character intentionally.

Japanese girls also have excellent manners. Part of this is a cultural bias towards a respectful personality. Being respectful in Japanese means agreeing a lot with your conversation partner and being very hesitant to express any contradictions. So be aware about this point because if your date expresses even a little bit of hesitation when you ask her about something, it may be too personal, or she might be expressing dissatisfaction with the point you are trying to make. Don’t get too caught up about this though, with a little bit of practice you can learn to read the more subtle signs.

Since she is brought up to be respectful and mind her manners, this goes for you too. Do your best to remember be a gentleman on you date, Japanese girls will notice. These means opening doors for her, engaging in polite conversation, being polite to sales staff, and probably paying, at least for your first date. Of course, this means that when you are planning your date, don’t be too extravagant or showy by planning something outside of your budget. You can find lots of tips for first dates for all budget ranges on this site.

Japanese girls like to sit side by side on dates. So, if you are going somewhere like a movie theater, or an amusement park, these are perfect excuses to get close to each other. Of course in a cafe you will probably sit across from her, but if you have the opportunity to go for dinner or lunch somewhere casual why not try and make the move to sit beside her. Then you can continue the conversation in a more intimate way. There is also a chance that after dinner or over desert you could linger at the restaurant and maybe hold hands under the table.

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Side-by-Side Couple

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Another opportunity to sit side by side on a date would be to go for a drive. This might sound like a strange idea to many Western men, but Japanese girls actually really love to go for a drive. Of course, driving around a city stuck in traffic looking for parking spots is not the ideal romantic setting for this kind of drive. Instead, a drive in the countryside or through some rural farms might be an ideal way to spend the afternoon together. Here, make sure you focus on conversation and maybe play some relaxing music. Don’t play it too loud to prevent any conversation from building. Maybe choose something relaxing like classical or jazz to show her your more cultured side. You could even include a picnic on this scenic drive if you want to bring your a-game.


Romantic Drive

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Like all first dates, this is an opportunity for you to get to know each other in a casual setting. There will be lots of questions both ways, It is important to be honest with her but not to dwell on negative experiences. Also, avoid any conversations that might seem overly personal on a first date, like serious family questions or questions about exes. Those are serous non-starters. Whatever questions she asks or whatever questions you might ask make sure to pay attention and let her know that you really care.

You should expect that a few unusual questions might come up on your first date due to some cultural differences. The most common of these would have to about your blood type. In Japan, absolutely everyone is aware of the blood type. This is because there are a multitude of dating services and advice columns in Japan related to blood type matches. People really believe that blood type plays an important and significant role in compatibility. If you don’t know your blood type, there isn’t any need to rush out and get it tested before your first date. Instead, explain to her that this isn’t common knowledge where you are from. You could ask about hers and then ask her to explain what it means in Japan. This will certainly provide for some interesting cross-cultural communication.


Blood Type Fortunes

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Still, don’t believe it? Watch this short video (in Japanese) about the different blood types trying to get along.

Speaking of cross-cultural situations, what is an appropriate way to express your affection on a first date? There are other articles on this site that you can read that will help explain how to express affection verbally in Japanese, and how the word for love is slightly different. Here I want to talk about body language on a first date and how far you can expect to get with a Japanese girl on your first date. Realistically speaking, you should set any expectations quite low. Most Japanese girls won’t do anything but hold on hands on a first date. If you are extremely suave you might be in for a good night kiss, but don’t push your luck. There is no need to be disheartened though, holding hands in public is a big step for Japanese girls. If you extend your hand and she takes it, things are looking good. Similarly, if she reaches towards you, don’t miss your chance. If your date goes well, and you end up holding hands, there is a good chance that you will be heading to second date territory with this girl.

Next in this series of articles on first dates I’ll fill you in on some more tips to read the signs and see if she is really into you. Japanese girls can appear a little bit shy at first, and couple that with an already reserved culture, it can be tough to figure out what your date thinks about you. But don’t worry, we’ve got it covered and I’ll fill you in on the top dating tips and give you some post-date evaluation skills.


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