On Saturday night, in Tokyo living a Travelife, I went out on a double date to a Michelin-starred Italian restaurant called Faro in Ginza.
I wasn't actually going to call this a "double date," but rather a dinner with friends.
But my friend Y, who was the 2nd girl in our foursome and who picked the restaurant and did the reservations, already put it on her Facebook as a double date, so I thought I may as well follow suit.
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It was my first time at Faro.
I let the three of them plan it among themselves as I was out of Tokyo and incredibly busy last week, with my never-ending Travelife.
Besides, I was happy to go anywhere as I just wanted to catch up with friends I hadn't seen in a long time and have some fun.
IN RITZY GINZA
It's a very lovely restaurant with huge picture windows and great art on the walls.
The food was good, too.
The best part was dessert, as it was an entire cart of goodies. We could choose as many desserts as we wanted.
I think I chose six desserts and ate everything.
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THE BEST PART WAS THE COMPANY
As my friend Y said in her Facebook status update, though, the best part was the company.
We four had a really good time, and quite an intriguing discussion about many things.
When Y isn't traveling around the world like me, she's actually matching people up for marriage! Yes, she's a professional matchmaker with a success rate of about 25% -- which sounds pretty good to me.
Of course, we were all interested in her insights into marriage and relationships -- and the business of marriage.
PREREQUISITES FOR A MATCH-UP
For her to actually start matching someone up, she asks for their income tax returns, company IDs, school diplomas and other documents to prove that they really are who they say they are.
We were all very surprised by this.
One of the guys said: "I don't know if I could even find my school diploma now." Tough luck then, if he wanted to get matched, as Y won't match him without the proper documentation.
GETTING TO KNOW EACH OTHER
It makes perfect sense, though, especially in a large city like Tokyo where people don't know each other at all. You really need proof that you went to a certain school, or that you even work in a certain company.
Who's to stop you from saying you went to Harvard, for example, if you don't need a diploma to prove it?
THE BUSINESS OF MONEY
Income is a big deal in marriage broking, as well. Most people in marriage negotiations don't even blink when asking the other person how much they earn each year.
So every marriage broker in Japan will indeed ask a person for their tax returns as proof that they're earning XXX amount.
All so very interesting, don't you think? Especially if you come from a culture where love is supposedly all that matters.
SOME GUYS ARE REALLY IN DEMAND
Then, someone wanted to know: "What are the professions in demand these days, among the women?"
Y replied: "Everyone wants to marry a lawyer or a doctor. The women want men with certification or a stable, independent profession that assures them that their prospects will always have work. They don't want people in the finance industry anymore because they think the finance industry is so unstable."
I looked across the table, very amusedly, at the two guys seated across me -- both of whom are CEOs of two of the most recognizable names in the global financial industry.
Basically, a lawyer or a doctor would get priority over them.
To add insult to injury, although I'm sure it wasn't on purpose, Y said: "Women also want guys in the sciences because they see this as stable. Even a chemist will do."
I really laughed with that one.
HOW TO GET A GUY IN THREE MONTHS
Then I said: "So now we know what women like. But how do you help the women actually get the guy?"
It is very easy, after all, to think about the kind of guy you like. But to get the guy to like you -- and to get them to propose marriage -- is an entirely different matter all together.
Y said: "In my experience, the dating process is about three months. After three months, the couple should know whether they are serious with each other or not."
My jaw dropped open.
Of course, this is Japan, though, where marriage is still a business of sorts and marriage brokering is a legitimate profession.
GETTING TO THE SECOND DATE
Y added: "And I always advise them on the first date: Don't talk about money if you want to get a second date. It's okay for the marriage broker to bring this up, but not for the girl herself. At least not for a while."
I was thinking more like "never" actually, instead of "at least not for a while." And if you're thinking that my jaw was still open for the rest of this conversation, you're guessing right.
It truly is a never-endingly eventful Travelife, even on a happy Saturday night dinner in Ginza.
PS: Photos taken from my friend Y's Facebook Page since I forgot to put my SD card into my camera before clicking away....
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