A girl alone in Shinjuku

Nanpa / ナンパ / a.k.a Nampa…

No, it is not City of Nampa in Idaho ~

We are talking about an interesting dating trend in Japan!

One of the most exciting experiences for young ladies (like me) when traveling, is having an unexpected handsome prince coming out of nowhere on a rainy day to help you look at the map.

Romantic encounter in a foreign country can make the trip memorable, and also a sensational topic for girlfriends’ afternoon tea conversation. However, do you ever think about how people in other cultures try to find their random romantic fling?

This ‘discovery’ of Nanpa was made when J and I were walking along the streets of Tokyo….

A girl with brown, shoulder length curly hair, wearing a navy blue dress with flowery patterns was walking in front of us. Mr. J. started staring at that girl, to the point that I gave him the “death glare.” Sensing the evil presence from his left shoulder, he asked “What?”

“Why you looking at her like that?” I asked

“She is pretty….dude the way she dresses with that hair style, I think many guys would….”

Before Mr. J could finish his sentence, a random guy who was standing on the side of the street started walking alongside the girl and chattering with her.

“Her boyfriend?” we wondered…But after a minute, the guy walked away. We were puzzled.

Then after half a block, another guy who was standing around, randomly walked to the girl and started talking to her…

This guy seems to have no luck either, because after a minute he went back to his post…

After 5 blocks of trailing her (yes, yes, yes, we were being semi-stalker-ish) , we saw about 4 guys walked up to her and talked to her, yet no one was able to get what they wanted…. (mind you those guys did not approach us …)

With a lot of question and exclamation marks in mind, Mr. J decided it was time to ask his Japanese friend about this weird encounter.

His friend listened to our story, and finally we asked the question “Is this normal in Japan??”

His friend laughed, and tilted his head. “Well, what you saw was probably Nanpa” he answered.

“Nanpa is when a guy asks a random pretty girl on the street to go out with him. He will take her to eat, to have fun, and do lots of thing….” The friend explained “But, since the guy usually pays for everything that day, most of the time he is hoping that the girl will sleep with him at the end of the day”

You bet my face turned green after hearing that last part.

Now the next question is if our lovely friend also tried it before.

“When I was young and reckless….we did it before back in the day, but not anymore!” Trust me, our dear friend who solved the mystery for us is not that old, which made us wonder how young he was when he first tried nanpa.

Girls walking along the streets of Matsumoto ~

So ladies…next time you are walking along the streets of Japan, a guy approaches you (tissue handlers not included) and starts talking to you with offers to hang out together, you know may be you been Nanpa-ed (Giggles~)

Would you try Nanpa?