What is group dating?

These are people, they could be on Compa right now. . . this very second. From shaun.numb's photostream

Kompa is where groups of singles go out on a group date, it happens commonly in Japan. Here I'll talk a little bit more about it. Kompa is a loan word from English though it really has quite a different meaning. Japanese has many loan words some retain their original meaning while others lose it. This particular loan word comes from the English for companions. Group dating may also be called godo which means group.

You may wonder if you can go on kompa if you're not Japanese? Well of course you can - though you should probably speak some Japanese or go with a few people who speak your language as well as Japanese. The best way to arrange such a thing would be to talk to a Japanese friend - it's highly likely that they'll know some one who is doing one soon and you'll be able to get an invite, provided your friend likes you. Also there's nothing to stop you doing this outside of Japan with like minded aquaintences.

What's the beef with group dating? Why not just do it one on one? Well it's all to do with Japanese society. It also helps girls meet Japanese men in a safe and social acceptable manner. Women are often enthuastic to find some one they like before they're past their marrying prime and no longer of use to anyone. ... or something like that. It's also a social norm for women to be married before 30. Any husbandless woman nearing 30, 30 or past it - is accutely aware of the fact. Families in Japan will (rarely) arrange marriages - this use to be far more common a generation back. You have to get your grandchildren some how. Arranged marriage is called omiai kekkon. All worth baring in mind if you're not Japanese and going out with someone in their late twenties (they want and expect to get married! with you! now! right now!)

Of course impending arranged marriage isn't the only impetus for kompa. It's just one of many. Another reason being that Japanese people tend to spend a lot of time as a group - it's hard to go off on your own with a random stranger. At least with kompa you're all in the same boat. It's also provides a smorgasbord of potential partners and is therefore quite an efficent way to meet prospective Mr or Misses Tanaka.

Compa usually involves around ten people ideally one half are men and the other half are women. The group date will most likely be at an Izukaiya (a Japanese style pub but with more emphasis on food). It's highly probable that it will be a set price with set food and nomihodai(all you can drink). So you'll sit down - order drinks - and food will be brought out a course at a time. In most Izukaiya's each table has a private booth and a buzzer that you can use to contact the staff to request more booze. It's inevitable that every one will get drunk and have quite a good time.

Whoever organizes the compa will tell you the time and date - and probably some info about who's going. They'll help everyone get there and also arrange seating. The seating will attempt to maximize male, female conversation. As is customary in Japan you will introduce yourself to the group - just brief info: name, job where you live and if you're Japanese is up to scratch some type of slightly nervous poor quality joke seems to be the order of the day.

Like all Japanese functions where drinking is involved - don't drink until you see some else do so or there's been a toast (kanpai / cheers). Then everyone gets drunk and flirts. It's a little bit like a seating lotto as you'll probably be mainly speaking to whoever you're near rather than the person at the far end of the long table. This of course depends on the restaurant - some tables are more forgiving than others.

flickr stream picture from bdu
If everything goes well - by the end of the meal - there will be a second party nearly always karaoke - unless you're already too drunk, then maybe coffee. This is the point where men are expected to make their moves and suggest that one of the girls should accompany them for a romantic drink some where or other, without the rest of the group. People who didn't have a good time - may suddenly need to catch a train about now.

It's common for the same group to meet again - possibly with one or two members swapped out. That way you get your second chance.

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1 comment:

Noriko Murphy said...

Do not show on time; be at least 15 minutes earlier

You may already know how Japanese are punctual and being on time. It does not matter for work or not. We are usually so punctual even just meeting with friends on weekends. I do not take my American friends who are five minutes late as a really “late” but most of my Japanese friends usually shows up at the place 10 to 15 minutes earlier than the time we actually decided to meet. Therefore I make sure that I will be there in 15 minutes earlier than the time to meet whenever I meet with Japanese friend.

- See more at: To Do and Not To Do on Your First Date with a Japanese woman.