Last year I wrote about the first time I went to a Meetup that had the word “single“ in it, and how nervous I was back then about going to such an event in scary big Tokyo all by myself. Recently I went there for the third time and guess what, nothing about it scared me anymore.
As I walk into the room, I immediately recognize some of the faces. For example there is one Japanese guy who I talked to for about an hour some months ago. I remember his profession and that he spent a good amount of that hour telling me about his traumatizing break-up that happened five years ago. (I wish I was kidding. I’m not.) He walks up to me and I think he’s going to say “Hi, how have you been?“, but instead he greets me with: “So where are you from?“ I explain to him that we’ve actually met before, to which he admits: “All foreigners look the same to me!“ He then proceeds to tell me the story of this break-up – AGAIN. I manage to escape another wasted hour of my life by asking him if he found anyone else in the meantime. This time I like his honest answer: “No. It’s difficult. If you’re ok with being with just anyone, it’s easy. But if you’re looking for someone who wants the same as you…“ He trails off. I tell him I get it.
A group of people in the sofa corner is laughing a lot, and I feel compelled to join them. They are mainly non-Japanese girls and they ask me how long I’ve been in Japan. My “7 months“ evoke more laughter and them calling me “cute“ and informing me that I’m a “Japan baby“. Most of them have been living in Japan for up to ten years. Can’t compete with that. One girl asks me how life in Japan has been going for me so far. I tell her that is hasn’t been easy and I had to deal with some serious issues. She comforts me by saying that the first year in Japan is the most difficult for everyone. And that it gets a lot better after that.
In the meantime, a Japanese guy in our little corner has his own issue to deal with: Having texted a joke (the good old “Why women are evil“) to the girl he likes and her not replying for a whole day. Lucky for him, everyone around is ready to step in with dating advice. I can’t help myself but laugh more and more at every new suggestion made as to what he should do. After having listened to all of them, he sighs defeatedly and concludes: “I’m fucked up.“ I tell him: “It’s ok! We all are.“ Maybe not precisely helpful for him, but kind of an epiphany for me: The fewest of people are living their Happily Ever After. Most of us are still searching for it.
I’m not sure where it’s coming from, but suddenly I remember what I used to do at parties many many moons ago, before I became a “respectable adult“: Make people get up and dance. Which is exactly what I’m doing now. Maybe I’m fed up with all the seriousness and misery that comes from dating, and how it can take away from enjoying the moment and being our happy selves. Maybe it’s the wine doing its magic. Or maybe I’ve just dearly missed the lighthearted, positive energy that comes from hanging out with people I just met. Whatever the reason, nearly everyone ends up dancing and having a good time. Even Fucked Up Guy. At some point the dancing turns into highly improvised musical singing. This evening couldn’t have gone any better.
After exchanging contact infos with some of the people, Japan Baby jumps on a train without double checking if it’s the right one, slumps into a corner seat, and pulls out her phone like a true Tokyo person, and while scrolling through social media, reflects on the three main things she realized tonight:
Finding the “right person“ is a difficult endeavor for everyone.
This endeavor often leaves us feeling confused and with low self-esteem.
I’d rather spend my time dancing around. It feels much better.
And maybe one day, someone will be dancing next to me.