Date of meeting: Early February 2015
After spending a night on the sofa at Patrick Bateman Tinder‘s apartment, I caught the subway to Ginza and met Broke Tinder at Starbucks. I had already bought my drink when I got a message from Broke Tinder asking if I could buy him a drink and he would pay me back. Starbucks in Japan is immensely popular, and Ginza Starbucks is especially popular as it was the first one established in Tokyo- because of this, the line was ridiculously long, and I wasn’t about to line up again, so I pretended I didn’t see his message. Broke Tinder had a table with two seats upstairs and wasn’t about to give them up, hence why he had asked me to buy them.
I made my way upstairs and saw him typing away on an Apple Macbook. He was wearing a blue button up shirt and had a small luggage next to him, about the size of a carry on luggage for a plane. He looked up and smiled when he saw me. I felt a little bit awkward at first as it was one of the first times I had used Tinder in Japan without having an alcoholic drink.
It turned out to be fine. Broke Tinder and I got along well. He was my age, Filopino but had grown up in Canada, and had been working in Japan as a JET ALT for 5 years now. At the moment, he was making a documentary about the drift scene in Gunma where he lived, and had also put lots of his money into a start-up he was working on with his best friend. He also talked about how manga kissas (manga cafes) were expensive (they are only about 1000-2000 yen, about $11-$21 AUD) to sleep in. He had not arranged accommodation for that night and was thinking about staying in a manga kissa that evening.
I could tell straight away that I wasn’t attracted to Broke Tinder and I didn’t want to hook up, but it was a Saturday and I had no plans, so I went along with it. Within half an hour, Broke Tinder had invited me to dinner with his friends that evening.
We chatted for an hour or two at Ginza Starbucks, then decided to leave around 5ish to do the ‘konbini hop’ as Broke Tinder phrased it. In Japan, convenience stores are referred to as ‘konbinis’ and you can also buy alcohol, ranging from cans of beer, umeshu, shochu, and even sake bottles at most konbinis for low prices. The low price is what I figured what the main attraction was for Broke Tinder.
We went to a konbini inside Ginza station and selected drinks- Broke Tinder got a can of beer while I got a can of umeshu. We lined up separately and he did not pay for my drink despite it being a total of 200 yen (about $2.50 AUD).
Afterwards we sat in Ginza station sipping on our drinks, people watching, and playing get to know each other games, which consisted mostly of exchanging our life philosophies, recent history, and talking about the things we both loved about Japan. We did another konbini run after finishing our first round of drinks. The second time, Broke Tinder got my drink. After we finished our second round of drinks, Broke Tinder and I walked to another part of Ginza station to meet his friends. When we were walking to meet his friends, Broke Tinder suggested that I should pretend to be his girlfriend and told me to link arms with him. His group consisted of a group of JET ALT’s, or former JET ALT’s, who lived in rural areas and were just in Tokyo for the weekend. They were mostly American or Canadian, and were very friendly.
We had dinner at a Korean BBQ in Ginza, and although I sat across from Broke Tinder, I spent the evening talking mostly to his friends. Broke Tinder’s best friend was part Asian, and very attractive with a North American accent. I spent the evening lamenting the fact that he had a girlfriend.
After dinner, everyone decided to go home except for Broke Tinder and I. We caught the subway to Shinjuku and went to the konbini in Park Hyatt Hotel (he paid for my drink this time) and played more get to know each other games. This time, it took on a more intimate air, with each of us talking about past relationships and our Tinder experiences. I was quick to veer it back to other things though. After we’d been here for 30 minutes or so, Broke Tinder took me to another part of Park Hyatt hotel where there was a piano, and gave me a very basic piano lesson and played a few songs for me too.
Broke Tinder played until someone came past and asked us to stop playing (at our leisure, no less) and then walked around the corner and admired the view. He then gave me a few tips in taking photos with the DSLR and then we took silly pictures together. It was very fun and spontaneous until we started playing truth or dare and he then dared me to give him a kiss. I then launched into a spiel about how I felt like we were just friends and that I didn’t want to hook up. Broke Tinder looked a bit wounded and naturally we then decided to call it a night.
Things got super awkward after that (at least I did) and then we walked out of Park Hyatt hotel and said our goodbyes, walking off in opposite directions. I said we could hang out again and to message me if he was around in Tokyo the next weekend. Obviously I never heard from him again.