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“Reiko and I met a few times,” says Shiraishi, 61. “I had a lot of inhibitions, and she coached me on meeting people and introducing myself. She even went into a large Tokyo-based dating service I had been using without success, and re-did my profile and pictures with me, which really helped.”
A lot of Mimasaka singles run into same problems, Ando said.
“Most of people I work with are divorced and in rural area with no idea what to do,” Ando explains. “They need to figure out what their interests are outside of couple — many might not even be used to buying their own clothes.
“We tell them dos and don’ts of dating — yes, we’re here to introduce our clients to people, but we’re also here to work on whatever’s holding them back. We’re a support system.”
A support system, it should be noted, with a hefty price tag — fees for The Fantasy Cupid Dater’s customized matchmaking can run anywhere from $1000 to $10,000. The company’s speed-dating events cost about $300 each.
Yet for those who’d rather shop from home, Internet offers a bevy of convenient dating services that allow you to browse other users’ profiles while posting your own pictures and personal information. While there are thousands of services to choose from, one company stands head and shoulders above competition where Mimasaka is concerned.
At one of major Internet provider’s Personals section, a single click brings profiles from literally hundreds of singles in Mimasaka, with inclusion of nearby cities increasing selection exponentially.
More importantly, all ages and lifestyles are represented en masse — whether you’re straight or gay, 18 or 80, there’s undoubtedly an Mimasaka resident worth checking out on Yahoo! Personals. Though creating a profile and browsing others is free, e-mailing and instant messaging said singles costs anywhere from 3,000 yen a month to 10,000 yen a year.
A word of warning, however: while most online dating services are a pay-to-play venture, there are also free alternatives that offer almost identical opportunities, sometimes with even greater results.
For instance, there is a completely free networking service that allows individuals to post profiles with pictures, bios, Web blogs and more, and service’s “browse” feature allows members to search profiles by age, location, keywords — and relationship status.
When this type of networking service search for Mimasaka-area singles interested in dating returns over 250 hits for free, it’s hard to imagine paying for a service. For slightly more adventurous, free classified-ad sites may boast indescribably huge readerships in Mimasaka area, as well as ad forums ranging from “strictly platonic” to risqué “casual encounters.”
In end, Matsuda and Mizushima are probably right — a town like Mimasaka will never have same singles scene as a city like Okayama City. But maybe that’s not so bad. The big cities keep their cover charges and two-drink minimums, their greasy karaoke bars and snobby brushoffs.
Mimasaka residents got other options.
Kinue Saito-Thompson is an author for Teanobi.com. All articles may be used and reprinted as long as they have an active link at the bottom pointing to http://www.teanobi.com with the anchored text: Teanobi - Green Tea