FirstDateFilter, Tokyo Edition: I've been out of the dating game for some time and am looking for some creative afternoon date ideas in Tokyo. (I could also use any general first-date wisdom to help me regain a little bit of my dating confidence.)
Two part question. The first is pretty straight forward. The second, not so much. I'd appreciate any input you've got on either.
What are some interesting and spontaneous afternoon first date ideas for the big city (specifically, Tokyo, but any big city will do)?
The time is from about 3 to 6 pm (after 6 pm we will be connecting with some of her friends at a bar). I’ve been thinking of getting coffee at a stylish café for as a default, but 3 or 4 hours is a pretty big chunk of time to be sitting and drinking coffee, so I’m looking for something that’s a little more active and interesting/original.
Ideas I have so far: Park walk; going to the top of one of the city’s many observatories; art museum in Ueno; window shopping in some absurdly upscale shops in Ginza; Ueno Zoo. (Disclaimer: I don’t live in Tokyo, so most of the places I’m familiar with are pretty touristy.)
Second Question (long and snowflakey):
I just ended a 20-month relationship in December, and this is the first first-date I’ve had in almost two years. I’ve been out of the game for so long that my confidence is a bit shaky. I’m posting this next question in hopes for some perspective from you, my oh-so-wise fellow MeFites, to help me get some of my dating mojo back. (Not that there was much to begin with…)
**Some relevant background info **
I’m American and she’s Japanese, but spent a significant portion of her childhood in the US. We both speak English and Japanese fluently, so communication isn’t a problem. We are both in our late 20s.
We met for the first time a few weeks back at a mutual friend’s wedding. We only spent a portion of the evening talking with each other (we were both doing a lot of circulating) but the conversations that we did have were interesting, and it felt like we had good initial chemistry. She sent some signals of interest (light physical contact on my arm & back, calling out for me to sit with her when we arrived at one of the after-party bars, initiating the “are you on Facebook” conversation, etc.) leaving me confident enough to ask her out (via Facebook) the following week.
I live a couple of hours away from Tokyo, so I made up a reason to go into the city and asked her out with a low-pressure “I’m going to be in Tokyo and will be done with business in the early afternoon, so why not meet for coffee or drinks or something?” to which she enthusiastically replied, “Yes, give me a call when you’re free, we can hang out, and in the evening why don’t you join me and [mutual friend who got married and other mostly female friend group] for drinks after?” The current plan is to connect mid-afternoon on a coming Saturday. We haven’t decided a place and will take it “spontaneously” from there.
**And there’s a problem?**
No. But she’s not at all my typical type, so I’m left feeling a little anxious about being able to make a good second impression (hence the AskMe). She’s very outgoing, social, and adventurous (or at least she seemed that way from our conversations.) She’s also very physically attractive—in a different league than the women I usually date. (Looks take a back seat to personality with me (we all get old and less-attractive eventually), but I mention this because I am admittedly a little intimidated by beautiful women.)
I, on the other hand, am Joe Average. I am average looking, have an average income, have an average amount of insight and no special talent. I’m pretty reserved and not much of a risk-taker. I suffer from minor social anxiety (sound familiar?), which makes it difficult for me to be quick and witty in unfamiliar social situations such as dates. As a result, I fear that I can come across as boring to people when I first meet them. (I have no idea if this is actually the case or not.) Most of the dating and relationship experience I have is with women I had already been pretty familiar with through either university or work. Dates I’ve gone on with women I had only just met (blind dates or girls I met through singles’ social events) rarely develop into anything. One woman similar to the one described above that I briefly dated a few years back told me after we subsequently became friends that she lost interest in me after a few dates because I just didn’t show enough initiative to keep things interesting (or to translate it directly from Japanese, I “didn’t have enough ‘push’”).
**So what’s your question already?!**
I’m looking for your advice or stories from your own personal experience about how to go above and beyond on a the first date. How to leave a lasting impression. How to show an appropriate level of assertion (not in a creepy or assuming way, but in a “Hey, I’m in to you, and this is me letting you know it” type of way). Guys: What works for you on first dates? What’s your “first-date game plan”? Girls: What gestures, comments, actions, etc. have left a lasting positive impression on you after a first date? Whatever you’ve got, I’d love to hear it.
Oh, and assume that I will have the basic first date stuff down (clean appearance, well-groomed, nice clothing, ask lots of questions about her, listen intently, stay open-minded, expect nothing past it being an opportunity to get to know another interesting human being.).
Thanks. (Posting anonymously because, frankly, this is a little embarrassing.)