Letters From Japan: “Did He Just Want Try Sleeping With A Foreign Woman?”

Ask Hilary: Questions From Readers Answered

Savvy Tokyo's resident "Love in Japan" columnist, Hilary Keyes, answers anonymous questions from readers on everything from dating in Japan to women’s health issues. Got a question you’d like to ask Hilary? Email it to editorial@gplusmedia.com with the subject "Ask Hilary."

Hi Hilary,

I just moved to Tokyo in July this year and I met a Japanese guy who wanted me to tutor him in English. In our first appointment, he showed an interest in me and asked whether I was in a relationship. In the second, he started being physical, like holding my hands while studying and in public, putting his hand on my waist, and laying his head on my shoulder. After that, we went to see the movie at an internet cafe and he even became aggressive like laying his head on my breast, kissing my neck and ears, kissing my lips, and showing other signs that he wanted to have sex with me. So I stopped him before it went too far. I am wondering if he had a real interest in me, or just wanted to try sleeping with a foreign woman, or just a one night stand. Please give me some advice because I have been thinking about it for days. – English Tutor

Dear English Tutor,

First off, welcome to Japan! I’m sorry this has been one of your first dating experiences here. And when I say dating, I mean dating. This guy was clearly not looking for just an English tutor. What did you tell him about your relationship status? Were you clear that this was a “tutor-student” situation, or did you say you were interested in dating? If you told him you were interested in dating (and didn’t say you didn’t want to date him), that wasn’t a second tutoring appointment, that was a date in his mind.

Did you meet him on a “find a teacher” app or website? If so, beware. Those are notoriously full of people (men and women) looking for hookups, or people selling sexual services—not English lessons. Yes, it’s not at all what those apps and websites are meant to be, but that’s the reality of the situation. It’s like the people selling MLM services on Tinder and Bumble.

Generally speaking, if a guy wants to take you to an internet cafe to “watch a movie” after being that physical in public, nine times out of ten, it’s because he wants to have sex with you

Generally speaking, if a guy wants to take you to an internet cafe to “watch a movie” after being that physical in public, nine times out of ten, it’s because he wants to have sex with you, but can’t afford (or doesn’t want to pay for) a love hotel. Of course, there are some guys that genuinely do want to watch a movie and relax with their partner, but when someone’s been as physical as this guy was, that’s a major red flag.

From this experience, there are three things you should keep in mind. First, if you are offering to tutor someone, keep it professional and end the appointment immediately if they start trying to be physical. Second, don’t go to a net cafe with a guy if you’re not intending to ‘Netflix and chill’ with him. If you do hook up in a net cafe, you can be detained by the police if anyone complains about what you two are getting up to in that not-so-private booth. And third, Japan may be considered a relatively safe country, but cases like that of Lindsay Hawker are a stark reminder of what happens when something as simple a tutoring appointment goes wrong.

Keep your wits about you and use common sense when out with others, whether that be to legitimately tutor someone or when out on a date. If something isn’t what it was meant to be and you feel uncomfortable, get out of there! Best of luck in your future dating adventures.