Today, I get to know of NANPA.
I was walking my way home for my lunch break when a young guy suddenly distracted me and asked something in Japanese. I had to pull out my earphones and ask again.
Translation in English
Him: Do you have plans for tonight?
Me: I'm sorry?
Him: (Repeats himself.)
Me: Ahhh.. I have work til late night. Sorry.
Then, the curious me asked.
Him: My friend is having party.
Me: I'm sorry, I don't drink.
Him: Me too.
Realizing that it had almost been a more than a few seconds of exchange of conversation and that I am wasting my precious breaktime, I told him I have to work.
As I walk my way away from the scene, I suddenly felt scared and puzzled. Then, I sent a message to my Japanese friend who then explained to me that it is called ナンパ. She told me that the guy had found me attractive that's why he asked me and she reminded me to be careful about it because some guys would really come out as creepy. I replied to her that it was really somewhat creepy! HAHA
Since Google is my friend, I asked it and had given me several options from Wikipedia to Quora.
Wikipedia provided a more historical background and duly-noted that the meaning has been evolving over time.
It is a culture of flirting and dating popular among boys in their late teens up to mid-twenties. Girls also have the same practice but with a different term "gyakunan".
What interested me really were the explanations and connotations given in Quora like:
Nanpa boys usually target "old, lonely women"
Nanpa boys are usually uneducated men with not-so great-paying jobs and would like to have companion or a date or a hook up.
It is popular in Japan because not a lot of men can get a date on bars and other drinking places.
These got me thinking...
Did I look so sad and lonely while walking? But I was singing to the beat of Hey in my RNB Referendum Playlist.
I told my Japanese co-worker about it and the first thing she asked is if the guy was ikemen (meaning handsome) I said, he looked fine and clean. That's about it. Then, she mentioned about never getting a nanpa experience and that she isn't attractive enough for one.
What came into my mind was the boy was probably in a betting game with his friends watching from afar if he can hook up a girl or get a contact number or something.
For a culture I am still discovering and for culturally-noted as people with very low self-esteem, this culture of Nanpa is quite a unnatural for me. But it is there. So, like what I would always believe, these people have confidence. It should just be put to more productive and result-oriented practices.
Quite an experience for today. I just really want to write about it and hopefully be able to write a better one in the near future.