Being noticed, the problem of geo location dating and a small town.

I was looking through my drafts recently, and realized I never actually posted this. It’s… almost a year out of date, but I hope you enjoy it.

So… Like many things in life, being in rural area changes up. Combine low amount of people, with being rather visually distinctive and it was inevitable that one day I would just run into someone who recognized me from one of the geo location dating apps, like 9monsters.

Earlier this year it happened. I cycled to Geo, to browse their games. Finding a wonderful ice blue DS Lite in wonderful condition. When I was leaving though, an older man walked up to me and said “… 9monsters?” as if it was some kind of weird secret code…

Which to be fair, it is.

And I knew this day had to come. After all, on 9mon I am the only white man within about 70km of me, maybe more. (although that’s changed now) It was inevitable that I would run into someone nearby who would remember me from the app.  I had mentally prepared for this. And said:

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9monsters, and appli dating in Japan.

So, this post is going to cover, a lot of ground. But basically this is all about gay dating stuff and with a lot of focus on apps specifically. You might be familiar with two of the more popular dating apps in the west, Tinder and Grindr. Grindr was quite a revolution for both dating apps and smartphone social apps too! Maybe not being the first smartphone social app to use the GPS functions to find people close to you but one of the first to become popular within a community.

Grindr become somewhat synonymous with gay men’s smartphones, and thanks to some distinctive notification sounds, if your phone wasn’t on silent it would certainly enable a little bit of an audible gaydar. The app itself was honestly a little crap to say the least from a technical side. But the combination of actually having users and the convince of not constantly being asked out by people from impossibly far distances was great.

Tinder is a little different from what I gather in terms of execution thanks to the swipe left/right system, but sticks with that general concept of GPS based match making and since it’s release in 2012 has become similarly ubiquitous with singles.

I gather tinder isn’t very popular here, but I know grindr isn’t.

There are probably a lot of reasons for this. But one day at a bear bar in Matsuyama I asked the barkeeper why it wasn’t popular here. When I stayed in Fukuoka several years ago it seemed pretty popular still but now, it was far more foreigners compared to Japanese people.

He told me a rather unfortunate tale of why grindr had become unpopular, and one that sadly makes too much sense. It was too popular. While I don’t want to generalize too much, Japanese gay men usually aren’t as out as men seem to be in Australia. Even young men. However, it become not common knowledge, but not unknown that a lot of gay men used this mysterious grindr app to chat and meet up. Some people who were not so open minded started using it as… a gaydar and so it became a tool for outing.

And outing someone when they haven’t decided to do it themselves, that’s just crap.

I should note, I haven’t been able to find anything written up to confirm all that, but having asked another bartender they backed it up too.

But because of this grindr issue, many people quite reasonably fled to other lesser known apps. The main ones being 9monster, and Jack’d

I’ve been umming and ahing this post for a while, and written about 5 significantly different variants of it because the reason Grindr had a problem was over exposure, and while I know this blog doesn’t have the reach to over expose either of these, but it doesn’t help either. Obviously, I’ve decided to go ahead.

So, 9monsters, often called 9mon by it’s users is in many ways, much like the rest of these dating apps. And just like Grindr 9mon is also very buggy and lacks a lot of basic polish. Really the only major notable feature it includes that would be considered a pro is a nifty auto translation feature that if messages aren’t sent to you in the language you’ve set as your own, they’ll have a translation underneath… Which I find a bit nifty when I am unsure on a kanji or word.

However, while that’s the only feature I’d deem particularly notable, there is one aspect of 9mon I find amazing. So firstly, why is it called 9monsters? Well I’ll let 9mon explain

Every user is grouped into 9 category monsters according to breeding in this application. Breeding allows you to find:(1)Your type, (2) Which category/monster other users think you belong to, (3) Who likes you. Each user can enjoy meeting people through this revolutionary “breeding.”

While some types seem to be based of gay type/animal associations I’ve heard of, like Bear and Wolf. I have never really heard of “Bulky Bison” or “Lovely Dog.” But anyway you pick your monster type, and then the fun begins!

9mon level

Yes, 9monster has a leveling system! And this is not a WoW bear druid no no, this is a level 53 wild bear, How did he get so high level? He used this button a lot.

9mon breeding

Man this is one unfortunate bit of engrish I am sure no one at 9mon even thought too much about it’s implications. But yeah, the app uses some extremely light RPG elements to encourage you to feed data into its algorithm. Breed more people, get bred by people, level up, get some minor rewards as you do (like every 15 levels getting placed in the daily featured list), get better suggestions and find out what type you really are too! It’s just really odd that all this happens through the word “breeding.” And a bit unfortunate that the app encourages you to “breed” with anyone you like, which adds a layer of promiscuity that is always somewhat present in these apps and brings it to the foreground.

I was going to talk about a few other things but I think this post is getting a little long! But I hoped you enjoyed learning a little about 9monster and grindr’s lack of presence in Japan.