1. When she finds herself working overtime on Valentine’s Day.

For Japanese women, Valentine’s Day carries a lot of significance and helps validate women who are in happy relationships. One Japanese woman in her 20s confessed, “Everyone is so happy except me.… It makes me curse my fate!” Everyone else is in a happy relationship and her situation is too much to bear on this special day. The same can be said for her birthday. “I bet I wouldn’t be sitting here working overtime if I had a boyfriend.” Her loneliness gets amplified on these special occasions, turning the day into something she dreads.

2. The sad female character from her favorite TV drama finds the love of her life.

“I feel betrayed. I thought she was on my side,” commented one young Japanese woman. She felt a special connection with the character in the drama and she related to her TV life. Now the TV character has found a boyfriend and the story looks like it is going to end “happily ever after.” Even though she knows it’s fiction, she can’t help feeling like her best friend has betrayed her. That’s the perfect cue for you to come in and sweep her off her feet. Studying the storyline of a popular drama may work to your advantage when you’ve been unable to find a common topic to talk about with that special someone.

3. When she discovers that her ex is getting married.

The longer the relationship lasted, the harder it is for her to swallow the news. “I thought I had no regrets but I felt crashed,” admitted one Japanese woman in her 20s. The initial shock is unbearable, especially if the relationship was serious before it dissolved. However, don’t underestimate the power of adversity. Some women may get fired up and go seek their true love for themselves.

4. When she doesn’t have any plans for the holidays.

Japan offers quite a few national holidays for people to enjoy over long weekends. “I didn’t even have a plan to R&R from the daily obligations. I felt devastated when I realized that I wasn’t living my life to the fullest,” recalls one Japanese woman in her 20s. When she doesn’t have friends (much less a boyfriend) to spend the holidays with, she can’t help but feel lonely and vulnerable. You have nothing to lose—go ahead and ask her out. “Do you have any plans for the holiday? Do you want to get together?” She may appreciate you even more for offering to pull her out of her isolation and boredom.

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