合コン (ごうこん, gōkon) indicates a Japanese-style group blind date. It is usually held at Izakaya (a Japanese-style pub) and participants enjoy drinking together, optionally with a couple of drinking games. The gathering is normally organised by a guy and his female friend, and each of them invites the same number (usually 2~4) of their male and female friends who haven’t met each other. The organisers are called “幹事 (かんじ, Kanji)”, and obviously whether the gathering is fun or sh*t depends on whom they invite.
How 合コン works
Typically, 合コン starts awkwardly with a self-introduction by each participant. After a while, they exchange their seats so that they can have an opportunity to talk with every person. This event is called “席替えタイム”, meaning “seat-exchange time”. At the end of the gathering, they usually exchange their contacts such as LINE ID, even if they don’t intend to meet them again. If they become close enough to each other during the 合コン, they go to another izakaya, bar or karaoke as “二次会“, that is, “second party”.
合コン is an abbreviation of “合同コンパ”, where 合同 (ごうどう) means “joint” and “コンパ” means “a casual drinking party”. コンパ (konpa) is said to originate from the German word “kompanie”, or its English translation “company”, as you usually have a drink with the company.
街コン (まちこん, machikon) : Japanese Speed Dating
Recently, a new type of blind date called “街コン (まちこん, machikon)” has been more and more getting popular. It stands for the “コンパ (party)” held in 街 (town/city)”, and describes a speed dating party held in a city. Compared to gōkon, where you meet 3~5 of your friend’s friends, people you meet in machikon are complete strangers and the number of participants ranges from 10 to more than 100, meaning you don’t have much time to talk with each person. There are a great number of “街コン” targeted at different types of people, such as those in their 20s, high-status professionals such as doctors or lawyers, or those who share similar hobbies. Needless to say, men generally have to pay more than women to join the party; alas, that’s the way the world works.
I texted a girl I met at the gōkon (group dating) multiple times, but she has’t replied yet.
I joined the machikon (speed dating in a city) for the first time, but I was disappointed that I couldn’t find any cute girl there.
Synonyms in English: group blind date
Related words and phrases: 街 (town, city), 街コン (speed dating), コンパ (drinking party)