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There’s less than a month to go until Christmas Eve, the most romantic night of the year in Japan. As the special night approaches, lovelorn single men throughout the country are scrambling to up their game in order to attract a date before Santa starts his rounds.

As a handy starter guide, Japanese women in a recent poll listed the top five hobbies that are immediate deal breakers when judging if a guy is boyfriend material.

The poll was conducted by a Japanese fashion magazine, with 259 women responding. Let’s take a look and see where we’re going right, or perhaps very, very wrong.

5. Dessert/café nut (8 votes)

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Japan is in the midst of a dessert boom, with everything from Hawaiian-style pancakes topped with mountains of fruit and whipped cream to cherry blossom-infused muffins and cakes ready to satisfy your sweet tooth. The country is dotted with independent cafes, and even among chains, many of their tempting menu items are only available for limited times.

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But while making a pilgrimage to whichever bakery has the newest, tastiest roll cake is a common enough pastime for young women in Japan, some of them don’t seem to appreciate a guy who shares their appreciation for the sweeter things in life, and would apparently prefer a man with a more traditionally masculine palate, so if you’re looking to impress, say no to cake, guys.

Yes, for dessert, my girlfriend would like the strawberry chiffon cake. Me? Just bring me another steak.

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4. Train fan (12 votes)

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In almost all cultures, there’s a period growing up where young boys get really into trains, perhaps because they speak to their aspirations for strength and power. Whatever the reason, it’s perfectly natural, and after a few years this usually gives way to the other normal male obsessions of dinosaurs, sports, and finally girls.

In Japan though, some men hold on to their passion for trains. They crowd the platforms to catch a glimpse whenever a new type of car is being debuted or retired. They travel the country to snap photos of obscure local service trains in rural areas.

They make some girls not want to date them because of their off-beat hobby.

▼ Very few women’s idea of a fun Friday night

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3. Anime otaku (42 votes)

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It may seem like faint praise, but it’s a sign of the times that hardcore animation fan is only number three on a list of hobbies women can’t stand in a boyfriend.

For starters, high-brow animation houses such as Studio Ghibli have been cranking out anime with mainstream appeal, such as the #1 movie in Japan this year, The Wind Rises, that prove anime isn’t merely the niche hobby it once was.

Secondly, each year sees the ranks of female anime otaku grow larger and larger, with the industry producing more and more content for them. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander, and it’s hard to criticize a guy for liking the latest Gundam series when you’ve got posters from ab-centric swimming anime Free! on your bedroom walls.

▼ These characters weren’t designed for guys (at least any who are looking for girlfriends)

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2. Idol otaku (45 votes)

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Obsessing over idol singers used to be a part-time gig. A new starlet would appear on the scene, there’d be intense interest in her for a couple of months, and then things would die down after either photos of her with a boyfriend (scandalous!) surfaced, or her costume designers ran out of places to add ribbons to her stage outfit, thus forcing her retirement at the ripe old age of 22 or so.

Nowadays though, when ensemble idol units such as AKB 48 have a rotating roster of performers bigger than most privately owned businesses, the idol world never stands still. With so many up and coming singers who need to be nurtured with their fans’ attention (and their money in the form of album sales), some women looking for a boyfriend deduce there’s not going to be much left over for their own relationship.

1. Gambler (152 votes)

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The run-away winner (loser?) of the poll as to which hobby would kill a guy’s chance with the respondents was gambling. For a country that doesn’t have any officially designated casinos, Japan is filled with places to place a wager, whether it be at one of its ubiquitous pachinko parlors, mahjong dens, horse tracks, speedboat racing facilities, or even bicycle racing tracks. And the ladies really don’t care for it.

▼ If you fall and break your leg, do they still shoot you?

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The one and only constant of gambling is that the house always wins. Many women, particularly those in their 20s who are reaching the age when they start thinking about cohabiting and thus merging their finances with their significant other, couldn’t accept their boyfriend throwing away his money in such a manner. So as fun and thrilling as games of chance may be, if you’re looking to find love in Japan, you might want to keep your love of poker on the down-low.

▼ Regardless of how majestic your beard, or delicious your fried chicken, may be.

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Source: Hachimakiko, Twitter
Top image: Josei Bigaku
Insert images: Goo, Walkerplus (1, 2), FC2 (1, 2, 3), Iza, Minp, Asia Travel Today, Ameblo, Wikipedia, Free Codesource