This is it. Two years after the start of the project, SoraNews24’s most consistent bachelor takes one last shot at romance as he meets Mimi.

Back in 2016, we launched the Find Seiji a Girlfriend Project, in hopes of finding a special someone for our Japanese-language reporter Seiji Nakazawa. Unfortunately, this wasn’t the instant path to romance we’d hoped for.

It took nearly a year to secure Seiji’s first date, which ended with him getting gently brushed off. Things didn’t turn out any better with the second young lady Seiji met through the project, since she ended up getting a non-Seiji boyfriend shortly after our reporter’s first date with her.

The Find Seiji a Girlfriend project was announced on April 26, 2016, and as we approached the two-year mark, Seiji’s spirits were seriously drooping.

▼ Seiji in 2016 (left) vs. Seiji in 2018 (right)

But with spring here, a ray of hopeful sunshine arrived this month when we got an email from a woman we’ll call Mimi, saying “If it’s still possible, I’d like to apply to become Seiji’s girlfriend.” We quickly gave Seiji the good news…only he wasn’t sure it was so good.

See, the first two women to contact us turned out to be less interested in a serious romance, and more interested in just having an interesting story to tell. There’s nothing inherently wrong with that (an interesting date is always better than a boring one), but Seiji’s tender heart had been left a little battered from having his hopes dashed. He didn’t see the point in going on a date if, from the very beginning, he had no chance of getting a second one, and he was worried Mimi might have just sent the email on a lark or to tease him.

And so Seiji wrote back to Mimi, saying:

“Thank you for your email! But I’m sort of worn out from going on dates if people aren’t interested at all in it possibly turning into a relationship, so I’m wondering what your thoughts are on that.”

Not exactly the most romantic way to open his correspondence with Mimi, but Seiji felt it was best to lay everything out in the open before anyone’s time got wasted, and he was emotionally prepared for that to be the end of it. Soon enough, though, he got an equally honest and sensible response from Mimi:

“I have no intention of teasing you. I’d like to meet, and talk, and then if our values and way of thinking are compatible, I’d like to start dating seriously.”

Mimi even sent a follow-up email with even more level-headed maturity:

“How about if we exchange [messaging app] Line contact info, chat on that for a while, and then decide whether or not to meet in person?

There’s so much we don’t yet know about one another, and there’s a chance you might not like some things about me, and so not want to meet up. I know there are things about me that not everyone likes.”

And with that, the two began messaging each other on Line. Despite his past disappointments, Seiji couldn’t help but feel excited as he and Mimi began to share little moments of their daily lives.

▼ Seiji shows off his cooking skills.

Seiji is ordinarily a pretty shy guy, but in three days, he and Mimi ended up sending a total of almost 1,000 messages. He learned that Mimi is in her late 20s and working a variety of part-time jobs while studying for her bookkeeping certification, so it sounds like she’s a hard-working young woman with a sharp mind.

But there’s only so much of a feel you can get for a person through text messages, and so Seiji and Mimi finally decided to meet up in person, with the big day coming on March 21, 10 days after their first Line messages. March 21 is a national holiday in Japan, so they decided to make a day of it, as since Mimi lives in Kanagawa Prefecture (Tokyo’s neighbor to the south), they made plans to meet up in the Minato Mirai harbor district in Yokohama, Kanagawa’s capital city (and one of the very best places to live in Japan).

However, in the back of Seiji’s mind were the lingering memories of getting shot down by the last two women he’d asked for a second date, and so he was actually feeling more frightened than anything else as he went to bed on March 20. That might sound kind of bleak, but it wasn’t half as bleak as the weather when he woke up.

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もうすぐ四月だって言うのにマジかよ

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An unusually late-season snow storm hit east Japan on the morning of March 21, and all of a sudden strolling in the sunshine through Yokohama’s seaside parks was out of the question. Worse still, even Japan’s reliable public transportation system sometimes gets stopped by the snow, and since Seiji and Mimi would both be travelling to their rendezvous by train, inclement weather could leave them stranded with no way to get home. Mimi herself had even been abroad a train that got stuck in the snow a few years ago.

▼ Things were just as snowy in the photo Mimi snapped from her home on March 21.

But just as Seiji was about to resign himself to their date being postponed (and maybe even never actually happening as things lost momentum), he felt something. “What is this?” he recalls asking himself. I want to see her. Right now. I’m so sad that I can’t.”

“Ah…this is what it feels like to fall in love.”

“I want to tell her how I feel.”

Seiji’s burning heart wasn’t enough to melt the snow, but it was enough to keep him from giving up. So instead of postponing the date, Seiji asked if there would be somewhere easier for them to meet up, and Mimi recommended Yokohama Station, located in the center of the downtown district. As the city’s major transportation hub, there are multiple train and subway lines, as well as bus routes, that run through Yokohama Station, so even if one was shut down because of the snow, they’d still have alternate routes of getting home.

So Seiji dashed to the station and leapt into the train bound for Yokohama, trying to will the carriage to move faster and feeling a twinge of despair each time it stopped at one of the other stations along the way. Finally, though, he arrived, and made his way to the section of the station here he and Mimi had agreed to meet. At this point, Seiji still hadn’t seen even a picture of Mimi, so he pulled out his phone and dialed her number, and when he saw a woman take out her phone to answer, he knew it was her.

Seiji’s first urge was to tell her his feelings and ask her to be his girlfriend right then and there. But no, he told himself. You have to think about the right timing. And so, after exchanging their first face-to-face greetings, Seiji and Mimi headed to the theater to watch The Greatest Showman.

Afterwards, it still didn’t seem like the right time for Seiji to confess his innermost feelings, so they went to dinner, where the mood was so warm and fun…so much so that before they realized it, it was time to head home. Gentleman that he is, Seiji gallantly walked Mimi to the station gate, even though he was going home by a separate rail company with a different entrance.

With each step closer to the gate, they also were closer to saying goodbye. Seiji did all he could to hold on to the moment. “She has such beautiful fingers,” he noticed, trying to burn every image of her into his memories. And yet still, he remained silent.

Eventually, they reached the gate. “Well, see ya next time,” Mimi said as she waved goodbye and turned to walk away.

And then, finally, Seiji spoke, first with a stammer.

“W-…wa-…wai-…“

“Wait just a second!”

“There’s a reason why I wanted to see you today, no matter what,” Seiji called out.

Mimi stopped, turned around, and Seiji continued.

“I…I really like you! Please be my girlfriend!”

For a moment, all of the sound disappeared from Seiji’s world. That moment became two moments, and then three.

……

…………

………………

Mimi slowly extended her hand, raised her thumb, and said:

“Sure.”

Seiji thought he had died from joy, but his powerfully beating heart reminded him that he was very much alive. The next day, he came to work, walking on air, and we gave him a hero’s welcome that had been two years in the making.

▼ There’s no law that says heroes can’t have holes in their socks.

And so, we’d like to officially bring the Find Seiji a Girlfriend Project to a close. As with all endings, a proper ending theme song is in order.

Thank you to everyone who’s been cheering Seiji on, and also to Mimi, of course. And to Seiji, congratulations.

Photos ©SoraNews24
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Follow Casey on Twitter, where he’s always felt that an understanding of bookkeeping is a mark of a good woman.

[ Read in Japanese ]