Like anywhere else, Japan has its fare share of young men and women who are overly shy. And of course, many of them are looking to fall in love, they just have trouble meeting prospective partners. But a dating service in Tokyo has come to the rescue, organizing speed-dating events where attendees all wear surgical masks (as many Japanese do anyway, for cold and flu prevention, allergies, etc. ), allowing them to be surrounded by equally shy singles who are equally ready to mingle.

One of the most uniques sights in Japan is the sheer number of people walking around in public wearing white surgical masks. More women do so than men, but especially during flu and allergy season, you may feel as though you're seeing more people covered up than not. Apparently, women like to wear the masks because it covers their noses and mouths — lipstick is not needed, and somehow, they feel more comfortable with their faces half-covered. Many attribute this to shyness, or a lack of confidence in appearance, which is where Def Anniversary, a Tokyo dating service, comes in.

Realizing that so many young singles wear masks to feel at ease in public, the popular dating service organized events where everyone wears a surgical mask. By doing this, the company claims that the speed-daters can focus more on each other's personalities and values, rather than just their looks, like so many other dating events. "In order to achieve marriage, it is important to provide chances to know a partner’s personality and values in the early stages, said the honcho of Def Anniversary. "We chose surgical masks as an essential tool for that." So yes, these mask-wearing speed daters are all looking for a marriage partner. In a country where the marriage rate has been decreasing drastically in recent years, anything helps. 

Masked love is truly in the air.