The Bachelorette Japan season 3 is set to premiere on Prime Video this Thursday as 15 eligible male participants set out to woo the leading lady, Aki Takei. Tokyo Weekender recently caught up with the University of Tokyo graduate and former member of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) to hear about why she decided to take part in the program and her overall experience on it. First, though, we wanted to find out more about Takei’s character and background. The 27-year-old, who currently works as a freelancer on space projects, came across as a very amiable and self-assured individual during our 30-minute chat.

Aki Takei Full Interview

How would you describe yourself?

I would say I’m genuine and hardworking. I believe I stay true to who I really am rather than trying to show off and pretend to be someone I’m not. Though I can be an extrovert, I also need my own time alone. Sometimes I go with my instincts and on other occasions I’m very logical with my thinking. It’s about striking that right balance. Overall, I would say I’m confident and not afraid to express myself. 

Where did your fascination with space come from?

I went to a summer camp in Okinawa when I was in elementary school. Being the youngest person there, I often felt left out. There was a party one evening that I didn’t get invited to, so feeling sad I headed to the beach. Looking up to see all these stars, it felt like the sky was hugging me. That was a really powerful moment. Since then, I’ve been obsessed with space. To this day, I continue to look to the sky for inspiration. 

How did you then go about pursuing a career in the space industry?

I had a dream to be an astronaut when I was in junior high school, but I knew there were so many hurdles to clear before that could become an option. Firstly, I needed to speak English fluently, so I studied for a year in Oregon. That was an amazing experience. In Japan, I was told I was different, but in a negative way. My parents, for instance, were worried because I spoke back to teachers who I disagreed with. In the States, I learned it was OK to be different and have opinions that vary from others.

Returning to Japan, I had more belief in myself. I entered the University of Tokyo to study aerospace engineering, though my main motivation was to graduate from where Japanese astronauts graduated. Engineering wasn’t really my thing, but I was determined to follow my dream and had to work so hard. I then began my career working for the government with the intention of helping the space industry grow in this country, but, of course, I had to work in several different departments. Last year, I decided to quit to follow my own career path related to space. 

Why did you apply to be on season 3 of The Bachelorette Japan?

I’ve always wanted to marry and have children and this just felt like the right time to find my soulmate. Until now, I’ve found it difficult to strike a good balance between my career and relationships. I’m usually a perfectionist when it comes to work and very strict on myself, which means I don’t leave much room for any mental vulnerability away from my job. A romantic relationship is all about those mental ups and downs and insecurities. I need to allow these things into my life and for them to coexist with my work. That’s why I decided to give it a go. 

The Bachelorette Japan Season 3 interview

How did you feel when you were told you’d been selected? What about your family and friends?

I was delighted, but at the same time shocked because I didn’t expect it at all. Even though it’s a reality TV series, it felt like I was entering a completely different world to the one I lived in. My parents were, and still are, very nervous about me being exposed to the public, whereas my friends have been excited since they heard the news. Actually, a few years ago, when the first season of The Bachelorette Japan was on, one of my friends told me I should do it. Now here I am.

What kind of partner were you hoping to find?

I was looking for a partner I could trust. Someone I could see myself sharing a future with. Someone who could make me feel safe and secure. I was also looking for someone romantic and silly. No matter how nice he is, if he doesn’t have a sense of humor, that’s a turn-off. Before it started, the only thing I was nervous about was the kind of men that would be on it. What if I didn’t like any of them? You just never know. Fortunately, things turned out well. Many of them were genuine with strong personalities. 

How was your overall experience on The Bachelorette Japan?

It was definitely one of the highlights of my life so far. There were difficult times, but I’m proud of myself for being brave and true to myself, without compromising. I was so happy that there were all these gentlemen there for me. It was a beautiful environment to be part of as they were all hoping for my happy future. Being back in Bali was also great. It was my second time there and was as amazing as I remember it.

What was the biggest challenge you faced?

For me, it was the responsibility of being the Bachelorette. As the main person, the emphasis was on me to instigate everything. I couldn’t wait for the guys to act. I was the one picking who to go on a date with and where we went. It felt like everything depended on me and, as a result, it was hard to see and feel their leadership. For that reason, whenever someone did show some initiative, that was attractive for me.

How did you feel handing out the roses?

I felt uncomfortable at the first rose ceremony. I wasn’t nervous about meeting the guys, or during the first cocktail party, but then I had to send some of them back to Japan. They’d only been there a very short time, and I’d hardly got to know them, so I felt bad about it. After that, I switched my mind set. I tried my best to get to know them properly. If they couldn’t show themselves within the given time, I wasn’t responsible for that. As a result, I became more confident in giving the roses out. 

Why should people watch this season of The Bachelorette Japan?

I stayed genuine and honestly expressed how I felt to the guys. That meant showing my vulnerabilities and weaknesses. I did things my way and acted around the men the same way I would have done if I’d met them at a party or at a café. It should be fun to watch. I just hope people enjoy it and feel encouraged by it.

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