NAMEGATA, Ibaraki Pref. — With fat black clouds hanging ominously overhead, a sludgy field of sweet potatoes in rural Japan might not seem the best place for a date with the woman of your dreams.

Still, bachelor Naoki Nakai, 33, hopes luck will strike before the rain comes.

"Yes, there could be someone for me here," he nods, glancing at a longhaired beauty in knee-high boots. "There are some nice people here."