Looks are not everything. At least, that is what one Japanese dating service is trying to prove - by requiring participants in speed dating sessions to wear white surgical masks. Dating services are booming in Japan as young people brought up in the digital era find face-to-face encounters daunting in ultra-polite Japan, while long work hours add another hurdle. "I think I was able to find out more about their inner selves and not just judge them by their looks," said Ms Chiharu Tsukahara, a 28-year-old office worker. "In this event, personality matters. I quite liked that," she added, as she prepared to leave with her friends for another date. This time, masks were optional.