Whether you have been living in Japan for a long time or have just started living here, you might have been feeling that it is not easy to make Japanese friends. But as you know, having Japanese friends could make your stay in Japan much diverse.
The important thing is that you should try speaking to Japanese people even if you do not speak Japanese very well, as Japanese people tend to be shy when they meet someone who they have not met before.
It does not mean that they do not want to be your friend, they are just too shy to start a conversation, so do not hesitate to be the initiator. If you still feel a bit unsure, then have a look at 8 tips we summarised for you for making Japanese friends:
1. Join a circle/club at university
If you are a student, joining a society/club at your university is one of the easiest ways to make Japanese friends.
Universities usually have a variety of societies/clubs, such as football, tennis, golf, English, and music. Most of them hold meetings or parties regularly and they normally have a drinking party for new members, which is a great chance to get socialized with other members.
2. Language exchange lesson
As you are living in Japan, you must be learning Japanese, or at least try learning Japanese. As there are many Japanese who want to learn other languages, why not try a language exchange lesson? This is a good way to make Japanese friends as well as improve your Japanese.
If you check a notice board at your school or company or post your request there, you can find people who want to learn your language and teach you Japanese quickly.
Once you started the language exchange lesson, it is easier to make friends with your language partner as you have common interests, which is to learn languages.
3. Go to school for learning Japanese
You may be able to take a Japanese course at your school if you are a student. For working people, there are many Japanese schools in Japan where you can learn Japanese.
If you have time and can afford to the school, learning Japanese at a Japanese school would be a good way to make Japanese friends. Basically, the students are all from overseas but the schools normally arrange some parties or event where you can meet Japanese people.
4. Get on well with neighbours
It is not common to share a house/flat/room with someone in Japan. Instead, the relationship with neighbours is very important. When you move in a new room, please do not to forget to visit your neighbours to tell that you have moved in. It is said that you should give them a small present but it is not necessary, especially if you are a student. The most important thing is to visit them and introduce yourself.
If you tell them that you are new to Japan or you are not familiar with the area, they might greet you with a warm heart, show you around and offer help to you. Eventually, neighbours would become your friends.
5. Join the international parties
A lot of international parties are held in Japan. When you want to join the party, you need to register beforehand and pay the entrance fee, which is normally about 2000 JPY, for which you can eat and drink for free there.
The participants are mixed of Japanese who want to make friends from overseas and non-Japanese people who want to make Japanese friends. Some parties have a lot of participants, which could be more than 100 people, but do not freak out and try making friends as many as you can.
6. Learn Japanese traditional culture
There are many classes that you can learn Japanese traditional culture in Japan, such as Japanese flower arrangement, Japanese calligraphy, tea ceremony, and Japanese martial arts. You can find the classes on local papers or online.
This is definitely a good way to learn Japanese, Japanese culture and make friends at the same time.
It is not easy to find a room in Japan as normally you need a guarantor when you rent a room. You will find it difficult to find a nice room especially if you have never lived in Japan before.
Therefore homestay is one of the easiest ways to live in Japan for those who are new to Japan. Your host family will help you start integrating you in Japan, introduce you Japanese customs, Japanese and they could be your friends as well as your family in Japan.
If you are a student, you will be able to ask your school to find a host family for you, and if not, you will be able to ask some agencies which arrange a homestay for people from overseas.
8. Go to bars/clubs
There are many bars and clubs which are popular for foreigners in Japan, especially in Tokyo. They are popular as well for Japanese who want to meet people from overseas and make friends with them.
They are normally busier on Friday and Saturday than weekdays. Some drinks and good music help people get more relaxed and make the conversations cosier.
These are some tips for making Japanese friends in Japan. You do not have to be good at speaking or listening to Japanese. Japanese people are a bit too shy to speak English even if they are good at English, but they do understand English.
The most important thing is that you should try speaking to them and be friendly to them. Then you will find that it is not that difficult to make Japanese friends in Japan.
Friends are precious and the more you make friends, the better your life will be.
I hope these tips could be helpful and enjoy your life in Japan!