Is it hard to make friends with Japanese people?

If you are a foreigner who just starts a new life in Japan, you will find yourself lonely in a completely new country and new society. The first thing you want to do is to make friends, with as many people as possible. Making friends with Japanese people not only make you less lonely, it also help you improve your Japanese. How and where do you find Japanese friends? Are they hard to make friends with?

Let me tell you a story of an American friend of mine. He was drunk and fell asleep on a bench in the park. A Japanese couple found him and rushed to him to see if he was okay. They invited him to a restaurant to have breakfast and paid for his meal (he didn’t have a cent on him). They spent hours talking and he said that it was the longest time he ever spoke Japanese. And they were two strangers he met in a park.

I have another friend who was dying for a chance to speak with Japanese people to improve his Japanese. He said he was tired of speaking English in Japan. He came to a university near his house and tried to make a conversation with the students. Most of them weren’t interested in talking to him at all. He asked me why Japanese people are unfriendly like that, and he was over the moon when I introduced him to my Japanese friends. He kept thanking me for giving him the chance to meet Japanese people.


My teacher at Japanese language school once asked me and my classmate where we found Japanese friends. Most of us would say we found them at our workplaces. Having a part-time job is the best way for you to meet Japanese people and make new friends. When I first arrived in Japan, I was dying to join some clubs, like Karate club to practice my favorite martial art and make new friends. I never had a chance to because I was too busy moving, studying and working. I met all of my Japanese friends through my part-time jobs, and they introduce me to even more friends.

If you are too busy studying and don’t have time for a part-time job, you can find Japanese friends online. The best place would be the Skype community. There are many Japanese people who want to talk to foreigners to improve their English. You can do a language interchange chat session with them, your Japanese will improve a lot. Some day you can even ask them to meet you in real life. Another good place to meet Japanese people is at bars or clubs. Not the expensive and big one, just go to some place cheap and small. There are a lot of bars in Ikebukuro or Roppongi. Go there and make a conversation. You’ll see that they’re more than happy to talk to a foreigner.

So, are Japanese people hard to make friend with? No, not at all. All of my Japanese friends are very nice to me. They make me feel thankful for my decision to go to Japan. I never had any problem making a conversation with them. They were friendly right from the start. When they learned that I was about to leave Japan, they gave me amazing gifts! They were so nice to me that I even felt guilty about it. Don’t ever think that Japanese people are not friendly. Some people might find it hard to talk to a total stranger, so you should be the one who breaks the ice. You just need to be yourself and your Japanese friends will like you for who you are.

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