Foreigners living in Japan have a big problem.
In fact, many foreigners who live in Japan say that it is really difficult to make friends with Japanese. So It’s no wonder they feel lonely while living in Japan. So today I’d like to explain why you can’t make friends with Japanese people.
Japanese don’t make friends abroad either
When I first heard about this problem, I thought it was a problem only in Japan, but after reading some blogs of the various Japanese who lives abroad, I realized that Japanese people also lament that they can’t make friends with local people in that country.
For example, this blog is about a Japanese woman who has lived in Australia for 20 years. She is married to an Australian and speaks good English, yet she claims to have only two Australian friends. And an Australian is a girl who got married with japanes guy and another person loves japanese culture. So they are rare Australians in that country.
She explained that the reason for her lack of friends was “the difference in experience between Australians and Japanese”. She said that no matter how good her English was, it was not easy to transcend these differences in experience and become friends. For example, she is a migrant to Australia, so she has had to deal with some of the hardships of being a migrant. However, Locals who were born in Australia can’t really relate when she talks about her concerns about getting a visa because no Australian lives in fear of getting an Australian visa.
Also, a Japanese person who has lived here in the US for over 20 years said she doesn’t have many local friends. Her only American friend was born in France and returned to the US with a wealth of international experience. When she try to talk to Americans who have never been out of the United States, she said, they seem to feel too much of a burden to talk to Asians who can’t speak like natives and don’t seem to get along with her.
The Japanese aren’t particularly closed off
These examples from the United States and Australia show that the Japanese are not particularly closed off compared to their counterparts. It’s not that Japanese people “hate” foreigners, but they don’t have interest to foreigners. They are indifferent to foreigners and have no intention of knowing your culture in depth. So, unless you are very knowledgeable about Japanese culture and speak Japanese very well to show them that you are an interesting and friendly foreigner, they will not talk to you.
In the end, people make friends with people just like them
Japan is also becoming more and more open. So in after 60 years, it will be as open as the UK or Germany today. I don’t think it will be possible for my generation. But if you wait for another 60 years, a 20 year old’s guy will be 80 years old, so I would like to give you some advice on how to communicate well with Japanese today.
1) Learn B2 level of Japanese.
Japanese is a very difficult language, but if you really want to make friends with Japanese people, you need B2 level of Japanese. Japanese people respect foreigners who have a higher level of Japanese language ability, and I have often seen them opening their hearts to others. Therefore, I think you should aim for B2 first. If you are a foreigner from Europe you will need to study every day for 2-3 years. It’s hard, but it’s absolutely necessary. It’s hard to get used to your friends speaking English.
(2) Come here when you’re as young as possible.
Japanese culture is so unique that it is very difficult for Europeans and Americans to adjust to it after 30 years of age. So it is very important to experience Japan at a young age. My recommendation is to study in Japan for a year when you are 20 years old. Then you will know whether you are a suitable person to Japan or not, and it is ten times easier to absorb Japanese culture when you are young than when you are 30.
3) Don’t make friends with ordinary Japanese people
After all, normal Japanese people aren’t very interested in foreigners and they don’t know how you feel about them. So you may not need to make friends with them. If you are very fond of Japanese culture, it might work out well, but wouldn’t it be easier to find an international Japanese person in Tokyo to make real friends with? For this reason, it is recommended for the average foreigner living for a long period of time to live in Tokyo. Provincial cities are probably the most difficult areas for foreigners to live in.
Lastly, it is not easy to make real friends, either in a foreign country or in your home country. It would be important to live with the understanding that you only have as many as you can carry your own coffin.