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Visiting Japanese Friend 2015/2/19 23:51
My wife has a college friend from about 10 years ago. We plan to visit her in our first trip to Japan in May 2015. The friend has been informed of our plan, and will take a day off from her work to meet us. But our communication with her has been very slow (sometimes days before her reply), is this a bad sign or if she is just really busy? Also, we want to visit her home or even her parent's home (my wife had contact with her parents over the phone years ago when they were both in college). We do not know if the friend will invite us on her own to her or her parents' home, or if it is appropriate for us to ask?

We only have 8 days in Japan, and my wife plans to spend 2 days meeting this friend. So it is kinda of a big deal for my wife.
by Buggies  

Re: Visiting Japanese Friend 2015/2/20 11:45
Please try a meet at a neutral place, such as a coffee house or restaurant. It is highly unlikely they will offer to meet at their home and please don't push the issue; that will only put undue pressure on them, though you'll never notice it. It's best to meet in a public place. Sometimes the communication can be slow in coming because they may be busy or it's not an appropriate time to read mail or message.
by John B digs Japan rate this post as useful

Re: Visiting Japanese Friend 2015/2/20 12:09
As John said, meet at a neutral place first. If it's been 10 years, both could have changed, and it might be a great meeting, or it might be disappointing. I would also sort of have some plans, like an activity you could invite the friend to do (like karaoke, a museum, etc.) especially if she's taking a day off work. That way you're doing something together, but it's still neutral.

Don't expect her to invite you home. If your wife was a really good friend then she might! But time changes things, and there might be reasons she doesn't, so don't push. I wouldn't even ask, but you can try.

Bring a nice gift for her, and a nice gift for her parents, maybe with a note just in case you don't get to see them. And I'd have a plan B, something else in the area besides the friend you can do if it turns out she's not really as interested in meeting up/doing stuff together, so the trip isn't a waste.
by scarreddragon rate this post as useful

Re: Visiting Japanese Friend 2015/2/20 14:06
It is not common for Japanese to meet at home.
Even more if you haven't been in touch for long time.
Japanese are not straightforward like Westerners: they will never say No to you while they do mean it.
Taking time usually is a fat NO...
And being pushy just makes things worse.
Keep an open mind.
by mike (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Visiting Japanese Friend 2015/2/20 14:43
There are many lazy ladies in JP. Men intend to reply quickly but ladies are late or no response from my past experience.

Japanese people do not invite friends to home unless they are very very close friends. This is because the most Japanese people live in a small house or apartment unless they live in country side(rural residential area). And also, ladies's house is full of clothing, shoes and bags. So I recommend you to meet with the friend at cafe or hotel restaurant etc unless she invites you to home.

If your wife meets with the friend for two days, leave your wife alone one day. Ladies love chattering without guys.

You can ask the friend that you want to meet her parents. Japanese people don't meet their parents so often unless they both well known each other since their child year, they both grown up and attended the same primary school or so etc.
by tokyo friend 48 rate this post as useful

Re: Visiting Japanese Friend 2015/2/20 21:57
Maybe you're from the internet generation, but being in my 50s, my American friends usually reply in weeks, and my European clients reply in two weeks.

As for the parents, just let your wife tell her friend that you'd both like to see them while you're in Japan. It would be up to the friend and her parents to decide the meeting place.

Another reason that the modern Japanese don't invite people to their homes is because very often the homes are way out in the suburbs. It's more convenient to meet people in the city center, and the parents might just want to stay home instead of coming to see you.

Anyway, it would be a great gesture to say that you'd like to see them, and I'm sure the friend would be happy just to hear those words. By the way, it's not uncommon to take a day off for the Japanese to see old friends from far away, so you don't have to worry about her. Just make sure everyone would enjoy the day.
by Uco (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Visiting Japanese Friend 2015/2/20 23:54
Thank you for all the advices, we sure do not want to be pushy which is why we are reluctant to ask. The Japanese friendf reply is slow but so far positive. She is willing to take a day off and suggested we stay at a hotel near Hamamatsu JR station and she will come pick us up (she lives 30 minutes away from the station). She did offer to take us sightseeing, but so far has not mentioned visiting her home.

So, when we do go sightseeing and eat together she will not feel obligated to play host and paying for us, right? I do expect to pay ourselves and her but I donft want to overly object her paying as in some cultures it may be rude? How does a typical Japanese handle situation like this?

by Buggies rate this post as useful

Re: Visiting Japanese Friend 2015/2/21 01:10
If she offers to pay for the meal or tea, it's smart way to accept it then as you see her next day or so, you pay for her meal or tea. She understands and accept that.
by tokyo friend 48 rate this post as useful

Re: Visiting Japanese Friend 2015/2/21 15:43
About paying, I don't think it's anything cultural. I recently saw an American friend in America, and since I insisted we just have tea instead of lunch, she paid for the bulk of souveniors I ordered through her.

A "smart" way to handle these things may be to gesture to reject the offer, and if the payer insists, then let her/him pay, and then you can suggest to go to one more place where you'd discreatly pay the bill before she does. Or if the place (s)he paid for sells things to go, then you can buy them for her/him which may save time.

In Japan, you usually walk to the cashier to pay the bill, but if you ask a waiter(ess) on your way to the restroom, they can discreatly handle the bill for you.

But if you're college friends and you're still young, it's also common to go Dutch.
by Uco (guest) rate this post as useful

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