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trouble making japanese friends 2011/11/29 12:09
I like to think I am a very nice girl, but for some reason I find myself having trouble making friends of japanese descent. The first few months here at my university were rough, with the first instance being my japanese roomate because she disliked my opionated side (my boyfriend jokes that I should go into politics), and she basically complained to all of her japanese friends about me, which I did not think was typical in the Japanese culture. Anyways, whenever I ask Japanese girls if they would mind hanging out sometime, they always say they are busy. They have my cellphone number and never text me to hang out. Things are especially frustrating because my American friend is making Japanese friends, and she is also opinionated (but I am not sure if it's only with me, because we both enjoy political chat sessions). On top of being an equal rights opportunist I'm also a feminist. This situation has aroused some stress since I am studying abroad in Japan and my major is Japanese. Should I change my major and give up on traveling to Japan, or am I supposed to keep my mouth shut and not be as "talkative"? If anyone has any advice on this, it's much needed.
by mermaid2500 (guest)  

Re: trouble making japanese friends 2011/11/30 23:34
There is nothing wrong with being opinionestic. But the problem with you might be you are more into being heard than listening. Also remember talking about politics and religions should be avoided unless you are in a group of people who came to talk about them. Start with talking about light hearted topics. It is nothing to do with Japan or Japanese.
by . (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: trouble making japanese friends 2011/12/1 14:18
yeah, you should try to avoid talking passionately about politics, religion, and other touchy topics until you are actually friends with people. When you're just meeting people and getting to know them, stick to finding out about them and their hobbies, etc. Once you are friends and not just acquaintances, then you'll know when you can get into stickier subjects like politics, etc.

or, you can look for groups that meet to discuss and debate those things. this way you'll quickly find people to talk about such things right away and not have it turn them away from you.
by hopuchan rate this post as useful

Re: trouble making japanese friends 2011/12/1 21:18
TBH, it's hard to offer good advice here as there's so much we cannot know about you and your communication style and the various reasons why things are not working out as you'd hoped.

What is clear is that you consider yourself an outspoken and opinionated person who also feels strongly about feminist issues. These things are all fine and good in the West but are quite likely to be at the root of the problems you're having, ESPECIALLY if you tend to put your ideas across in a fairly confrontational style.

While of course there are exceptions to every rule, generally, Japanese (and girls in particular) tend to avoid any topic of conversation that could cause any discord to the group harmony and strongly voiced opinions are likely to cause just that. If your previous roommate has spread the word that you're strongly opinionated and fiercely feminist, that probably explains why you're not having much success with the Japanese around you.

Sometimes, even when we believe in things strongly, it doesn't pay to voice those opinions to anyone who'll listen and in Japan that's doubly so...

If your American friend is having more success, you might try asking her to find out what the general consensus is about you and then you'll have more information at hand and perhaps a way to do something about it.

However if, at the end of the day, being able to push your opinions and proclaim your beliefs is more important than having a fulfilling social life and having harmony around you, then perhaps Japan is not the right place for you after all...
by Kuchisaki Onna (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: trouble making japanese friends 2011/12/1 22:41
It's not an either/or thing.
You can be opinionated, etc. and still have friends in Japan.

HOWEVER, in Japan as well as in any country you have to be open and approachable and likable.

As has been suggested, relationships take time to build and people are not nearly as outward in Japan as the US, for example. You could be very close with someone for years but never see their home or meet their family even if they are in the same neighborhood.

Are you overwhelming yourself and others with the need to assert your opinion and the fact that you are a feminist?

The feminism issue is a difficult one anywhere because the question is, "what is power"? I would bet most women you talk don't see themselves as marginalized.

You should be careful that you are not pushing your "ideal" of what a woman should be onto others.
Western women often come to Japan and see what they want to see without ever attempting to see Japanese women for who they are, which in itself is the ultimate form of sexism.

Friendship requires two-way communication.
by kyototrans rate this post as useful

Re: trouble making japanese friends 2011/12/5 15:20
Have you posted a penpal or find friends ad on this websight. You can post an ad that explains about what kind of friends you are looking for. I have a few penpals from this sight. It does take a while to build friendships, but don't give up. Have fun with your college experience.
by Travelman rate this post as useful

Re: trouble making japanese friends 2011/12/5 18:18
Remember Japan is a different place then the West. I'm American and you sound like you might be American as well ? If you're very opinionated and confrontational you may have a problem making friends in Japan. the only exceptions may be Japanese who have lived overseas for a while and are used to that type of thing. The trouble I have encountered in Japan is not making friends but keeping them over the long-term. I had some really good friends in Japan and then they just decide to disappear. Not sure why that is. The only real success I have had is making friends with Japanese who have lived overseas.
by frank65 rate this post as useful

Re: trouble making japanese friends 2011/12/8 06:01
Look for people who are looking for friends, basically.

Something we find is that typically, Japanese tend to associate more with those that they with in school and work. Look into finding work at an office, or some place where you're around people for a longer period of time. Also, don't be afraid to drink! When I first got here, I didn't warm to people very well because I avoided going to izakaya or clubs.
by tensei (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: trouble making japanese friends 2011/12/8 20:35
I'd say go outside of your University to find friends. You can place classified ads on websites, or find a Japanese conversation partner.
by edincoat rate this post as useful

Re: trouble making japanese friends 2011/12/10 07:00
by =ω=b (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: trouble making japanese friends 2011/12/28 14:38
So I tried finding a pen pal, but after a few emails they kinda stopped writing to me and I didn't do anything. I also got cut from the Japanese fashion show at my school because I put on a few pounds, which I felt was pretty unfair. To make a long story short, I am starting to feel like I am not meant to have any Japanese friends, even though I speak 日本語 pretty good. Would it be fatalistic to give up hope up all of Japanese mankind? To be honest, the Japanese students at my school have been nothing but rude to me, and I always imagined them to be kind and understanding. Oh well. Atleast I still have my cool american friends...

by mermaid2500 (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: trouble making japanese friends 2011/12/28 14:57
Why not see if there are any places looking for volunteers? Those can be great places to meet new people =)
by Watashi (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: trouble making japanese friends 2011/12/31 14:09
Try listening instead of talking. Don't give your room mate anything to talk about. Vent all of your opnions onto your boyfriend. Try a different approach but maybe with a different group of people, it's obvious your room mate and her friends don't like you. Birds of a feather tend to stick together
by huggyssupreme rate this post as useful

Re: trouble making japanese friends 2011/12/31 22:59
People don't like others trying to press their opinions onto them, a lot of foreigners don't like it especially. There's a reason people say they don't like Americans more collectively than usual...well, here in the UK especially, at least, and this country is particularly multicultural.

When making friends, you should show interest in them rather than yourself. If anything, you can always go to conventions and try to pick up friends there, but keep your opinions to yourself and keep the feminist thing under wraps.

I'll tell you this now; not many women like feminists because they see them as stereotypically bitchy and they don't think feminists represent women. They may be feeling like you're going to try and change them in a way they don't want to change, is all. It's bad enough when feminism is often related to fascism by some people. Japanese girls tend to be the manly beef of their country while the males are the passive grass eaters, if you get my drift.

What you're going through is a typical college/university thing and isn't exclusive to any country. Loosen up, dress fun and go places where you may find people who share your interests. It's not as hard as you think, but it's a case of keeping opinions to yourself.

It's why people don't tend to like their politicians lol
by Mogtaki rate this post as useful

Re: trouble making japanese friends 2012/1/1 14:32
I understand that you are upset. It might be because of the environment and people you are surrounded with, or because you are a vocal American feminist and they are unconscious Japanese girls. We don't know.
Girls can be really mean in any countries and I've known that from my experiences.

One thing you might keep in mind is that people have their own priorities and different attitudes towards gender relations. For instance, you shouldn't be strongly asserting your moral and ethical superiority while your view is that of a North American feminist that developed in a very specific geographical and historical conditions. It would sound too unrealistic or out of focus for people that surrounds you. If you take interest in feminism, it might be worthwhile to learn how Japanese feminism or gender studies developed in its own circumstances (that does not mean that the Japanese version is superior or inferior to North American tendencies).

Both inside and outside the university, there should be groups taking interest in debates, political activism, and volunteering. I'd have to say though that the political system and culture is quite different here in Japan. Which is better is open to debate ^_^. We have our own share of ***holes like Aso, Hatoyama, and Kan whereas you'd have George W. Bush and Newt Gingrich (pardon me if you are Republican).

by Don't be too upset (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: trouble making japanese friends 2012/1/2 15:10
When did you first come to Japan? You might just be feeling culture fatigue to an extent. Pay attention to your surroundings and the situation, try to get a feel for what people say not through their words, but through their body language... if you don't know much Japanese it may be all you have to go off anyways.

Along these lines, maybe hold off on making those comments about feminism. If your in a group of feminists, who are talking about sexism in Japan, then is probably an example of when you can share some of those ideals.

There is a lot to consider with anything when communicating Japanese so also don't forget to take it slow, especially if communicating in Japanese. Don't forget that if you're talking in English in Japan, Japanese culture and etiquette still applies.

It might be cool to have some foreign friends to hang out with once every 3-4 months when times like this get rough, but try to keep it minimal. Your in Japan, try to learn as much of the culture as possible while you can. You can enjoy more about Japan as you learn more about it. Just keep an open mind, listen to advice given to you, maybe try to befriend some older Japanese people. Generally speaking, old Japanese people are bored and looking for a good chat with anyone. They will talk to foreigners about Japanese etiquette more openly and usually have a lot of life-experiences for you to benefit from.

Although yeah mastering the ability to pay attention for 2 hours is going to be difficult at first, but old people are actually going to be a great starting point.
by DenshiDude rate this post as useful

Re: trouble making japanese friends 2012/1/2 20:15
Talk to your American friend who seems to be making progress with connecting with Japanese students. I have the terrible feeling you have made a classic 'American' error of accidentally applying your cultural beliefs and background aggressively. I have seen this in action more in the older generation Americans visiting Europe rather than the Young but if you have strongly held beliefs you will do it without even realising you are.

Firstly don't give up. Secondly examine your own approach. By this I mean are you trying to teach or are you trying to learn. Thirdly observe. Particularly your American friends that are making friends. You are the alien here so it really is down to you to adapt.

You probably don't know you are doing it but maybe some way you are approaching things makes you seem confrontational so just try to review what you are doing.
by Willau rate this post as useful

Re: trouble making japanese friends 2012/1/11 03:34
So yesterday I went to a friend's birthday party and she had her Japanese friends there. They seemed really interested in having conversation with me, so I talked them up without being opinionated or anything. My friend herself is pretty opinionated herself, so I can't understand why those Japanese students like her and not me... (I know, it sounds childish). Anyhow, I felt like I made a connection with her J-friends, so I suggested that they add me on facebook (in response, they said they would try, which in my opinion, is a polite no). So I sent them friend requests, and they ignored them! I don't understand it. I'm attractive, I'm nice, my boyfriend and friends adore me, and I have kept my opinions to myself. It just hurts me that my american friends can make friendships with the Japanese and I can't! The only means of communicating with japanese people around my age is through this site (it's going pretty well, actually). But why am I having such a hard time making friends at my university?? My friend said something about me "being too flirtacious", and I guess I am a bit flirty in nature, with no romantic intentions. I flirt with both males and females lol. I wish there was some way I could accomodate my personality in a way that it would make it easier to make more japanese friends...
by mermaid2500 (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: trouble making japanese friends 2012/1/11 03:36
I live in America, btw.
by mermaid2500 (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: trouble making japanese friends 2012/1/11 09:30
Well, I don't know you personally so I can't comment on the flirting thing, but have you considered that you may be acting too extroverted? If you thought their saying they were going to try to add you on Facebook was a polite no, why press the issue and send them friend requests instead of letting them add you if that's what they really want?

My only piece of advice is to be friendly, but not obtrusive; some people (myself included) just don't appreciate being engaged into social interactions all the time, especially when the other person is actively trying to get a response. It may be that you appear to be trying too hard, and this might unconsciously rub people the wrong way (e.g., give them the impression that you're only interested in them because they're Japanese).
by Pirilampo rate this post as useful

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