Making English-Speaking Friends in Japan (The Easy Way!)

Loneliness by Giuseppe Milo @ Flickr

Whether you’re a seasoned traveler or someone that is living overseas for the very first time, there is always one thing that hits home the hardest when living abroad; loneliness.

Loneliness differs greatly from homesickness. For example, with homesickness most people often:

These feelings, however, do not affect everyone and can often be subdued by hobbies, working, and sightseeing. Loneliness, on the other hand, can have a much more profound effect on a higher percentage of foreigners living abroad by themselves. We as humans, for the most part, crave interaction. Whether it’s companionship, friendship, or friendly rivalry, It’s how we can express ourselves, share experiences, and grow. Before I get into how to make friends, let me share a little personal context with you.

Having been born in Switzerland and getting to travel around the world when I was younger, thanks to my late grandmother, I felt very much at ease in most other countries and never really felt “homesick”. When I first started working in Japan, I was sent to the small town of Kure in Hiroshima prefecture. The town itself was small enough that I could ride my bicycle from one end to the other in roughly 30-35 minutes. The main city of Hiroshima was a 45-minute train ride away, and neighboring towns were mostly residential districts, offices, and farmland. I was the only worker in my company that lived in the area, with most of my co-workers living in or near the main city.

The first month was great. I spent my time exploring my new environment and seeing the sights of the town. I rode my bike to the neighboring islands …continue reading