How to Make Everlasting Friends in Japan

women in red and white kimono standing in front of the temple

People talk about making friends in Japan as if it’s some huge challenge to overcome.

My advice? Work on your hobbies.

A few years back at a talk this friend was involved in, I asked him what he was prioritizing when it came to teaching his children.

’Easy. Hobbies.’ Was the simple reply.

Today that topic came up again in conversation, and my friend said although the circumstances since then have well and truly changed, the answer emphatically stays the same.

Hobbies. Do your hobbies to your heart’s content. Not only do they fill you with joy, they also lead to serendipitous encounters.

Like ours, in fact.

This friend I had met because of his car. If he hadn’t had an American muscle car out in front of his house 12 years ago when I met him, we most likely wouldn’t have ever met.

Frankly, I think his car is a bit of a waste here in rural Japan, especially with the price of gas needed just to get anywhere, but I had enough knowledge about cars to strike up a conversation.

The rest is history.

Work on your hobbies. That way you would or could have some common ground to work from if you ever needed anything to talk about. This helps smooth over the inevitable bumps at the start of a relationship, and gets you to a position where you can make friends for life. I know I have.

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