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Lonely Japan?


29 Nov 2007
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Hello everyone =) I've recently started my first year of college and I have a chance to go to Japan (and many other countries) for various amounts of times over the next 4 years. I'm 19, and through out my life I've always had a close and tight-knit group of friends, I'm not the most socially flexible person nor am I the least. But it usually takes me a while to get comfortable around people and I float towards kind and caring types of people (my generation lacks this). Combine this with a lack of language ability and the "gaijin factor" and I have some worries.

I would like to travel to Japan and study very much, but I don't want to go and be alone or feel down most of the time. I think this is a legitimate concern and I'm probably not the only one who's worried about it happening to them. I am prepared to "put myself out there" and take chances though. I would either be in a dorm or a hotel with other American students if I went.

Has anyone here ever experienced this? Been scared about traveling to a different country for the first time? Please give me advice and/or tell me about your personal experiences. I suppose I could always work on my social skills for a few years before going, but I'm so tempted to go as soon as I can =)


25 Nov 2004
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Some people claim that when you're a jet or a college student, your friends are dictated to you due to the language factor. There is some truth to this. On my study abroad there were only 4 of us. Two of the other guys, I got along w/ quite well. The 4th was a bit of an oddball, but not a bad guy.


Just me
20 Aug 2003
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If you're going to be here several times in the next 4 years, that sounds like very short-term adventures. So, you really shouldn't expect to make any close friends anyway. Japanese people are rather hard to get close to, also. Friendly on the outside, but not close until you have built up a relationship.

If you are going to visit schools, be aware that most college-age Japanese may have gone through 6 years of English education in JHS and HS, but it didn't focus on conversation. As a result, that and their innate shyness and fear of making mistakes will mean you will have to initiate lots of conversation. Learn some Japanese and don't be afraid of making mistakes, because many Japanese figure we foreigners can't learn it anyway.
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