Do you think that it’s easy to make close friends in Japan?

by Jared Newmeyer

Taka Kudo
Flight attendant, 37
In general I think it’s difficult. It’s changing; now people only care about themselves, and everything’s become consumerism-focused. People get big apartments and separate themselves.

Nobuhiro Isono
Video cameraman, 24
It’s easy, because it’s a welcoming culture. Because I was born here I have a lot of friends from school. If you have a big group of people with the same interests, that helps.

Evan McGinnis, 21
Ad agency exec (U.S.)
People seem really welcoming, but maybe I’m just seeing American networking in Japan. People are very friendly, but there is a businesslike attitude to almost all relationships.

Karin Shi
Student (Chinese)
It is not that easy. Japanese people are not very familiar with strangers or foreigners, and people don’t easily talk to each other about things. They are very private people.

David Fischer
Biotech, 38 (American)
Unless you speak Japanese, or you know people who speak English well, the language barrier is your biggest problem. It’s possible to get along, but both sides need to make an effort.

Rie Danjo, 25
Homeopathic medicine
If I want to, it’s easy. Other times people can be difficult. I’m from Osaka, and most of my good friends are still down there. People need to want to make friends with you for a reason.