For newcomers or current residents in Tokyo, where people are known to sometimes come off as cold and distant, attempting to chat up a complete stranger on the street or in a bar can make even the biggest social butterfly feel shy.

“I’ve been in Japan for two and a half years and I couldn’t find the right peers. I came to a point where I was super-introverted,” says Joji Kurosawa, who moved to Tokyo from the Philippines in 2011. “But I know in myself that I’m a very social person.”

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