Stages of Japanese learning / immersion in the culture

This might be an unpopular opinion or maybe i’m an outlier but i’m slowly beginning to start hating Japanese society, i’m about 4 or 5 years into learning now, i can read novels without much effort. I’ve made so many friends and wonderful memories. But i often feel the inside outsider mentality so tolling. Racism i’ve experienced, judgement etc, assuming i have bad intentions when i’m nothing but positive. it’s really start bringing me down. Usually interactions are fine in small groups, or individually, but when it comes to groups i find it’s going back to highschool, so much back stabbing and talking behind peoples backs.

When i first started i was everything new and sparkling and fantastic, and that evolved into seeing japan as a normal country and its negative parts but now, i can’t seem to push past the negative parts.

It’s really bringing me down, because my love for Japan and the motivation it gave me, it really inspired me to change and improve myself tenfold over these past few years. But with my love slowly fading i’m falling back into my old negative self.

I’ve read about the stages of learning / integrating into a society before and i found this phenomenon. i just wonder am i alone here?

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I recently watched a video of a girl who said she liked being in Japan and the concept of being an outsider because she was comfortable with ‘not belonging anywhere’.
There are many ills about the society but focus on those lovely memories instead. I am used to children clutching their moms when they see me but today for the first time a little girl waved to me. So happy that I thank God. Just for a wave.

Cheer up

just i started this whole journey to make friends and immerse myself, and i tried so hard.
But i have never made a Japanese best friend, it’s forever just acquaintance or fake friend level. I focused so hard on Japan and it has made me lose touch with all my friends from where i’m from…
Maybe it’s just my mental mind state right now that can’t deal with it

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Have you only lived in one place in Japan? It could be just the place you are in and other parts are more inviting.

On not being able to make a Japanese best friend, that is just apart of the culture since most Japanese people find their friends in school, but it seems like maybe you are trying too hard or new to try new things? How have you tried to make friends? Are there other opportunities you have not tried?

I can relate to having a hard time making real friends. I live in Vancouver, Canada and it is a really welcoming place but everyone has their own clique and friends and making real friends or finding your group can be very difficult here and a lot of people struggle with it. I’ve made a lot of friends here that I can tell were basically fake friends or we would always just be people who say hi to each other at bars, but I tried finding new ways to make friends like joining a rec soccer league and groups for my interests and I was able to meet a lot of new people that way. Are you able to do similar things where you live in Japan or have you tried anything like this?

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Making new friends is harder as we grow old no matter where we are. It’s definitely harder when you move to another place. There’s no such thing as best friends, the window for that chance to happen is only open during college years. Plus, every culture has a slight different concept or expectations on what best friends or friends mean, different concept of personal space too.

Don’t feel discourage with having “only” colleagues or acquaintances. Maybe it’s the culture, maybe it’s just age.


Sounds to me that it’s a mixed bag of things what you’re experiencing. Japan seems like living abroad on “hard mode”.
I went living in a country with somewhat similar customs that my own country for about 7 years, different continent, so was visiting home or getting family / friends about once a year. Lot of new friends and experiences the first years (honeymoon period), but as life setted in I found harder to make those long term friendships and close relations with the people I met and the city itself. Besides that the feeling of being a foreigner was always there as well and it didn’t helped one bit whenever I questioned my decision about staying for so long.

(Add social seclusion and totally different language to the mix and you probably get the japanese version of it :sweat_smile: )

In the end I decided on leaving, as it felt I progressively was turning sour over there and affected my whole routine for the last year.

Anyway, best of luck. Don’t blame everything on Japan, as most of it it’s part of the “living abroad” bet (and you can’t always win). I would consider leaving as an option and not necessarily waiting until you totally loathe the place were you are.


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