If you are visiting or living in Japan, I’ll share some quick tips on how to make some Japanese friends fast. I’ll cover some phrases for getting a persons LINE contact, places to go, and how to keep in touch.
Before you go to Japan the first thing to do is get the app below, because it’s what all Japanese people are using now to call, text, and group chat. It’s free and all you need it WiFi.
1 – Get the LINE app
If you meet someone and they show you around just ask if they have a LINE id.
To get a Line in Japanese you will say, “LINE koukan shiyou”
Lets become become friends in Japanese is “tomodachi ni narimashiou.”
With LINE you can search for users by ID. This is the easiest way to add someone.
If you absolutely need a Japanese cell phone, then it is simple enough to obtain a cell phone this way.
LINE profile picture
A quick tip is to change your LINE profile picture to something people will recognize. I’ve got so many friends that I have trouble remembering who they are, but they all can recognize me.
Facebook is probably the #1 way to find people who have events going on in Japan. Another way is to search events in the Facebook search bar by typing the Japanese word for festival (まつり).
You might have to use Google translate for a few pages but you will be getting information not many people know about by doing this.
But if all else fails you can just use the romanji and you will find an event.
Ask for directions
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been lost at the station or a new location in Japan. Often times, if you ask a Japanese person to help you, they will go out of their way and sometimes guide you to where you need to go.
Ask: “Annai shi masu ka?” (Can you guide me?)
It doesn’t matter where I go, I will always get lost and will have to use this phrase or a variation.
Pro-tip: Taxi drivers are not helpful at all. I’ve never met a Japanese taxi-driver that knew where anything was unless there where specific directions.
3 – Speak Japanese
You don’t have to speak a high level, but being to do the basics will get you a long ways. I will teach you a quick shortcut for speaking Japanese for the sake of communicating and making friends.
The further you get outside of Tokyo, the less English speakers you will encounter. So if you want to make friends you will probably need to know some basic phrases.
I’ll give a quick example of what I mean. If you don’t know the technical term for something like, the train station driver, what you can do is say something like, “Densha no hito” and point to the front of the train.
Densha means train, hito means person. Roughly translated this means, “Train person.”
Often times, Japanese people will fill you in on the correct word, which is 車掌 (Shashou). I do this quick hack for everything.
You can extend this example even further into verbs.
“パンを作る” (pan wo tsukuru) I make bread.
It’s the same meaning but you don’t have to constantly strain your brain to remember every specific type of verb like “bake”, “sew”, “dye” “ride” and other specific action verbs.
I use this shortcut all the time if I don’t know what a specific person’s job title is, or I can’t remember a verb to use. I may talk further about this topic because it’s just a quick way to communicate and often times the person you are talking to will fill you in on the correct word to use.
Staying in touch
If you want to stay in touch the main way is by using LINE or Facebook. Facebook is less common but is starting to catch on. It’s not uncommon for people to not have it.
In a few years this could change.
Here is a summary:
- Get the LINE APP
- Lets become become friends in Japanese is “tomodachi ni narimashiou.”
- To get a Line in Japanese you will say, “LINEkoukan suru?”
- Ask for directions and use my quick hack for speaking Japanese
- Check for meeting and events. Use katakana, and hiragana to find things no one else knows about