Tweet MeThe best example of making friends later in life is the infamous Seinfeld two part story of Season 3 episodes 17 and 18. Seinfeld meets a baseball player played by himself, Keith Hernandez.  Hernandez has just moved to New York and he starts up a relationship with Jerry (not gay). The story arc concludes with Seinfeld “breaking up” with Hernandez and Jerry giving an apology to Hernandez that he is ending the relationship because Jerry is too old to have new friends, “It’s not you it’s me”. This is largely the case back in the mother country. You have a set of friends that you usually grow up with and some associates you meet from work.

So when you live outside your normal areas of operation things get complicated. You lose that base of friends and if your co-workers are losers you’re basically screwed, what are you going to do? Go to the bar to meet guys?

Here in Japan things are compounded by the fact that about 75%-90% of foreigners in Japan are … off. Either they were crazy and didn’t “fit in” in Western society and so came to Japan, or Japan has made them crazy. When I came to Japan these crazy people were quite a shock to the system and I really had to do some soul searching, as in “am I as screwed up as these freaks?”

As a measure of protection against these people, foreigners have a sort of unspoken understanding: Just because you’re a foreigner doesn’t mean we’re friends. This unspoken understanding manifests itself in avoiding eye contact, taking pains to avoid striking up conversations, etc. We go through these motions because that Gaijin (foreigner) on the train might be and more than likely probably is one of the majority of insane punters in Japan.

When you first come to Japan it’s not a big deal because you usually work at a crappy job with people who like yourself are just off the boat and everything is all shiny and new.  But then as the years pass by those people that you initially met return to their ports of origin, leaving you hopefully with a hardcore group of long timers (Luckily, I fall into this group).   But others are left in a sea of Japanese; lonely and sometimes desperate for male Gaijin, companionship longing for an I love you bro event.   I see them on the trains and I’m tempted to talk to them but chances are they’re “Kuro-Kuro PA” (Japanese for crazy) and even if they aren’t then they’re still just collateral damage of the “Just because you’re a foreigner doesn’t mean we’re friends” policy.

If you like this then, you should check more from the “Japan ain’t so fucked up” series:

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