Let's make Japanese friends

Park Heeju

When I said I wanted to study abroad in Japan, my parents objected very strongly. I couldn't speak a word of Japanese, and I had never lived alone before. I kept rebelling and said that I really wanted to study in Japanese graduate school and they still did not allow me to go to Japan. Nonetheless, when I got to Japan, I got homesick so fast and I wanted to go back to my home in Korea. When I was out in town I didn't understand the language and had no one I knew, and when I came back to my apartment it was completely dark and no one was home. I had to cook for myself, too. I cried everyday just like my parents feared.

However, the lonely days were over very soon. I started going to a sports gym in the neighborhood and made a lot of Japanese friends there. Everyone was very kind and we became friends in no time. I had the impression that Japan's living expenses were very high, but once I lived there, I found there are not much different from South Korea. Once you get used to the crowded trains, you will find out that Tokyo is much easier to live in.

When you have Japanese friends you want to be able to speak Japanese, so you will try harder to study Japanese. For me, I only studied when I was in classes at ARC and did the homework. It was enough for me to be able to speak sufficient Japanese now. I have heard that no matter if study abroad in the USA or in Japan; you will usually end up speaking in the group of friends from your own country. However inside ARC campuses, I was advised to speak in Japanese, and I also tried to make Japanese friends. I think this is why my improvement was very fast.

Of course, friends from your country with the same determination to study Japanese language can be a great support. However you are here to study a new language, it surely is much better to have friends who you can speak the language with.