I just friended another Tokyo friend on Facebook only to discover he is connected to 3 of my other friends, all from different segments of my Tokyo life. The foreign community here is amazing in that there do not exist many of the enmities you’ll find in other places. Not only do the Israelis and Palestinians and the Indians and Pakistanis party together here, but you’ll even find the British and the French civilly chatting over a drink. Whenever I crash a picnic or party, I now expect to see several friends and acquaintances. And most of these are not fellow Americans. They range from South Africans to Uzbekistanis. My Japanese friends here also tend to be more international, and show up at the same spots.
Whenever I feel over-socialized, I now have to head far out of town and poke my head into a new coffee shop. If I see no one I know, I sigh in relief, and settle into a good book, knowing I’m not going to be disturbed for a few minutes by a familiar face.
I will admit that I do much of my studying at coffee shops where I am guaranteed the distraction of friends. And even a good book has only so much draw. After an hour of reading, I’m talking to the person next to me whether I knew them previously or not. Two minutes in I’ll inevitably hear “Are you on Facebook?“