If you do not know someone from Japan and would like to meet someone there, a good beginning is to find a Japanese pen pal. Communicating with a Japanese pen pal can help you learn a new language, foster a new perspective on life, and even lead to a visit with your new friend. If you want to contact someone who lives in Japan and become friends, many Internet websites exist to help you find a Japanese pen pal. You can communicate with your pen pal through email, voice chat, text messages, and even regular letters through the postal service. You do not have to speak Japanese to have a Japanese pen pal because many Japanese speak English.
Find a website that contains ads from Japanese people wishing to find a pen pal. Some good websites are http://www.japan-guide.com/local/?aCAT=2, http://www.japan-talk.com/, http://www.mylanguageexchange.com/Pen-pals/Language/Japanese.asp, and http://www.sharedtalk.com/index.aspx?SRC=GAds.SN.en.Penpals.Japanese&gclid=CN7U7cLaup0CFQOenAodEzEHkQ.
Create a user account on the website if it is required. The websites usually require you to do this.
Browse the ads of people who would like to find pen pals and select one or two that sound interesting to you. You can also post your own ad if you do not find an ad that suits you.
Send a message to your selection or selections introducing yourself. Some sites have their own method for relaying the message; other sites give you the prospective pen pal's email address. Follow the directions on the website you use.
Reply to the answer when it arrives, then carry on a continuous conversation with your new pen pal.
- Your initial introductory message to a prospective pen pal should be short and use very simple language. Remember that a Japanese pen pal may not know English very well. Keep the note brief and state that you would like to be the recipient's pen pal. List a few of your hobbies and ask a simple question or two, such as, "Where do you live?" or "What is your favorite school subject?" Sometimes pen pals do not carry on the communication past the first few emails. It is a good idea to choose two or three pen pals initially in case some of them fail to keep writing. Most pen pal websites also list people from other countries and who speak other languages.
- Do not use inappropriate language or ask questions that are too personal in your communications, especially at the beginning. Parents should be aware that some websites for pen pals are geared toward adult dating; children should use websites appropriate for their own age group.
Karren Doll Tolliver holds a Bachelor of English from Mississippi University for Women and a CELTA teaching certificate from Akcent Language School in Prague. Also a photographer, she records adventures by camera, combining photos with journals in her blogs. Her latest book, "A Travel for Taste: Germany," was published in 2015.