I been in Japan best part of 20 years, mostly Tokyo metropolitan area. I have noticed a pattern in the way friendships seem to go. This will probably not apply to many, but would be interested to hear what you guys think, even if you only arrived here last week. Typically, you come here in your 20s, often str8 out of college, and enjoy the neon and the brite lites. You meet a lot of gaijin guys around same age at work and in bars and in sports clubs and have a good social life. After 2 or 3 years, some of the guys you met when you first got here drift off back home or fall off the radar. After about 5 years you realize half of them have left town already, but as buddies are not that easy to replace. Some are married already but that is the last thing you have on your mind. You already feel a big gap in experience with newbies to Japan, in fact you feel a bit superior to them. After 10 years, you find you dont have that many friends at all. The good thing is that you now speak OK Japanese and can read it. You make Japanese friends, female and male, realizing they are actually human and not strange alien creatures. The problem is that they are so fucking busy with their jobs that they sleep all weekend and have no free time to hook up with you apart from when you are outta the country, or at a bonenkai b4 Xmas. You realize you have changed and become a bit Japanese in your way of thinking, but some of the guys you know from 10 years ago still dont speak Japanese and havent changed at all (could also be the other way round). These buddies try hard to retain their culture of origin and meet at Brit theme pubs at weekends to talk about money and football. You wonder if you still have n e thing in common with them. You hang with them sometimes listening to their petty moaning and complaints but would rather be in a hostess bar or getting blown in a pink salon. You keep urself in the closet as far as ur mongering activities are concerned. After 20 years all ur friends still in Japan are (re)married to J-women who you cant stand. Your friends hardly go out n e more, either bcoz they have become lazy boring middle class barstewards or bcoz they are always fried. Their monster status-obsessed J-wife makes gaijin hubby bust his ass to pay for the kids education at an expensive chain of priv8 schools for 16 years bcoz she wants to be able to boast about it to all her friends and neighbors and n e body who mite be listening. You feel really isol8d, especially if u r still single or divorced. In severe cases, you become the alkie drinking alone at the bar who tries to strike up a conversation with everybody who orders a pint. If you are lucky, you have a sidekick in a similar situation who you go out drinking with more than you would like to. People think you are weird, Japanese as well as other gaijins. Do bits of this sound familiar to n e 1 reading this?