Instant IRL (vs Social Media) Connections Abroad
June 1, 2022 11:00 AM   Subscribe

I'm moving to Kyoto next month, I don't know anyone there, and it would be useful to have IRL connections to help with the lay of the land. My Mormon colleague (I'm in Utah!) jokingly suggested I join the church, because that would totally provide those types of connections, and he's not wrong: something like that - without the religion angle - would be ideal. What other IRL groups could I consider joining to create connections in Kyoto?
posted by my log does not judge to Travel & Transportation around Kyoto, Japan (10 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Change your MeFi location, and you'll see any MeFi members; throw a meetup.

If you don't know how to do this, ask a Moderator, or memail me, or ask in MetaTalk.
posted by theora55 at 11:35 AM on June 1, 2022

Rotary Clubs are generally known for being international and welcoming to travelers from other countries! I haven't personally used them for this purpose but I've heard 100s of anecdotes of exactly this. The only downside is that Rotary can tend a bit older (40s and up primarily) but still an excellent option.
posted by bbqturtle at 1:35 PM on June 1, 2022 [1 favorite]

When I've lived abroad (not in Japan), the local Hash has been a good way to meet other people. It is mostly expats in my experience. If you speak French, Alliance Francaise is good as well (again, primarily expats). Rock climbers are another friendly group, whether you're climbing in a gym or outside. If you don't already climb, indoor climbing is a great place to start.
posted by quadrilaterals at 2:22 PM on June 1, 2022 [1 favorite]

Seconding the sports angle - my brother lived in Japan (as a Westerner) for a decade; he found an English language-friendly dojo and that basically bootstrapped his social network there.
posted by parm at 2:40 PM on June 1, 2022 [1 favorite]

Aaargh! I know the perfect group! I joined a while ago, there was an actual _interview_ process, but it was wonderful -- you could potentially stay in people's homes, but you could also meet people for day visits -- I met the _coolest_ girl who lived in a high-rise in Paris and spent all afternoon with me.

They created this group to build bonds between people and promote peace, years ago. It's not Couch Surfing -- the pre-date CouchSurfing.

I'll try hard to figure it out / find it. It's such an awesome group -- more people should know about it. It's just been sooooo long since I traveled.

Maybe someone else knows this group?
posted by amtho at 3:31 PM on June 1, 2022

Servas! It's Servas International. "Peace and understanding
through travel and hosting."

You can host either in your home (on a couch, in a spare room, there are a variety of options), or just by meeting people who are visiting and staying somewhere else.

You can also, of course, potentially stay with other members -- pretty much anywhere in the world, I think -- or just find another member in your destination town and have lunch, dinner, or a trip to a park or museum or whatever with them.

I think this is close to what you're looking for?

Also: this organization deserves support. I hope everybody looks into it!
posted by amtho at 3:48 PM on June 1, 2022 [7 favorites]

have you checked out kyoto city international foundation?

are you looking at making connections with other expats in the area or japanese locals? kyoto is rather.... standoffish, and it can be hard to make friends.

what sort of activities are you interested in? sports? hobbies?

i'm in osaka, you can memail me.
posted by emmling at 6:35 PM on June 1, 2022

You could do a sake or wine appreciation course. This guy is a little non traditional for sake with his love of ageing all the sake, but I’m sure the bar can point you toward English options. (I’ve not been there but he’s pretty prominent.) There will surely be semi regular sake events once you get on enough mailing lists.
posted by ec2y at 5:49 AM on June 2, 2022

you might find some friends and ask this same question on /r/kyoto
posted by wowenthusiast at 6:18 AM on June 2, 2022 [1 favorite]

If you're a drinking person, finding the local Irish pub (they're everywhere!) is a reliable way to meet fellow expats
posted by Bron at 8:44 AM on June 2, 2022 [1 favorite]

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