Making Friends With Mixi

To friends Rocking out in Japan
By now, practically everybody knows about Myspace and other social networking sites like Friendster and Facebook. But, have you ever heard of Mixi? Mixi is a Japanese social networking site, and it’s a good way to make friends and meet people in Japan.

Mixi is the biggest social networking site in Japan, with almost 5 million users. That’s a pretty big chunk of the population of Japan! There are also Mixi members from outside of Japan, too.

You can sign up for Mixi only if you’re invited by a friend. If you live in Japan long enough, you’ll surely get asked, “Are you on Mixi?” and when you answer that you’re not, you will be soon afterwards.

You make an account and then add friends. You can surf your friends’ friends, or do Mixi searches to find interesting people. There are also tens of thousands of Mixi subgroups. These are communities based around common interests, musical groups, stores, and practically anything else that anybody can think of to create a subgroup on.

What’s really big on Mixi is blogs. On most social networking sites, like Myspace or Friendster, you can blog and many people do. But, Mixi is out of control with blogging. Everybody’s posting on Mixi, and if you’re studying Japanese, it’s a great way to work on your reading skills!

Mixi also has photo albums, message boards, and footprints, where you can see who’s been looking at your profile.

Getting Friendly

Lots of people use Mixi to make friends. Japan is a country where people don’t easily walk up and talk to each other, so websites like Mixi allow those with common interests to hook up. But, be warned that randomly requesting people to be your friend probably won’t work so well. Unsolicited friend requests usually get deleted.

The way to make friends on Mixi is to join a community and contribute something to it. At the very least, join in on a community discussion and people will get to know you. This is the best way to make friends on Mixi.

People also use Mixi to make love connections! I have heard of this happening, but I can’t give you detailed information about it. I’m a married man, for goodness sakes! But I will tell you that I’ve heard of people using Mixi as a singles service, and I’m sure there are some Mixi communities devoted to dating.

You should also be warned that there are stalkers who prowl Mixi looking to hook up. I don’t know how they do it, but this is the reason Mixi has a footprints function that allows you to see who’s been checking you out.

If you live in Japan, or are interested in Japan, Mixi is a great way to keep in touch with things. One warning, though – Everything is in Japanese. There is no English Mixi, not yet anyway.

The Art Of Nanpa

Here is a typical story of cross cultural misunderstanding in Japan…

A man from a foreign country walks up to a Japanese woman. He asks her a simple question, for directions to the train station. She doesn’t really speak English, or she doesn’t have much practice anyway, so she points, gestures, grunts, shouts in some form of half-Japanese/half-English… “THERE!” and the interaction is seemingly over.
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