When I came to Japan the first time my social network consisted of fellow exchange students and my Girl Scout troop. This time around, however, as my time in Japan lengthens, my social network has developed. I have Japanese friends I've met through working at the museum and elsewhere, other foreign students (at my school and others as well as those at North American schools here doing research), Japanese students in my program, and all sorts of Girl Scout friends. In addition, a while back I joined an online discussion board called 'Being A Broad,' and I've really enjoyed reading the blogs of other Western women in Japan. Finally, although my class schedule has made it impossible until now, today I was able to go to my first Stitch and Bitch in Tokyo. Since it is the middle of Obon holidays, there were only 3 other knitters (one was 10 years old), but I had a great time.
While I am nowhere close to needing advice about managing Japanese in-laws, finding a doctor for a pregnancy, building a home, or choosing a school, the conversation was fascinating and opened up a whole new world for me. It may seem obvious, but I suddenly realized that I don't have any Western female friends who live here long term or who are married to Japanese guys. No matter what may happen in my love life, if I want to stay here after my studies are over, then I'll need/want that. These women can offer invaluable advice and a whole new and very important social network. Besides, meeting other knitters is pretty cool!
I am definitely looking forward to the next meeting I can attend and getting to know the SnB women better.