How I got my first Japanese Girlfriend

By ken cannon - 12:40 PM

It all started when I was lonely… (not uncommon) and I had just finished my initial 11 months of Japanese study, so I hadn’t met any humans in a long time. (Also, not uncommon)

So, I decided to do it the safe way, online. (less self-confidence required) Also I wanted to meet an actual Japanese person, because up until that point, I had NEVER actually spoken any Japanese to anybody in my entire life.

I could understand anime!...

...But I was literally terrified to test my skills in any practical situation.

And since I didn’t live in a big city or anything, Japanese people in my area were nearly nonexistent, so at that point in my life I had probably met like 1 Japanese person. Maybe…

Anyway, I came across the site Japan Guide, which had a service called Japan Pen friend.

This was before smart phones made it easy, and actually normal to find and meet people online.

(I now occasionally use Hello Talk 

OR for much more advanced students… Saito-san

So, I sent out this message, I still have it to this day and I’ve included it below for your reference…

But My God So CRINGEY!

I love how I was too scared to use actual Japanese, but at the same time, trying to show off what little skills I thought I had, so I sprinkled bits of fake Japanese(romaji) throughout the message.



“Hey Ayaka!

I was searching for a tomodachi to help me with my nihongo. Sore de, I found your profile and thought we could help each other.

I'm not very good at Japanese, I've only been learning for ichi nen kurai ka na?

Demo, I could definitely help you with your Eigo ^^

Ma, sou iu koto nanode,

Yoroshiku onegaishimasu!



Of course, I wasn’t confident enough to think anybody would respond to me normally, so I sent out like 20 of these to anybody with a Japanese sounding name within a 50 miles radius.

And I’ll be damned 6 days later I got a response from an actual human being!



“Hi! Thank you for your message:) I'd like to contact to you! Do you have a skype ID? My ID is ayaka_0518”



So, I added her and since she was online I immediately sent her a message. And after chatting for about 10 to 20 minutes in English, I asked if she wanted to do a quick phone to practice speaking.

Of course, I was sweating bullets inside, but I knew for a fact my spoken Japanese was worlds better than my written Japanese, so I felt like I had to.

And after a pause which felt like an eternity, she responded with


Whew! Ok, here goes nothing I thought, so after a few Kiais screamed into my pillow. I plugged in my headset into my pc and clicked the terrifying green “call” button.

And waited for her to pick up…

It felt like I was at the top of those drop tower rides, waiting for my seat to suddenly fall to my death.


She picked up.


“Hello?” She said

“Hey… A-Ayako?” I stuttered.

And so, I asked a few questions in English, “Why did she come to America?” “How she liked it here?” Slipping in a few compliments here and there. Things were going good so far.

…Ok… Now it’s my turn…

I finally mustered up enough courage to sneak some Japanese into the conversation…

“Sugoi ne!” I blurted out.

 “E?!... un…” She responded, sounding extremely surprised.

And so, feeling my confidence slightly increase I continued…

“Sugoi ne to omotta dake da yo”

And then it started,

She immediately went into a frenzy.

“E dou iu koto?! Mecha nihogo umain yakedo!? E? Maji de!?”  

“Nande!? Nande??!” 

A whirlwind of confusion and astonishment enveloped her.

She couldn’t believe how well I spoke Japanese.

She asked me if I lived in Japan, I responded with of course, no. (the truth of course being I even hadn’t left my room for the last few months… that went unsaid…)

And then we continued to chat for the next 4 hours all in Japanese! It was so amazing!

My first conversation in Japanese, and easily the funnest conversation I’d ever had in my life!

I couldn’t believe how she reacted to my Japanese, I mean I knew I could understand everything Naruto and Sasuke were saying… and I knew I could probably repeat it.

But I had no idea what a year of non-stop 12 hour per day listening to the language did to my pronunciation…

I had come out with nearly accent-less perfect native sounding Japanese.

And it took a good half hour to convince Ayaka I wasn’t playing a bad joke on her and I was actually half Japanese or something.

I didn’t even attempt to tell her it was my first-time speaking Japanese to a human before, she probably would have hung up on me.

But now!

How in the world did I turn the first Japanese person I’ve ever talked to in my life into my girlfriend?

Well of course that’s…

…To be continued…

Moral of story?

You would be shocked at how little time it actually takes to become fluent enough in a language to impress a complete stranger over the phone so much they become your girlfriend.

So really don’t doubt yourself. Most students highly underestimate themselves and what they can achieve in as little as a year.


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