Are you in Japan? Are you a “gaijin”? Most important thing, are you “baka”? (you don’t need to be, but the site is Baka Gaijin so I just want to include this question, gotta stick to the theme! haha)
Well, you are in luck because I am about to share with you, through this post, all the things that I have done just to fill this empty void in me while I was alone, new, and gaijin in Japan.
There are a lot of volunteer activities in Japan, but I will only share the ones that I did since I started living here which are activities related to animals and kids.
If you are an animal lover, you can try to volunteer (by yourself or with friends) in Animal Refuge Kansai (ARK). They have Osaka ARK and Tokyo ARK. They currently do not have shelters in Tokyo so volunteer activities in this area are only limited to fostering and event volunteering. Meanwhile in Osaka, volunteer activities include kennel cleaning, dog walking, playing with cats and dogs, and other more. There are more volunteer activities in Osaka because they have a shelter in this area, but it is far away from the city. I remembered when I volunteered there once, my friends and I had to take a train, and then taxi just to get to the place where the shelter is located. Check out this post for my volunteer experience in Osaka ARK.
If you like kids, and interact with other volunteers from different countries, English Camp is the volunteer activity for you. They have volunteer events in different regions of Japan so you don’t need to worry if you live in the Kansai or Kanto area. They also offer different kinds of incentives to volunteers, one is when you get paid, and the other is when they offer free accommodations, transportation, and food. I got to know about this camp thru one of their Facebook page – English Camp（国際交流&イングリッシュキャンプ）. I attended English Camp for about 3 times now, and it’s all fun (it is also quite tiring because kids like to run and play around, but it’s fun cardio exercise so why not? haha). And one more thing, volunteers also gather for dinner after the end of camp just to get to know each other. I wanted to create a separate post about my English Camp experiences, but it is not allowed to post pictures with the kids so just try it out yourself, and let me know if you had fun (I hope you will).
Attend a Meetup event
Meetup is a service to organize different kinds of events such as sports, language exchange, travel events, and many other more. Meetup is NOT a dating app, but if you get lucky, you may be able to meet someone in one of the events with the same interest as you. You can install Meetup application on your phone, and check events that are available near your area. I was introduced to a Meetup badminton event by a workmate. On the first Meetup event that I attended, I played with people from different countries, then we ate dinner together. That was the first time that I have ever gone out with a group of people from different countries, and it was fun (I call it the awakening haha). More of these personal Meetup stories in my other post, check it out.
There are other activities that can be done in Japan.
For relaxation, you can do yoga or pilates (these events are also available in Meetup though). Lately, I started going to The Vancouver Sky Studio to try pilates and yoga. They offer trial classes, and yoga/pilates sessions in English.
If you want to immerse yourself in a community, you can also try going to church. There are Catholic/Christian churches in Japan, and most of the people there will gladly help you out. (Disclaimer: I am not a religious person, but I had experiences going to church in Japan, and I can say that they have a strong community there.)
Lastly, if you just want to chill in your own home, this is also an option. Stay in your bed, be lazy, and watch anything on Netflix, Prime Video, or Youtube (Japan’s Internet is quite fast). You do you.
If you are like me who likes doing things actively and physically, but not a traveler nor a learner, volunteering and attending sports events are recommended for you. Netflix and chill is also an option though.