With Tokyo being the great metropolis that it is, there is a variety of avenues for networking and building new friendships from expat business groups and professional organizations, to private membership clubs and interest groups. There are a variety of ways to identify these groups, including Metropolis Magazine (http://www.metropolis.co.jp) and Tokyo Meetup Groups (http://www.meetup.com/cities/jp/tokyo/).
Business and Professional Organizations
Chambers of Commerce are a great networking source including the American Chamber of Commerce (http://www.accj.or.jp) which is the most active foreign Chamber in Japan, the British Chamber of Commerce (http://www.bccjapan.com), and the Canadian Chamber of Commerce (http://www.cccj.or.jp), among others. The main goal of these Chambers of Commerce is to strengthen business ties between Japan and their country. They often hold social activities to encourage networking. See each specific Chamber website for more information.
Some of the more prominent organizations for networking include:
- The Entrepreneur Association of Tokyo (http://www.ea-tokyo.com), led by Dave Mori, an entrepreneur himself. EA-Tokyo was founded to promote and support entrepreneurship in Japan.
- Caroline Pover founded Being A Broad (http://www.being-a-broad.com) in 1997 to help women make the most of their lives in Japan.
- Foreign Executive Women (http://www.fewjapan.com) provides foreign women in Japan with a professional and social network connecting more than 200 members.
- The Tokyo American Club (http://www.tac-club.org) is a full-service membership club including dining facilities, fitness center (including a swimming pool), book and video library, and other services. At the close of 2007, the Tokyo American Club (TAC) moved from its home in Azabudai to a temporary facility in Takanawa while a new TAC is built in its old location. The new facility, which aims to be the premier club in Asia, will re-open in January 2011.
- Roppongi Hills Club (http://www.roppongihillsclub.com/visitor/dfw/en/index.html), located on the 51st floor or Mori Tower in the Roppongi Hills Complex sports 8 restaurants and 5 bars, not to mention one of the most incredible views in the city.
- The Foreign Correspondents Club of Japan (http://www.fccj.or.jp/) was founded in November 1945 with some journalists that were accredited to General MacArthur’s headquarters. While primarily for journalists, others interested in membership can join as associates.
Community Service Organizations
While volunteer opportunities are not prevalent in Japan for those that do not speak Japanese fluently, there are a number of organizations – especially charities – where a helping hand is always welcome.
- The Run for the Cure Foundation (http://www.runforthecure.org) and the Tyler Foundation are two such organizations.
- The Tokyo American Club’s Women’s Group has more than 800 members and is always looking for new participants, as does Foreign Executive Women.