SEPTEMBER 2019 (VOL.145)
September 2019 (vol.145)
What inspired you to like Japan?
I grew up loving Japanese pop culture and studying the Japanese language at a young age, but I didn’t really think of it more than as a hobby. However, my first job out of college ended up being the American branch of a major Japanese company in NYC where I met amazing Japanese coworkers who gave me a great impression of the country. I was convinced that working in Japan would be a life-changing experience.
Anything you love?
I love Japanese Sake, better known as nihonshu in Japan. There are so many distilleries throughout the country (jizake) and each of them is very unique in style. In Japan, I realized that young people often think nihonshu is old-fashioned and not “trendy”, so I would avoid them on your first date. On the flip side, there is no better way to bond with your boss after work.
Anything you think “cool” about Japan?
In the States, we don’t have too many reasons to go to 7-Eleven besides our cravings for Slurpee on hot summer days. In Japan, it is a totally different story, on top of simple grocery shopping, combini (convenience stores) in Japan is where you pick up your late-night sushi bento, pay your utility bills, buy concert tickets, read manga on work breaks, and pick up your Amazon package 24-7. Best of all, combinis are literally everywhere. I can kind of imagine how people lived before the internet, but I can’t imagine how people in Japan survived before there was any combinis.
“Not cool” about Japan?
Japan is still a very cash-heavy society, so I always need to make sure to keep enough cash in my wallet. To add to this stress, bank ATM is limited compared to the States, often charging extra ATM fees in the evening or sometimes even closed on weekends. It’s ironic that ATMs take so many breaks when Japanese people work very hard and often long hours!
Any recommendation other readers should try?
If you are at an age of trying to figure out your career and have a desire to gain work experience in Japan, don’t let the language barrier hinder you from doing so. I was surprised to meet so many working professionals in Tokyo with little to no fluency in Japanese at various stages of their careers. Companies are very globalized nowadays, so more and more companies in Japan are using English as the internal business language and are looking for English speaking talents!