Monthly Archives: October 2013

Japan, a wonderful imperfect country

England, my home country, is a great place. There are plenty of days when I miss my ‘simpler’ life, living in the English countryside where my biggest worry was what was going to be the prize for next week’s pub quiz. However, since I was 15 years old I have had an almost obsessive fascination with Japan. Fast forward 7 years and I am finally living my dream of working here in Tokyo, and I have to say Japan is a fantastic place to live.

Now don’t get me wrong there’s plenty of stress here too. My personal favorites being the whole job hunting business, hours of overtime and ridiculously packed trains. Don’t worry they’ll be plenty about these delightful topics in future posts.

All in all however I love living in Japan. Tokyo is so exhilarating and vibrant. When I used to work in Kanagawa for Mercedes Benz it was so beautiful riding the train to work, with the morning rays beaming across the river before inter-lapping between the city skyscrapers again. I’m a big fan of the urban jungle and there plenty of beauty to be find here in the sprawling metropolis, but there was something about seeing the morning sun ricocheting off that river surrounded on either side by the every growing ‘Tokyo’ that made me feel lucky to be in Japan.

Tokyo at Sunset

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Luke Palfreeman, 24

Hi, my name is Luke and I have been pretty much obsessed with Japan since 15. Like I mean crazy obsessed, I tried eating steak with chopsticks just so I could ‘feel’ more Japanese, yeah I was a pretty weird 15 year old. Unfortunately not much has changed.

By all accounts I am the worst person in the world to learn a language. I failed both French and German at secondary school, consistently being one of the worst in the class. Causing much pain and hardship to my  foreign language teachers (sorry guys!).  I wasn’t even particularly good at my own native language English!

I had to take speech therapy as a child. Imagine hours of a 4 years old kids being told repeatedly “It is pronounced Yellow! Not Wellow!” and then said cheap oakleys kid failing to grasp this extremely simple notion, much to the bewilderment of himself and everyone in the room. Heck I couldn’t actually pronounce my sisters name correctly for the first few years of my life. If that wasn’t bad enough (and let’s be honest, that’s one dumb 4 year old right there) I was and still am a god awful speller! English literature being my 2nd weakest subject at school, after foreign languages.

Despite all the powers in the universe telling me to avoid anything language related I decided to major in Japanese studies at the university of Sheffield, which many of my friends had recommended.

The first year at university was essentially an experimental year for figuring out what kind of studying method worked for me. Once my system was down I ploughed through the second year, which was often regarded the hardest of the course, getting some of my highest grades at university.  In my 3rd year I spent 10 months abroad at Sohpia University in Tokyo, finally realizing my dream at age 20 of going to Japan. Those 10 months in Japan being the best months of my life and confirmed what I had realized at 15, that I wanted to work and live in Japan one day.

After returning to the UK I took and passed the JLPT N1 in December 2011 and graduated from Sheffield University in August 2012. After many failed Job interviews  and spending months working in a box factory (No joke, they  were dark days people) to earn enough money to get back to Japan I was finally successful in receiving a 6-month internship at Mercedes Benz R&D Japan. While undertaking my internship I did shūshoku katsudō (job hunting), building upon my previous hockey jerseys failed experience I was offered a job from 3 Japanese companies in less than a month from their first interview (a process that usually takes many months). I started in my new job April 2013 and am  currently working as the only foreigner in the entire company.

Learning Japanese and coming to work in Japan has been one of the most challenging and rewarding things I have done in my life. During my time looking for an internship and job, there were many things I wish I had know then which I know now. Even though I spent more than 4 years at university studying Japanese and Japan’s culture, the majority of what I have experienced while working here was never taught in any those lectures or seminars, yet are extremely important and common.

We at WIJ have all experienced the difficulties of learning Japanese and finding a job here. cheap oakleys We want to 2017-01-06 help other people who are looking to live and work here in Japan. Whether it be about job hunting, legal stuff or working life, we will tell you exactly how it is, drawing from our own experiences and success.  We hope you enjoy the site and if you have any comments or article requests then do please let us know!

Jamie Rhodes, 24

“Hello, my name is Jamie Rhodes and I am a recovering Japan-aholic.” No, that is a lie, far from being in recovery I am still as a matter of fact binging on Japan every day – living and working here in a completely Japanese environment I take the highs with the lows, the rough wholesale jerseys with the smooth, and the sake with the beer. But how did I end up here? And why am I slow dancing with this 75 year old Japanese Lady? It is the summer of 2012. The Olympics are in London and this once proud nation is gripped by a sudden euphoria. The financial crisis, riots of 2011, and Big Brother are starting to fade from memory. Mo Farah has been elevated to deity like status and even Charles cheap jerseys china is slightly popular. The people can feel something in the air. Something almost good seems like it could happen. They can almost taste happiness (which later turns out to be horse meat). Walking out of the gates of the University of Sheffield that Summer with a first class degree in Japanese Studies in hand, the world was my oyster. I could try and change the world, I could try and break the mould. I could take on the old regimes and push through new ideas and innovation so ground breaking and so mind blowing that even Charles Darwin himself might have  “found it a bit too much” . So, I joined a Japanese Company. Want to know more? See you at the blog and cheap oakleys sunglasses follow me on my journey through corporate Japan…

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