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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About

Luke

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… Joseph

Joseph Lovegren, 25

I grew up in a very isolated city called San Benito in the far south of Texas. It took at 20 minute drive to see any of my friends and school was an hour away by bus. Keep in mind I didn’t get my driver’s license until I was in college. My first encounter with Japanese culture was when I met my friend Nick, who is a quarter Japanese. You’d never guess this considering the guy is about 2 meters tall. I learned Hiragana for fun during High School and wrote a couple Kanji on my arm with a permanent marker, but that was the extent of my studies until I reached second year in college. I was majoring in Physics my first year, but come my second year I moved to the main University of Texas campus and was asked what I would Flyknit do about my major.

The conversation was a bit like this: Advisor: “Well Joseph, what would you like to do with your major?” Me: “What do you mean? Can I change it?” Advisor: “If you’d like to. Here, have a look at the different majors.” Me: “So you can major in Japanese?” Advisor: “Yes, you can major in Japanese Language and there’s other Asian Studies majors as well.” Me: “Isn’t that supposed to be really hard to learn or something? Cool, let’s go with Japanese. I’ll wholesale nfl jerseys do that.” So, after much consideration, I majored in Japanese and my life took a much different path from what I was expecting. My life before that isn’t really worth going into detail on. I went to The Science Academy of South Texas, a somewhat private school that focused on Math and the Sciences. I studied as much as necessary to get a B and spent the rest of my time working out and learning how to tap my two index fingers at a rate of 14 taps per second on my keyboard. (Stepmania, anyone?)

There was something about Japanese language that was really intriguing and easy to learn. Well, I shouldn’t say that it’s a simple task to learn it, it was just captivating enough that studying didn’t feel like a chore and before I knew it I was watching dramas without subtitles and reading books with a bit of help from a dictionary. The fact that a lot of people were telling me that it’s just difficult and inapplicable seemed to motivate me more.

My first trip to Japan was in September of 2010  for a study abroad program at Sophia University. My first impression of Japan was that the people were a lot more mature than I was expecting – a total relief. After watching plenty of dramas like “My Boss My Hero” I was a bit worried about what real people would be like. A majority of the people are very kind, especially considerate to tourists who are unfamiliar with Tokyo, and genuinely interested in foreign cultures. It kind of felt like everything was on easy mode, because you didn’t need much social proof to make friends or get into conversations with girls. I had a pretty good run at Sophia: Did a lot of drinking, had a really nice girlfriend, completely exhausted my scholarships, experienced the earthquake, worked a job as an English teacher 28 hours hockey jerseys a week while going to school, fought my University for about a month so they couldn’t force me to return to America and ate a lot of good food. Somewhere around the end of my study abroad program I decide that I would come back to Japan immediately after graduating and work at a Japanese company. I returned to Texas, put a lot of energy into studying for the JLPT 1 and finding a job in Japan. I applied to Akebono Brake as an Intern and was accepted. They then invited me to come to the Boston Career forum. After meeting cheap nfl jerseys the head of HR, she offered for me to start right away as a Keiyakushain (contract worker), rather than an intern – which I accepted. I flew to Japan after Christmas and had a 2 week grace period before working in Hanyu-shi of Saitama at Akebono brake. After I had fully enjoyed my experience there, I decided to move on to work as a recruiter in a firm in Tokyo. I have been working there since October 2013.

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