Questions About Living in Japan – Is It Hard to Get a Job?

Questions about Living in Japan #1

Living in Japan can be a challenge for foreigners and for people looking for information before making the leap to move over here. I reached out on Instagram and asked followers there if they had any questions about life in Japan, and I got some great responses! I want to answer each question in an individual post, so this is the first of a series of posts that I plan to make on questions about living in Japan. The first question is about getting a job in Japan and about the working attitude.

Question 1: Is it hard getting a job there [in Japan]? How is the working attitude there?

Finding a job for a foreigner can be easy for a native English speaker wanting to teach English, but outside of that it can be kind of difficult. A lot of people use teaching English as a springboard to getting a non-English teaching job after. You have to have a high level of Japanese for non-English speaking jobs, for the most part, maybe not an engineer or programmer, and you have to prove you want to live here for the long term…. as per my experience. You should also have experience in that field that you want to work in (masters degrees counting in my opinion) as with any job back in your own home country. You also have to be aware that it is competitive out there. Just because you can speak English and Japanese fluently doesn’t mean you get an easy foot in the door. There are tons of Japanese-English bilinguals out there and the competition is tough… you have to have some sort of other skill that you can contribute, not just language. 

As for the working attitude, I can only speak for non-English teaching jobs, but for the most part, Japanese people are very hard working and expect the same from you. At the beginning, they might be sympathetic to you, but they will teach you Japanese business practices bit by bit, if you don’t know them already, and expect you to follow them. Some of these include coming in before work begins to prepare for the day even though the workday hasn’t started yet, radio exercises (Yes… my first company made us do it EVERY single day), answering the phones even though you are a foreigner, etc. 

Some of these things are company-specific though. The company culture differs from company to company and the size of the company as well, so keep that in mind. I suggest when going for an interview, have a list of what you are looking for in a company and during the interview ask smart questions to see if that company is a right fit for you. For example, if you want to travel overseas a lot, a job just sitting at a desk won’t be right for you. If you want to work on new projects all the time, a job where you are taking over from someone else and the job is pretty much decided is probably not the right fit for you. If you want direct communication with your boss, ask for details about what type of working environment you’re walking into.

There are many ways to ask questions in interviews to see if you will be a good fit for that company, and don’t be afraid to…. an interview is just as much them interviewing you as you are getting a feel if you want to work for them. I made that mistake so many times because I was desperate to get out and move on to “something better” when in reality it wasn’t the best fit for me. I’m on my 4th company here in Japan and I finally found a right fit for me but it took me about 3.5 years to do so… so with that know sometimes you might not find that perfect job fit right away and you can quit if you want. 

On the other hand, I highly recommend you try to stick it out in a company for more than a year though so it doesn’t seem that you are job hopping constantly. There are cycles of liking and disliking your job, just like in your home country, and there is a difference between being harassed/ not agreeing with the company values and wanting to leave after the honeymoon period has died down. You might also be going through some tough projects or work at that moment, so I highly recommend thinking very thoroughly about why you want to quit before you do and also have something lined up before you leave so you can pay your bills.  

Let me know if you want information on how to quit your job in Japan properly! I’ll consider making a blog post or video about it in the future. Also, if you have a question about living in Japan please answer in the comments below! If you have experience with jobs here as well, feel free to comment on your experience.

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Seasons of Japan – June 2017 | nihonchique

June 2017. This is the month that marked the last in a chapter of my life. I can’t believe it has taken me this long to get past this month in my life, almost like my blog was kind of frozen in time until I figured out what I was doing. I still now dont know what I am doing and what direction I am going in, but in June 2017, I had the huge high of the NEWS NEVERLAND tour in Tokyo dome with a close friend, followed straight after by the disappointment of hearing that the department/ website in my company I was working for for a year and half would be shutting down and my contract would not be continuing because of it. I was devastated and was extremely hurt that a company I had worked so hard for for a year and a half would just cut me so simply, but despite this I took this as a learning opportunity and got searching for jobs as soon as possible. (Spoiler, I found one and started it at the beginning of August 2017!).

On the topic of the NEWS NEVERLAND tour in Tokyo Dome, that was one of the most amazing experiences I have ever had in my life. “U R not alone” since then has become my anthem and even when the DVD came out in January of this year, I cried again right long with them at “U R not alone” and had no shame. As I said in the 4th picture, the end of the NEVERLAND tour isn’t the end, and we truly are not alone. NEWS has been along with me on this journey for almost 10 years now. I feel like I have grown with them and they have supported me all of these years, almost half of them being in Japan.  Thank you NEWS. Thank you and I look forward to seeing you in Hiroshima for the EPCOTIA tour in April, 2018!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Japanese Fashion: EATME Harajuku Store Grand Opening – October 26th, 2014

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On October 26th, I went to the grand opening of EATME, a brand by the famous Model Tsubasa Masuwaka. Tsubasa is best known for being a “Gyaru” model in POPTEEN and POPSISTER Magazines (although has graduated from both) and also has two cosmetic lines, Dolly Wink and Candy Doll. She is also a singer under the persona “Milky Bunny”.

EATME is Tsubasa’s first clothing line and has been around since this past summer online at Runway Channel, but the first shop opened in Harajuku just last week. EATME comes from Alice in Wonderland, which my friend Rosie tells me she is a big fan of those kinds of styles. How I would like to describe the style is a bit on the sexy side with some of the shapes of the clothing, but the accents of it make it cute and tone it down by giving it a bit of a conservative, “British” edge. “British” is a trend in clothing in Japan recently, especially for Fall and Winter,  but EATME seems to be different where it fundamentally is based off of the British style, and not just following the trend this year.

Around noon on the 26th, Rosie and I headed over to the shop after eating lunch. She has been a fan of Tsubasa for a long time and she was excited to see the shop. The store was surrounded by flowers from people congratulating the shop on it’s opening, something that is common for shop openings, as well as stage plays and concerts in Japan. When we went to the shop, we thought we were going to have to wait but it ended up that we were given a number and ushered right in after a few minutes. We walked in and the store there was a photo backdrop on the left and a staircase to the right leading up to the second floor.

We then began to look around and just as we were looking at the sweaters on the table at the front of the store, just on the other side was Tsubasa herself! I couldn’t believe it! We were both nervous and we walked around the store for a while looking at the clothes not being able to talk to her, because she was helping other customers. Once Rosie and I decided what we wanted to try on, I went first into the dressing room. I tried on (and eventually bought) a white and blue rose- print dress from the store.

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White and Blue Rose Print Dress by EATME. Photo Taken in Yebisu Garden Place

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While I was changing out of the dress I had tried on, I heard Rosie outside of the dressing room talking with someone. I walked out of the dressing room and found that she was talking to Tsubasa finally! After they talked Rosie went into the dressing room and tried on two dresses. Tsubasa then began talking to me and asked me what dress I was going to buy. She was so nice and gave both Rosie and I advice on how to wear the dresses that we picked out and was interested that we were from a foreign country and joked around with me about letting people in America know about the brand. That day she wasn’t able to take pictures with customers or sign anything, but we were able to shake her hand! It was an amazing experience to be able to talk to the producer of the brand herself and get advice from her on how to wear the items we bought.

At the end, we checked out and took pictures in the picture area at the front of the store and then went to look up stairs. Upstairs contains vintage clothes that aren’t part of the EATME brand and it had a nice boutique feel to it.

Below are parts of the Fall Look Book from the EATME Website. I like the vintage “British” feel to it, as well as it being a bit on the “sexy” and mature side, but also has that touch of cuteness to it. I also particularly like the dresses in the collection.

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All Pictures are credited to the EATME Brand found on the EATME Website

I look forward to seeing more from this brand in the future! It has caught my eye and I can’t wait to see the next collection that comes out.

Check out the brand’s website below! What do you think of it? Tell me in the comments below!

EATME Brand Website

Store Layout and Location Details

 

*I am not affiliated with this brand. This is only my personal report on the event that happened*

Stageplay Report: Masuda Takahisa 「フレンド -今夜此処での一と殷盛り-」 October 12th, 2014

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On October 12th, I had the opportunity to see Masuda Takahisa’s play 「フレンド -今夜此処での一と殷盛り-」two times at the Tokyo Globe Theater! The Tokyo Globe theater located at Shin-Okubo station, one stop away from Shinjuku going towards Ikebukuro station on the JR Yamanote Line. This is only the second time I have ever been to the Globe Theater, the first being for Shige’s play back in April “Naka no Hito” 「中の人」. The first showing of the play started at 1:00pm so my friend and I actually entered about 10 minutes before the first show started and I quickly bought goods and sat down. My seat was on the first floor, Row G on the right side when facing the stage. These seats weren’t bad for the first viewing because I felt like I was inside the play at the end (which I will get into later), even thought it was a bit low to the ground and me being small, sometimes seeing in-between other peoples’ heads in front of me wasn’t fun. Then the play started right at 1pm.

Play Overview

Please note there are spoilers following this, so please be careful if you are going to see the play!

The opening scene begins with Massu’s character helping a drunken person walk along, coming in from the right section of seats near the stage, then up the stage, and barging into a bar late at night when they are closed. Here you also meet the character that will become Massu’s character’s wife later on, Akiko. It then cuts to one of the characters explaining the setting of the play. The setting is a bar/ Izakaya called “Friend” (in Katakana) located near Shibuya Station in Tokyo. He also introduces some of the characters as well and after this the play starts.

The play takes place beginning in Showa Year 5 (1930) and continues through out the years until, I believe, probably between Showa year 17 or 20?(1942-1945) when the bombings of Tokyo happened. It is a “one room” setting play with only one set change towards the end of the play.

As a guide, here are the characters names that I mention here:

Actor’s Name – Character’s Name

Masuda Takahisa: Yasuhara Yoshihiro

Kaname Endo: Nakahara Chuuya (The Poet)

Aimi Satsukawa: Miyaji Akiko (Yasuhara’s Wife)

 

This play is actually based on a true story of a famous Japanese poet named Nakahara Chuuya. He was a famous poet in the early Showa period. Massu’s character, Yasuhara, went to school together in Kyoto with him they are good friends. Nakahara is going through struggles many struggles, including love problems and problems with his attitude and not getting along with people well, which leads to many funny scenes in the play, but also some emotional ones as well. The play has many themes, including friendship, love, and loss. Through the play, Yasuhara evolves as he grows older and he has to choose giving up working with Nakahara on writing and literature and the arts, which he loves, for having a stable job for income because he gets married. This decision comes from the cover that he drew for the author’s book being rejected by the publisher (which he helped get published in the first place) and him getting married as well. This ends up being one of the most emotional scenes in the play because he is rejecting to continue being Nakahara’s “partner”, but explains that he will stay his friend no matter what. This also happens on the day that Yasuhara’s engagement is being official. Other emotional scenes include the girl working at the bar, Akiko (who ends up being Yasuhara’s wife character’s wife), accepting the offer of the owners of the bar to become their daughter, as well as sending off their friends to War and the scene when Yasuhara came back from the funeral of Nakahara.

The play did a good job of blending in comedy with all of the emotional themes, which is why I called it an “emotional roller coaster” after I saw it for the first time. The funniest scene in the play for me was right after the really emotional scene of Akiko accepting the owner’s offer to become their daughter. At the beginning of this scene, Yasuhara is about to enter the bar, but stops when he sees the owners come down the stairs, so he quickly shuts the door and stands outside the bar listening to the whole conversation as it goes on. At the end of the scene, when Akiko accepts the offer to become their daughter, Yasuhara begins to bawl crying and everyone in the shop is confused to where it is coming from, and one of the other characters exits the shop and sees him crying and brings him inside. Massu was adorable and the way that he cried on the lamppost outside the shop was hilarious! I was laughing so hard after crying at the emotional scene before it. Yasuhara was a great combination of adorable and cheerful, but also surprisingly serious at certain points.

The ending of the play was a huge emotional punch. The play had been pretty steady up until about ¾ of the way through. After that it, speed up once the war started until all of a sudden sirens begin to go off. These are sirens during war for when an air-raid bombing is about to begin to warn people to take shelter. Bombs “go off” and then you see Yasuhara stumble out from the back of the theater as the bombings are going on, all covered in soot and dirty and he is searching for his wife. This is the part that you feel like you are in the play, as the play actually moves into the seating area. Yasuhara trips and falls (passing out) then the bombings all of a sudden “stop”. From the right side of the theater, Nakahara’s “ghost” appears and begins talking to Yasuhara and leads him back to Friend, just as he normally used to back in the day. The only catch? Friend is on fire. So this scene is very powerful and eerie as everything is like normal with everyone dead and alive there, but the bar is on fire. The sound effects then stop after showing that it was a gathering of some sort, and everyone begins reciting some poetry together (possibly from Nakahara’s poetry?) and then all of a sudden Yasuhara begins to be pulled back into the “real world”, saying that he can’t die now, as he made a promise Akiko (his wife) when they got engaged that he wouldn’t die as all of her family died in a bad earthquake and she didn’t want to be left alone. Yasuhara gets pulled behind the curtain and the Nakahara recites more of the poetry and exits out the back of the theater. It then turns to Tokyo being in rubble and Yasuhara waking up at Friend in rubble as well. On the right side of the stage you see the figure of someone approach and they take their hood off as she notices Nakahara. It is Akiko and they are finally reunited after the bombings. They have an emotional reunion with her showing some important things that she saved that were important during the play, as well as saying that the owners of the bar are safe. The play ends with them hugging and crying there in the rubble of Friend.

At both performances I was crying so hard at the end of the play that I still hadn’t stopped as the curtain call was going on. Massu’s acting was amazing and this play was such an emotional roller coaster. Tons of people were crying during this play, which really does show that the whole cast, not just Massu, did an amazing job. Even I, who still isn’t totally fluent in Japanese, was moved to tears. I wish that I could understand more of the poetry in this play, but poetry is difficult to understand in any language. There were  also some romantic scenes between Yasuhara and Akiko that were cute as well! There wasn’t any kissing, just hugging, which actually made it even cuter I think.

I also attended the second show that day and that one began at 6pm. I was in Row N towards the right side of the stage again and since it was elevated I had a very clear view of the stage and this was probably a better seat than the one I had at the first show because of that. I was also closer to where Massu entered a few times in the play.

IMG_2628Thank you Massu for an amazing play! It was more than I could ever imagine!

I hope that you all enjoyed this play report! I did my best to convey some highlights of the play without telling everything about it. Please leave any questions or comments down below.

Japanese Fashion – Mikimoto Pearls

mikimoto-4Mikimoto is a prestigious Jewelry brand that is famous for cultured pearls and something that I have been coveting after for a long time! To me, this brand is a staple of elegance and has a long history. My mother has Mikimoto Pearls, and my grandmother had Mikimoto Pearls. When I was younger, I never had an interest in pearls and in fact, on a trip to China when I was 15 years old, my mother bought me some black pearls that are very rare and I wasn’t very interested at the time. Only since I entered into my 20’s have I been into pearls and realize their elegance.

Now for my graduation from my MBA program in Japan at the end of September, I was grateful to receive a set of Mikimoto Pearl earrings as a present. It is a gift that is very special to me and was very unexpected as well. Because this is such a prestigious product and it was something from Japan, I wanted to share it with you all because it isn’t something that you receive everyday and it could be a purchase that you think about for a long time before buying. I will present some details of this product below!

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Pictured above is the packaging! This is very similar to Tiffany and Co, but their coloring is Blue with a silver bow instead of the classic “Tiffany Green”. Blue is my favorite color so I think it is very elegant.

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Now, onto the pearls themselves! These pearls are 7mm in diameter and 18k White Gold. I chose a pink color to them, as opposed to a more white because of my skin tone and the types of colors that I wear on a daily basis. The shop keeper told me that the  colors of the choice of pearls doesn’t affect it’s quality, it’s the luster that matters.

mikimoto-3I chose a 7mm size because in the future, I want to own my own Mikimoto Pearl necklace and the shop keeper told me that a size between 6.5mm and 7.5mm was ideal if you wanted to own a pearl necklace in the future. I was skeptical about them being so big, as the only pearl earrings that I own are 5.5mm and since I am only 150cm, or 4’11 with a small face and ears, I didn’t want them to be too big and look clown-like on me. I tried a variation of sizes ranging from 6mm- 7.5mm on with a strand of pearls that would go with my body size and I thought that the 7mm was the best.

Well, that’s it for me this time! If you would like to learn more about Mikimoto, please check out the link below! They are all over the world. Also, let me know what you think about Mikimoto in the comments below! Have you heard of them before?

Mikimoto Website