Interview with a Japanese guy (part 1)

HideI find it interesting to hear what “regular people” think about living in Japan, so I decided to make a series of interviews with my friend Hide who is born and raised in the land of the rising sun.

This is part 1!

What is the best thing about living in Japan?

Ah, a simple but difficult question, because I live in Japan and don’t have experience of living abroad. So I just give it a guess.

1. Precise works: I like precise transportation here in Japan. It is difficult for you to find trains that get to the stations late! That helps me do things as I plan.

That means you rarely can blame communications if you’re late for work? Is that an accepted apology to the boss?

Yes. If the transportation’s late because of an accident or so, you can get an official certification at the station to prove you’re not the one to be blamed for getting late.

2. 24/7: It is urban areas only but convenience store helps us living 24/7. It offers you many services and items. You can make use of many services online nowadays, but how about physical stuff like foods?

Have it ever happened that you’ve gone to a convenience store after midnight to buy food?

Yes, but not so often. When I get home late, supermarkets are not in service and I don’t want to cook anything, I can rely on convenience stores. Fortunately there’s a Seven Eleven within five minutes walk from my room and on the way from the station to my room. You just need to be careful since convenience stores’ items usually cost much more than supermarkets’ ones.

What is the worst thing about living in Japan?

Working environments. It is hard to have a vacation if you work for a Japanese company. Even five consecutive holidays means vacation. In my case I could not use any single paid leave in previous job (happy to quit it in 2013). Besides if you are late for workplace for only a minute, it would be regarded as “Being late for work”. So “Precise works” has its double meanings both in positive and negative aspects.

Is it the same for all kind of works? Is a workday usually from nine to five?

I think that is the same for all kinds of work in Japan. Workday is usually from nine to five or ten to six. However there are so many night shift works like convenience stores, manufacturing plants, logistics … to maintain our 24/7 state of living.

But recently things have been changing a little, especially among young generations. There are a few companies that focus on keeping a Work-Life-Balance. I hope there will be more and more companies following them.

Have you ever considered moving to a country overseas? In that case, to which country and why?

I have many times thinking of moving overseas.

First time was about when I was at high school or first year at university. My parents told me that my grandfather often told them “This grandchild will go to foreign countries to study”. Unfortunately I could not hear him say that, because he passed away within one year after my birth. After hearing the story, I thought it’s good to do that. Then I realized that studying abroad needed lots of money that I couldn’t afford so I gave that up.

Since then I sometimes have had the idea to move abroad. My options is UK, US, Italy, Sweden and some other countries in Europe.

About UK, I don’t know why, but my image of studying abroad is UK rather than US. US gets the 2nd place. About Italy, I have been attracted to its culture, football and so on. About Sweden, there are many favorite bands like Arch Enemy, Opeth, Yngwie … besides I have a very good friend there, you Iona! So I cannot help picking up this country when I think about moving abroad.

You know there are many obstacles for moving abroad. Work permit, visa, job etc. To get those, I should be a very special person and very skilled. But I’m not that one. Besides it is hard to get a job, especially  in EU as far as I’ve searched for. Employers need EU citizen, not people from outside of EU. So I don’t have a good possibility to live abroad so far. But if it’s possible I want to give it a try someday.

Thanks for answering my questions, Hide!

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