The “For those who want to work in Japan someday: an honest roundtable discussion about working in Japan by foreign nationals residing in Japan” symposium took place a few days ago.
In the video recording of the roundtable discussion, facilitated by Ms. Yuko Ito of Hokkaido Medical University’s Center for Advanced Research and Education, and Associate Professor Toshifumi Suzuki of the University of Shizuoka Junior College, foreigners working in Japan openly talked about the attraction of Japan and issues that need to be resolved.
Part 3: “Futures and visions”
In the third part of the video, we asked the 11 foreign residents of Japan who participated in the first and second parts of the video to talk again about their “futures and visions “.
Ms. Ito: Hello everyone. In the third part of “an honest roundtable discussion about working in Japan by foreign nationals residing in Japan”, we will continue with the foreign residents who appeared in the first and second parts, and together with Professor Toshifumi Suzuki, we hear what the particpants have to say about the outlook for their “futures”.
Firstly, I would like to ask you to tell us about any areas that you have found strange or that you would like to see changed in your work in Japan.
Ms. Lim (Philippines): In Japan, there is a lot of overtime work and frequent meetings, but I think we can work more efficiently. I would like to see remote work continue as long as possible after COVID-19 has ended, and I would like to see improvements in having a more flexible work-life balance, for example by introducing a flexible working system. I believe that Japanese companies will become even more attractive if we can create a more comfortable working environment for women and people with disabilities.
Ms. Lovely (Philippines): Many people in Japan are workaholics. I see this tendency not only among Japanese but also among foreigners working in Japan, regardless of the type of industry.
Ms. Stella (Philippines): In Nagano Prefecture where I work, if work goes late into the night, sometimes there is no transportation home. Many foreigners who have only been in Japan for a short time do not have cars, so we are at a loss. In my home country, the Philippines, there are jeepneys (shared-ride cabs) that run all day long, which are really convenient…
Ms. Yen, VuThiHai (Vietnam): I find drinking after work with colleagues a bit strange. It’s hard to understand the practice of bringing private life into a working relationship. We enjoy each other’s company during big events and parties, but if it’s every week, I don’t think it’s a good idea…
Professor Suzuki: In Japan, drinking after work with colleagues is a very useful time to open up about things, but it may be difficult for foreigners who value their “own time” as well as their “working style” to get used to it. Looking back, I and Ms. Ito. Ito also tend to be workaholics.
Ms. Linh (Vietnam): I don’t mean for this to sound “strange,” but I was surprised that you can drink water straight from the tap. In Vietnam, you have to boil the water before you can drink it.
Ms. Hoai (Vietnam): There are so many vending machines in Japan. I was surprised to see not only drinks but also many different kinds of drinks.
Ms. Ito: It is hard to understand if you have lived in Japan since birth, but from the perspective of people from other countries, there is a unique culture. Now, I would like to ask you about your visions for the future. Do you want to continue working in Japan, or do you want to make the most of your experience in Japan and return to your home country to play an active role?
Mr. Auliya Agung Barkah (Indonesia): I love Japan, but my dream is to bring what I learned in Japan back to Indonesia and start my own company. In Japan, I worked as a tour guide for foreigners, so I would like to start a travel agency when I return to my home country. Also, since Japan has a system for accepting foreign technical interns, I think that an agency that facilitates Indonesian students to go to Japan could also have a future. I’m sure it can make a lot of money LOL.
Ms. Ayu (Indonesia): I plan to return to Indonesia eventually. I would like to become a teacher at a Japanese language school or a tourist guide who can interpret.
Ms. Perera (Sri Lanka): I decided to live in Japan. One of the reasons is that my current job, which I have had for four months now, is very interesting. I had been working in the travel industry for four years, but due to coronavirus, I had to take a break and my career completely stagnated. I knew I couldn’t go on like this, so I looked for a new job, but I couldn’t find one that would allow me to make use of my previous experience. I decided to think outside the box and try something completely new, and I am currently working in the foreign trading industry. Despite the challenge of starting almost from scratch, all the Japanese employees have been very supportive of me, and I hope to stay with the company as long as possible.
Ms. Ito: I am impressed by the vitality with which everyone is blazing new trails in the midst of the tough coronavirus pandemic. Their relentless pursuit of career advancement is a great encouragement to those who want to work in Japan.
Ms. Ashini (Sri Lanka): I would like to return to Sri Lanka, build a retirement home and live with my parents.
Ms. Sithumini (Sri Lanka): I would like to continue my studies in nursing care and work in Japan. Japan is a very safe and developed country to live in.
Professor Suzuki: We are very happy to see people from other countries playing an active role in the nursing industry.
Ms. Ito: We have now finished Part 3 of “an honest roundtable discussion about working in Japan by foreign nationals residing in Japan”. Lastly, I would like to ask Professor Suzuki to give us a summary of the discussion.
Professor Suzuki: I would like to thank everyone very much. I was impressed that there were many discussions about “how to work” rather than about the content of work itself. I think it was also characteristic that there was a set of discussions on “how to live” as well.
There were also those who were thinking of returning to their home countries someday. It is very exciting to see that they are not simply changing their place of work, but have a career vision to play a “connecting” role in transferring the skills they acquired in Japan to their home countries.
Ms. Ito: As I listened to your stories, I was also happy to hear that you seem to really enjoy your work while interacting with various people. I would like to continue to think about the future of Japan while working together with foreign residents.
This article introduces some of the topics from the video recording of the roundtable discussion. In the video, foreign residents in Japan talk about Japan’s unique culture in more depth. Please click below to view the full video.