From Baguio to Tokyo - Advice to succeed in the workplace
Thursday, March 22, 2018
Part 3: What I have learned staying in Japan for 3 years
When I arrived, the truth is that I could barely discuss with other people and it caused me a lot of problems.
It may look a little bit too simple said like that but, wherever you are, communication is the key.
So if you plan to stay some time in Japan, try to study Japanese. You do not need a level so high that you can read Genji Monogatari or watching Shichinin no Samurai without subtitles, but the thing is: you can understand so much more about the people around you just by sharing their language.
Speak with the Japanese speaking people around you! Then, communicate with them only in Japanese and let the friendship do its magic: in only a few months, you will get to the daily Japanese conversational level. And you will make new friends with a lot to share with you, which may be even more important!
Yet, to improve my Japanese business skills, I stayed 2 years in a Japanese school and I am very glad I made this investment!
Be. On. Time.
You all have heard the stories about Japanese trains always on time -which may not be as true as the legend says; but Japanese people give a great value to timeliness. If you have an appointment, arrive 5 to 10 minutes early but show up only when it is time.
Preparation is necessary when you want to start a career here. Learning the specific vocabulary to your field, bringing extra copies of the presentation you're going to make in the case of a higher up shows in, having always some business cards in your 名刺入れ (meishi ire, business card holder), these are basic tips that you would have guess without me.
Yet, did you know about the expression 気が利く(ki ga kiku, use one’s energy effectively)? This expression is, for me, a real keystone in the Japanese mindset: it consist in doing actions to prevent any harm or to facilitate the others to do actions by anticipation.
Be yourself during job interviews. Japanese companies somehow do not care much about academic achievements or awards and tends to put their attention into reading your personality. As a result of the long tradition of life-employment, hirers want to choose people fitting into the company's values as a long-term.
Give it a try and don’t play mind games! These tips go for meeting with friends and any other social situations as well: Japanese people can read you and detect if you are speaking your mind or not. If you are caught lying, this may deteriorate your relation and your image for a while, so don’t take the risk!
I would like to take the chance to quote Paulo Coelho: “Be brave. Take Risks.Nothing can substitute experience.” If you have a dream, grasp any opportunity you see to fulfill it.
IZANAU is a poetic way of saying “to invite” in Japanese, and to me, it also means to welcome all the experiences coming to you and eventually grow from them.
If you are willing to try and come working in Japan, the IZANAU team will be there to help you and have a wonderful experience! (This is an opportunity! seize it!)
Maraming Salamat po! (Thank you in Tagalog.)
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