Japan, where I spent my childhood
When I was three, my parents decided to pursue their postgraduate degrees at Tohoku University. From 2003-11, our small Egyptian family lived in Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture, Japan. I spent my formative years nurtured by the Japanese school system. Consequently, as I learned the Japanese language in school and the Egyptian language at home, I learned to speak both languages as a native would.
It was a memorable childhood with many unforgettable memories.
I remember my first time playing games at a friend’s house. At the time, the school principal strictly limited game time to 10 minutes per day, so I rarely got to play games at home. I got so excited when my friend invited me to play PlayStation. To this day, I still have the black school backpack I used as a precious memento.
Living in Japan also had its share of challenges.
My family was weeks away from returning to Egypt and we even had some of our bags packed when the Great East Japan Earthquake happened. On March 11, 2011, a devastating earthquake struck northeastern Japan. We lived near the epicenter off the Sanriku coast, and we experienced a strong tremor with a magnitude of more than 6°. Although I was thankfully at home with my mother and sister, which provided some comfort, I distinctly recall feeling extremely frightened.
The buildings at Tohoku University, the location of my parents’ research institute, collapsed, and fires broke out. The University’s devastation was a tremendous shock as I had countless childhood memories associated with the university campus. Our family sought refuge in a nearby school for a week before eventually relocating to Yamagata. However, due to ongoing aftershocks, transportation services, including trains, were frequently disrupted. This made us decide to move to Osaka.
In Osaka, I completed the Egyptian educational certification examination. Afterwards, we returned to Egypt. That last phase of our life in Japan remains a vivid and challenging memory for me.
The eight years in Japan during my early childhood have indelibly and significantly influenced my identity. Although my parents are Egyptians and thus I don’t resemble a typical Japanese person, I believe my personality and way of thinking have distinct Japanese characteristics. Conversing with Japanese people gives me tranquility, and I have always regarded Japan as a second home.
Considering Egypt’s current political and economic conditions, my desire to work and live in Japan has only strengthened.
Meeting ASIA to JAPAN at just the right time
I was lucky to have come across ASIA to JAPAN just in time.
As I neared my graduation from Egypt’s top University, my workload intensified. I did not have time for breaks through the five years of my studies. Additionally, I lived alone to live closer to the University and had limited opportunities to spend time with my family. For this reason, I had always harbored the desire to take a year off after graduation, to live with my family and enjoy a leisurely break, rather than immediately pursuing employment or further studies.
Just as I was contemplating this, I stumbled upon a Facebook post shared by an Egyptian community dedicated to promoting Japanese culture. At that time, I still hadn’t thought about job hunting in Japan, but I decided to register because I thought it would be great to take Japanese lessons for free and get the chance to interview in Japan.
Additional Japanese lessons from ASIA to JAPAN helped pave the way
In May 2023, I began taking Japanese language classes at ASIA to JAPAN. The classes were conducted online, allowing students from all over the world to participate, and the content was highly informative.
The challenge of balancing my last year at the university with job hunting
After a series of interviews with ASIA to JAPAN staff members, I received offers from multiple Japanese companies and was set to participate in an interview session in June. It was challenging since I was also nearing the deadline for submitting my university thesis. Balancing interview preparations and the necessary arrangements for entering Japan proved to be quite demanding. However, the mere prospect of returning to Japan gave me the fuel I needed to persevere.
Participation in face-to-face interview sessions in Japan through ASIA to JAPAN
When I participated in the interview session in June, it marked my return to Japan after 12 long years. I had been longing to come back but hadn’t been able to, so arriving felt so momentous that I couldn’t help but cry.
In the end, I received offers from four different companies, each with a unique business and vision, which made the preparation process quite challenging. However, my mentor from ASIA to JAPAN provided dedicated support throughout. Using their wealth of experience and knowledge, they always offered thorough and clear explanations, and I was truly grateful for their assistance. Nonetheless, it was still difficult to convey how my experiences and interests aligned with each company.
The actual selection period was short, but it was a whirlwind of emotions. Despite feeling confident about certain interviews, I received feedback from one company’s HR representative stating that “my personality did not match what they were looking for.” It made me question myself. On the other hand, during the interview with the company that offered me a position, the questions were quite challenging, and the interviewer’s reactions were subdued, leaving me uncertain about how well I had performed. I thought I had failed.
By the end, I received job offers from two of the four companies that interviewed me. It was a moment of great joy and instilled confidence in me.
Based on the recommendation of the ASIA to JAPAN staff, who believed it was a good fit for my personality and interests, the fact that it was a major Japanese corporation, and my attraction to the company’s slogan, I chose my current employer. Two other students who participated in the same interview session also received job offers from the same company, in addition to me, and it is very encouraging that all three of us can join the company together.
The interview session also provided numerous other memorable experiences. The June interview dates coincided with Eid al-Adha, a significant festival in Islam observed on the 10th day of the pilgrimage month. Normally, I would spend this day with my family, but this time I had the pleasure of fasting and participating in prayers with a Muslim friend from Indonesia whom I met during the interview session. Additionally, I created fond memories by going out for meals and conversing with friends from Malaysia and Luxembourg, whom I quickly bonded with from the first day. I also recall our frantic trip to buy neckties in the company’s colors just before the final interview. It all culminated in an incredible farewell party on the last day. There, the staff at ASIA to JAPAN were exceptionally cheerful and kind, leaving me with a treasure trove of wonderful memories.
With ASIA to JAPAN, just do your best and trust the process
If there are students currently conducting job searches through FAST OFFER International who are reading this, I would like to convey a message: “Please rest assured, everything will be alright.” Take your time and tread through the process carefully. Remember to attend meetings on time and complete the necessary procedures by the deadlines. It is a tremendous opportunity to have the chance to interview with Japanese companies, and it would be a great loss to squander that opportunity due to self-inflicted mistakes. Moreover, ASIA to JAPAN is a company that allows us to change our lives, so please believe in the staff and go ahead and do your best. I am cheering for you!