2024-04-26

Breaking Cultural Barriers: A Malaysian Muslim’s Journey to a Tech Career in Japan

Summary

Her journey from being enchanted by anime like “My Hero Academia” to pursuing her dream of working in Japan mirrors the tenacity and spirit of her favorite characters. Her passion for Japanese culture and language nurtured through anime, guided her to take a Computer Science degree and Japanese classes at Universiti Teknikal Malaysia Melaka. The turning point came with her involvement in the FAST OFFER International program, propelling her from basic Japanese to job readiness. Her relentless effort and guidance from mentors culminated in her flying to Japan for interviews, and securing job offers from two esteemed companies. Her decision was swayed by the company’s openness to accommodating her religious needs, showcasing their eagerness to learn and adapt. This experience not only brought her closer to fulfilling her dream but also deepened her self-appreciation and determination to overcome challenges, paving the way for a promising future in Japan.

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Profile

Countries & Regions
Malaysia
University
Universiti Teknikal Malaysia Melaka
Major
Computer Science
Education
Bachelor
Company
Development and sales of inspection and measurement systems using image processing, optical, and laser technologies, including LCD panel inspection systems, solar cell inspection systems, and film inspection systems

Anime Dreams to Reality: My Hero Academia’s Influence on My Career Path  

From Doraemon to Naruto, anime’s fantastical worlds gave my childhood color. Now, whenever I learn Japanese or use Japanese, I return to that childhood feeling of wonder and glee. Immersing myself in Japanese culture and learning more Japanese makes me happy. As I grew older, I realized that I could further pursue this passion and improve my Japanese if I somehow found a way to work in Japan.  

Anime didn’t just start this dream; it continues to inspire me even today. My favorite anime right now is My Hero Academia. The hero of the show, Izuku Midoriya begins their story utterly weak but the support from his mother, his classmates, and his mentor All Might pushes him to be an amazing hero. But more importantly, when Midoriya begins his journey, it’s tough and filled with challenges. It’s so important that his will, and determination, remain steadfast throughout the journey.   

I relate to Midoriya so much. Like him, I have this big dream for an extraordinary adventure that seems so far away from where I am. Still, with my determination and my parent’s encouragement, I’m confident about reaching my dreams.   

 

From Universiti Teknikal Malaysia Melaka to Japan: How Mentorship and Dedication Shaped My Career  

When I took on a Computer Science degree at the Universiti Teknikal Malaysia Melaka, I also made sure to take Japanese classes. My sensei there then introduced me to ASIA to JAPAN’s FAST OFFER International program. After reading the pamphlet, I immediately jumped at the opportunity. Starting off with the screening process, I went on a call that get to know my goals as well as check my Japanese language skills. Since I had basic Japanese skills, they led me to take Japanese classes.  

This was the beginning of my long journey. It took 200 hours of Japanese classes under FAST OFFER International before I began the job hunt. 100 hours helped me clear N4 level Japanese, and another 100 hours helped me clear N3. After the N3 classes, I had my 4th consultation call with FAST OFFER International and finally got the green light to start my job hunt.  

Along with other N3 Japanese class takers, I submitted a PR video which would be sent to Japanese companies. I crossed my fingers that I would get at least 3 companies interested which would grant me a fully sponsored 6-day trip to Japan for the interviews. After some waiting, I got the good news that I got exactly three!  

As soon I got the news, I scheduled mock interview sessions with my FAST OFFER International mentor. It was only supposed to be an hour, but I did two three-hour sessions with my mentor. They were extremely patient and helpful as they conducted the mock interviews, gave me corrections, and discussed with me the companies I was interviewing with. It was very rigorous, and every single second was very much worth it.  

 

My First International Leap: Landing in Japan with Dreams and Determination  

It was my first time going abroad so I was already very nervous. When there was a sudden gate change just 10 minutes before boarding, I ran around the airport all frazzled. Thankfully, once I arrived in Japan, FAST OFFER International completely took care of me so it was all smooth sailing.  

I couldn’t see much during that trip as I concentrated on preparing for the interviews. I only got to walk the area around the hotel. But in my mind, I wasn’t too tempted. I knew that if I succeeded in these interviews, I would have years to explore Japan as much as I wanted.  

I interviewed for three companies, each needing two interviews. Two were conducted online, and one was in person. I passed one online interview and one in-person interview.  

The process was quick. As soon as I finished the interviews, about an hour later, my mentor from FAST OFFER International called me to tell me the results. When I found out I got the job offer from two companies, I was ecstatic but also so confused. They were both very good companies, both with very competitive and promising salaries. I had just a week from then to mull over the choices and discuss them with my family, to make the right decision that would shape the next years of my life. It was a big decision!  

 

Embracing Diversity: Finding a Workplace in Japan that Respects My Beliefs  

One company had a leg up because they offered me a company tour. I got to meet my future workmates, see the actual office, and the place I’d be staying was just a street away. I could imagine myself there already. But what really won me over was their attitude towards my special requests.  

I was going to be their first Muslim employee so I had to ask hard questions about whether they could help accommodate my religious needs. I had to pray five times a day, two of which would land within my work hours. Prayers would last around 10-15 minutes. I needed to know in advance if they were okay with that. Not only were they amenable, but they asked me questions from genuine curiosity, wanting to learn more. I was even happy to show them how I pray, demonstrating in front of them how it would go.   

Another concern brought on by being Muslim was what I would eat. I could eat some Japanese dishes but skip dishes with pork and alcohol. I would have limited options, but I would have to mostly cook for myself. The company I was touring with though, went the extra mile. They googled for Halal restaurants nearby so we could all have lunch together.   

I was scared about whether my requests could be accommodated, but this company was keen. They were looking forward to onboarding me so much, they initially asked if I could come in July. Sadly, that would be months from my graduation, so I wouldn’t have all the required papers for the visa yet. So, we could meet each other halfway, they allowed me to onboard October as a remote worker. I will officially join the physical office next year.   

How could I say no to a company like that?  

  

Looking Forward: Embracing My Future Adventures in Japan with Open Arms  

I’m so excited about my future adventures: stretch my wings, sample independence, and fly. My parents, who’ve taught me to be cautious as their precious eldest child, also made a point to encourage my adventurous spirit. The reason I can look forward to such an amazing future is because of their support and FAST OFFER International.  

I hope more people learn about FAST OFFER International. I know there are plenty of others like me who just don’t know that this is happening. They just need to know!   

This journey has affected me so much. More than falling in love with Japan, the language, and the culture even more, I think this journey also helped me appreciate myself more. It was a difficult journey that needed a lot of perseverance, but I showed myself that if I decided on something, and exerted my passion, I could do anything.   

  

Discover Malaysia: My Top Recommendations for Every Visitor  

  • Malaysian Dish they can’t miss  

Nasi Lemak! It’s this delicious, spicy rice dish I’m sure they will love.   

  • The Malaysian Flavor Japan needs  

Malaysians love their spice. Everything we eat is spicy. I’m a little scared there won’t be enough spiciness in Japan so I have to hoard and bring my own dried chillis.  

  • The perfect place to go to in Malaysia for every interest  

If you like shopping, go to Kuala Lumpur. If you love theme parks, go to Genting Highlands in Pahang. If you like hiking, try the short, easy, but amazing Bukit Batu Sawa Hike. If you’re a foodie, you mustn’t miss Penang Hill. Penang Hill is home to three communities: the Malay, the Indian, and the Chinese. From one location, you’ll have access to delicious traditional dishes from all these communities. 

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