2024-03-26

Engineering Dreams to Reality: Navigating the Japanese Automotive Industry

Summary

Embarking on a journey fueled by a fascination with Japanese automotive brands and a deep-rooted desire to work in Japan, his story is a compelling exploration of cultural and professional growth. Initiated by his father’s affiliation with a Japanese car company, his interest expanded through anime and the allure of Japan’s rich automobile sector. Facing the daunting task of mastering Japanese, he engaged in college-organized language classes. The story gets bigger when he meets FAST OFFER International, who helps him find job opportunities in Japan that fit his dream. He then transitions from educational endeavors to the practical challenges of job interviews in Japan, conducted entirely in Japanese. His experiences—ranging from the technical nuances of the interviews to the warmth of Japanese culture experienced first-hand—underline the importance of language ability and passion for one’s field. With his experience, he encourages others with the same dream to do their best to master Japanese and to actively take part in transformative projects. His story underscores the power of dedication, cultural immersion, and strategic preparation in achieving one’s career aspirations in Japan. 23908

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Profile

Countries & Regions
India
University
Savitribai Phule Pune University
Major
Mechanical Engineering
Education
Bachelor
Company
Manufacturer of transportation equipment, primarily motorcycles

From Casual Observer to Industry Aspirant 

I was interested in Japan long before, mainly because my father works at a Japanese car company. His work today is in the dealership, so I got to see the cars there. Witnessing the sleek vehicles at his dealership and owning a bike from another Japanese company deepened my fascination. These brands held a significant presence in India, and I always sensed there was something extraordinary about them. Later I came to know more about them and then the whole world of the automobile industry in Japan opened to me.     

As my interest in Japan grew, I delved more into anime and Japan’s diverse culture. These became my gateway into the captivating world of the Japanese automobile industry. Initially drawn by the desire to work in Japan, my focus intensified due to my passion for cars and everything about the automotive realm. 

My final year project in India involved the collaborative construction of a race car or a Student Formula. It was a competition that challenged us to build and race our creations. This experience deepened my passion. I was determined to work for the automotive industry.   

First, I tried to secure job opportunities in India, but I faced the hurdles of needing connections. Determined to pursue my dream, I shifted my focus to Japan. Fortunately, a senior from college told me about ASIA to JAPAN’s FAST OFFER International program. He had successfully ventured to Japan through this platform.   

   

Embracing Japan: Culture, Language, and Career Ambitions 

Learning Japanese became my next big challenge. I started in my first year of college back in 2019. My college organized Japanese classes, and I hopped on board. It was the peak of my interest in anime, so I figured, why not learn the language too? The tricky part was those kanji characters – there are so many of them, that it felt crazy trying to memorize each one. Thankfully, the language classes at my university made it interesting. Slowly, they started teaching us grammar, vocabulary, and how to put it all together.   

   

Race Car Project That Paved the Way 

The most significant chapter unfolded during job interviews with Japanese companies. FAST OFFER International allowed me to take three interviews, which were all in Japanese. One of them was supposed to be online, but they let me take them to Japan.    

My mentor used to work for one of the companies I was to interview with. His valuable insights improved my answers, adding impactful vocabulary and refining my responses. For instance, he taught me what are good answers and questions in the company’s lenses, and which are not. He pointed out that some of my answers lacked impact and he helped me to improve them by helping me improve my vocabulary. The practice gave me confidence and made the interviews easy for me.     

Regarding the interview that resulted in an offer, it was partly because the interviewer and I had a common experience: the Student Formula project. He took part 4 years in a row and even won the competition twice. He understood my project very deeply, which made the interview incredibly comfortable for me. Later, when I met him, he showed me his vehicles and experiences there.   

I have been interviewed for internships before, but it was my first time to have an official interview for a job. In India, particularly for newcomers like me, the interview process typically revolves around examining one’s knowledge. Usually, there are 2 interviews. This conventional approach involves a two-step structure, starting with a technical interview followed by an HR interview. In the technical interview, I would be asked theoretical questions which are like taking an exam. In the Japanese interviews, unlike the conventional approach, the interviews delved beyond technical ability. It was also key to show a keen interest in understanding me as an individual. While technical queries were present, there was an emphasis on examining how it all plays into the big picture for me. We talked about my experiences in the context of my aspirations, and motivations underpinning my career choices. They also asked about my plans for the next five and ten years. It became palpably clear that, for the Japanese interviewers, these aspects held greater significance than a mere assessment of technical ability. Therefore, I had to analyze myself deeply before the interview so that I could give concrete responses.    

   

First Impressions and Unforgettable Experiences 

When FAST OFFER International informed me that three companies had selected me, granting me the opportunity to visit Japan. I couldn’t believe it at first. I filled in the documents, and the very next day they gave me my tickets for the flight. Boarding the flight with tickets in hand, the realization hit me, “this is getting real.” It was my first time flying on an airplane too. Everything I experienced was completely new to me.    

Arriving in Japan for the first time, I was mesmerized by its beauty and the kindness of the people I met. From the ASIA TO JAPAN staff to the people I interacted with just on trains or in random places, they were all exceedingly kind. Even the interviewers seemed genuinely interested in knowing me as a person. The whole experience was awesome.    

During our free time in Tokyo, seven other talents like me, all from India, explored the city. We planned a trip to make the most of our stay. We visited iconic places like the Tokyo Metropolitan Building, Meiji Jingu, Shibuya, and Akihabara. Navigating through shopping centers, we experienced the blend of traditional and modern Japanese culture. A special moment was visiting a shrine from the animated movie “Your Name.” It was like stepping into a scene from an anime we really enjoyed. It was surreal.   

Something happened on one of our trips that encapsulates my experience in Japan very well. While traveling, we unintentionally bought the wrong Metro tickets. Approaching an officer for guidance, to our surprise, he not only took the incorrect tickets but also refunded our money, patiently directing us to the correct ones. This level of aid was unprecedented in my travel experiences. In most places, buying the wrong ticket is considered one’s fault, and (I think) this is the norm in the rest of the world. However, experiencing the length of their helpfulness, was a remarkable testament to the unique and considerate nature of the Japanese culture, an aspect I found to be quite distinct from what I’ve experienced anywhere else.    

Following the acceptance of my job offer, I seized the opportunity to visit the company. The journey was marked by my first experience on a bullet train, adding a novel chapter to my adventures. Arriving during the recruitment period for October, I also had the privilege of meeting the recruiting team. To my surprise, one of them turned out to be a classmate from my Japanese class back in India. This unexpected connection made the entire stay in Japan even more fascinating, etching lasting memories in my professional journey.   

   

Language Mastery and Career Success in Japan 

Based on my experience, if I were to share a piece of advice, it would undoubtedly be to prioritize the consistent practice of the Japanese language. While technical achievements and knowledge are undeniably important, it’s safe to assume that most applicants have these skills. Therefore, dedicating time to enhance your ability in the language can be a significant differentiator. A better command of Japanese not only boosts your preparedness for interviews but also instills a heightened sense of confidence. So, focus on honing your language skills. This is key to facing interviews with greater assurance.   

Another valuable piece of advice is to actively engage in college life. My transformative experience during my final year project in India, where we built a Student Formula, had a profound impact on me. Before taking part in the project, I was reserved, had few friends, and was not particularly outgoing. However, the Student Formula project completely altered my trajectory. I gained increased technical competence, and my personality transformed for the better.   

Nowadays, I try to go out as much as possible, and now more people recognize me. This shift in perspective and personal growth directly influenced my decision to seize the opportunity to work in Japan and significantly contributed to my success in interviews. It makes all the difference to embrace opportunities for challenging projects that have the potential to bring about positive change in oneself. It’s a chance not only for skill development but also for personal growth, shaping a more confident and capable version of oneself.  

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