2024-04-26

Insights from an Indian Computer Science Graduate at Pune University

Summary

Our hero’s tale begins at age 8, captivated by the adventures of English-dubbed Pokémon, setting the stage for a lifelong passion for Japanese anime and technology. This fascination, combined with stories and treats from his father’s business trip to Japan, ignited a dream to work in Japan. Pursuing a Computer Science degree was a natural step, aligning his love for gaming with his professional aspirations. His journey toward this dream involved joining “Hirameki Classes” for Japanese and participating in the FAST OFFER International program, which offered free high-level Japanese classes. Despite the daunting challenge of job hunting in Japan, including rigorous interviews and balancing university exams, his perseverance and support from mentors and friends led to securing a job in Japan. As he prepares for his move, he stays dedicated to inspiring others to follow their dreams, demonstrating the power of passion, perseverance, and the support of a like-minded community.

Interested in Working in japan?

Profile

Countries & Regions
India
University
Savitribai Phule Pune University
Major
Computer Science
Education
Bachelor
Company
Developing and delivering a SaaS platform for enterprise mobile management to help various organizations manage and utilize mobile devices more effectively

All Roads Lead to Japan: How Anime and Technology Fueled My Dream to Work in Japan 

It all began when I watched English-dubbed Pokémon at 8 years old. Soon enough, I started watching other anime in the original Japanese language with subtitles. I became entrenched in the anime world, so I started studying Japanese on my own, watching things I was interested in, and picking up lines and phrases for the next 6 years. 

When my dad, who worked for a Japanese company in a local branch in India, got a 7-day business trip to Japan, it changed things for me. He came home with Japanese treats and stories about Japan that fired up my interest. One of the treats was this crispy cookie that turned into mochi as you chewed. I couldn’t read Japanese then, so I wasn’t sure what I ate based on the packaging, just that I liked it. I was enamored. It also showed me that perhaps I could work in Japan one day. Plus, I thought it would be great to follow in Dad’s footsteps and make him proud of me.  

Another thing that helped form my dream to go to Japan one day was my passion for technology. I’ve always been a gamer, so I enjoyed working with computers. I wanted to choose a degree that would allow me to use computers a lot. So, choosing Computer Science as my degree was a no-brainer. This interest aligned perfectly with Japan’s reputation as a tech powerhouse and its keenness to take on foreigners looking for IT jobs.  

All these different stories in my life pointed to one conclusion: I needed to work in Japan! 

 

Mastering Japanese: From Classroom Lessons to Practical Applications 

Hoping to work in Japan one day, I researched about the best Japanese class to join. “Hirameki Classes” were the highest-rated in-person classes near my area. I enrolled in these paid classes which led me to meet friends from different places with a similar dream of working in Japan. Our sensei then introduced us to this exciting program: ASIA to JAPAN’s FAST OFFER International Program. 

To be honest, I was suspicious at first because FAST OFFER International’s services are completely free. Signing up meant I would have access to tuition-free high-level Japanese classes. Why would anyone give away free Japanese classes? Trusting my teacher, I signed up and passed the screening session. True enough, all my classes have been free since then. 

During this time, I also made sure to study with my friends. One of the most challenging things to learn was Kanji. We would send a whole page of Kanji we wrote every day in our chat group. Anyone who missed a day would pay around a hundred rupees. At the end of the classes, we’d use the money to have a party. It motivated us to study consistently and stay passionate throughout the long 1 ½ year journey of studying Japanese.  

The more I studied Japanese, the more passionate I became. Combining my interests in gaming and Japanese, my group final year project was a Snakes and Ladders application that helped you learn Japanese. Through the game, you can roll the dice for every correct answer to a Japanese language question. It was fun to make and also extremely helpful as it gamified learning Japanese.  

 

Navigating the Job Market: Securing My Future in Japan’s Tech Industry 

When it rains, it pours. When I was studying N4 Japanese, it was finally time to look for a job in Japan. I found out there were three interested companies who wanted to interview me, but the interviews were scheduled just days later, were happening on consecutive days, and were also in conjunction with two important university exams! On top of that, as I was preparing, I was also committed to helping a friend of mine prepare. Every day started early and ended late. There was so much going on and I was barely able to sleep. Thankfully, my mentor from helped me carve time into my busy schedule for mock interviews and other interview preparations.  

For the first interview, my mentor didn’t just help me prepare but also helped set my expectations. It was a great company but was notoriously hard to pass for most students. They told me that it was ok to fail especially because I might not have enough time to prepare. But even though I’d fail, I’d still get valuable experience and shouldn’t feel discouraged about it. 

The interview came and went, and as predicted, I couldn’t pass. I was disappointed even though I was predicting it. But there was no time to feel those negative feelings too much as I was busy preparing for exams and the next two interviews. 

For the second interview, I had little preparation, but I did feel a little more confident with some interview experience under my belt. The interview went well, but I was caught off guard by the web test after. It was a hard test I failed at.  

I had one interview left. I felt the full weight of it. I put all my eggs in one basket. There was a career placement at Savitribai Phule Pune University where I studied which I completely skipped. I hinged my whole future with FAST OFFER. But most importantly, I felt I needed to succeed for my juniors. By that time, people knew I was already pretty fluent in conversational Japanese. I’d even won a Japanese speech contest. If my juniors, who had similar dreams of going to Japan, saw me fail, it would be discouraging for them. I wanted to succeed to inspire them. Sleep-deprived and exhausted, but equipped with the experience of two prior interviews, I powered through the last interview. 

Finally, I passed! It was such a relief. I couldn’t believe it. I was so happy. Knowing one of my seniors already worked at this company, I quickly signed the contract. 

 

Looking Ahead: My Aspirations and Plans for a Tech Career in Japan 

I have almost a year until I fly to Japan. Japanese companies typically scout students in their final year so that they can go straight to work after graduating. With the time left, I want to help other folks with a similar dream. I’ll also use this time to make a list of things I’m excited to do in Japan. I’ve been so busy and single-minded; I haven’t even been able to sit down and imagine the future yet. I do know that one of the places I really have to go to is Akihabara, a spot that’s used time and again in Anime. I’m so excited to see it with my own eyes and step into this world I’ve been drawn to since I was young.  

 

6 Keys to Success: Learning Japanese and Achieving My Tech Dream in Japan 

To summarize, here are the things I did that helped me in my journey 

  1. Chase Your Dream with Like-Minded Friends. I met friends from the Hirameki class with the same vibe, energy, and passion, and we helped encourage each other and hold each other accountable for learning Japanese consistently. This is my best advice.
    It’s also those relationships I had–my friends, my juniors–that got me through the hardest times. When I was so tired, I had to think beyond myself. I thought about the other people I could let down or inspire depending on what I did. I couldn’t have done what I did without the people who helped me and even the people that I helped.
  2. Consistency is key when learning Japanese. Learning Kanji must be one of the hardest things about learning Japanese. When you’re facing difficult tasks, it can be tempting to give up. That’s when having a team of friends to be accountable to helped with being consistent. We forced each other to keep studying kanji every day over the threat of paying 100 rupees and it paid off. 
  3. Use Your Interests to Power Your Study Sessions. Try to find interesting ways into the culture in which you’re personally invested. Every day, I would try to read a Japanese blog post that would interest me. One time, I read a blog post about finding a Japanese girlfriend. Because the topic was interesting, learning became fun and engaging. 
  4. Don’t Be Afraid of Failure. The Japanese have this phrase: “taking on challenges without fear of failure.” That was something that struck me. I used to be afraid of failing and it kept me from giving my 100% as I was afraid to venture out of my comfort zone.
    But in everything, failure is integral to getting better. It’s normal to be bad at something first. To fight that mindset, that’s actually why I started going to Japanese classes and doing extracurriculars. These activities helped me become comfortable with failing and learning.
    Being braver, and fighting my fear of failure, not only helped me learn Japanese but also in other aspects of my life. I stopped focusing on the results–of needing to win or succeed–and started focusing on the process, of committing to things I needed to do in the present wholeheartedly. 
  5. Don’t Give Up.  In the journey toward your dream, there are times when things don’t go the way you want. But in the end, none of those detours and failures matter if you don’t give up.
  6. Sign up with FAST OFFER International. In my life, I’ve told my friends about this program because it was essential for my journey. They went over and beyond to help me, all for free. I really hope more people get to enjoy the benefits I did, finding opportunities and mentorship they wouldn’t have had access to on their own.  

 

Must-Try Delicacies: Local Recommendations for Pune 

  • An Indian dish you can’t miss 

There’s so much good food to eat in Pune you’ve probably already seen on your social media. I recommend the Indian Burger called “Wada pav“. It’s cheap but delicious. You also mustn’t miss Pani Puri, these crispy wafer balls filled with spiced veggies. It’s a dish I’m sure I’ll miss once I’m in Japan 

  • An Indian flavor Japan needs 

If you’re going to Pune or India, you absolutely need Maggie Masala if you’re going to be trying to cook Indian food at home. I’m hoarding Maggie Masala for my luggage! I’m sure I’ll miss this flavor once I’m in Japan.  

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