From Italian Shores to Japanese Horizons: An Environmental Humanities Graduate’s Journey to Tokyo


A Japanese Studies students goes on a journey from Italy to Japan fuelled by her lifelong fascination with manga, anime, and the Japanese language. Her academic pursuit at the University of Turin deepens her appreciation for Japanese culture and language, leading her to a graduate degree focused on Japanese literary works depicting the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster. The story takes a personal turn as she follows her heart to Japan, motivated by her Japanese boyfriend. With FAST OFFER International’s assistance, she overcomes the daunting jobhunting process, and secures a position in an organization that works on environmental protection. Despite her initial doubts as a humanities student, her perseverance, high level Japanese language proficiency, culminated in success so she can further pursue a fulfilling life and career in Japan.

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University of Turin
Japanese Studies
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Embracing the Japanese Language: An Italian’s Academic Journey 

I developed an emotional connection to the Japanese language because I started reading manga and watching anime at a very young age. I was also always interested in languages and was drawn to the idea of studying and working in a foreign country someday. It only made sense that when I grew a little older, I chose Japanese as my major at the University of Turin. While studying Japanese in university and experiencing a fascination with the language and Japanese culture, my desire grew stronger.  

There were mainly two types of classes in the university: one taught by Italian teachers and the other by Japanese teachers. In the classes with Italian teachers, we primarily used the textbook “Minna no Nihongo” and studied vocabulary, grammar, kanji, and so on. In classes with Japanese teachers, we practiced a lot of Japanese conversation. Thanks to these classes, I graduated from university proficient in speaking Japanese.  

I pursued a graduate degree to delve deeper into Japanese language and literature and wrote my thesis around literary works depicting the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant disaster. I focused on the stories of mothers evacuating with their children after the disaster and the problem of radiation contamination and was touched by the portrayal of strong Japanese mothers. 

My drive to head for Japan had another factor come in during my Graduate studies. I met a Japanese boyfriend, and as he returned to Japan, I was more decided to work in Japan.  


Discovering Japan: A Personal Exploration of Culture and Tradition 

In 2019, I went to Japan for the first time to attend a Japanese language school. The food in Japan is delicious, and the scenery is beautiful. In 2023, I visited Japan again for my boyfriend’s sister’s wedding ceremony. I was fascinated by how different my Italian culture was from Japan’s. In Italy, it is common for passengers to talk loudly on trains and buses. However, on Japanese trains, passengers are always quietly sleeping or reading a novel. I was impressed by this sense of order. Now, I am on my third visit to Japan, living with my boyfriend’s family, which is enjoyable. I really love living in Japan.  


Securing a Future in Japan: The Role of FAST OFFER and Determination 

In my university Japanese classes, the staff from ASIA to JAPAN held a job fair for working in Japan. That’s how I learned about FAST OFFER International. It seemed troublesome to search and prepare for job opportunities in Japan on my own. FAST OFFER International offered a convenient solution, so I registered and applied.  

Through online sessions, I received many interview invitations from companies. The first interview was quite different from interviews in Italy, and I wasn’t prepared for many of the questions. I couldn’t answer them well. For example, there was a question about how I envision myself in 10 years, and I had a hard time imagining it.  

Learning from my failures, I thoroughly researched the companies I applied to and conducted mock interviews with my Japanese boyfriend to prepare for the next interviews. When I received the job offer, I was happy but was also shocked! I found it hard to believe. Most students who receive job opportunities in Japan have specialized technical skills in STEM fields. Therefore, I had been worried for a long time about whether a humanities student like me could do something in Japan. So, I’m ecstatic about this unexpected enormous success.  

The company I will be joining is an organization that assesses greenhouse gas emissions. Once I start working there, my main responsibilities will include preparing assessment documents, conducting assessments at the company, and writing assessment reports. I have no related work experience, and Japanese will become the language use in my daily work. Although I’m anxious about some areas, I’m excited because of my interest in environmental protection work. 


Job Hunting in Japan: Tips from an Italian Humanities Graduate 

  1. The most crucial factor is your ability in the Japanese language. It’s so important to speak Japanese well to convey your thoughts effectively.  
  2. Persistence is key to achieving goals. At first, I was told that finding job opportunities in Japan would be difficult. It is indeed challenging, but with effort, it is certainly possible.  
  3. Thorough preparation is essential. It came incredibly handy to research interview etiquette specific to Japan and gather information about the company in advance.  
  4. Lastly, don’t let failure stop you. Even if you fail, don’t give up and continue facing interviews! By doing so, you will surely find a job in Japan!  

Please do your best! I’m cheering you on! 

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