–Exposure to Japan through Japanese literature and an exchange program in Japan–
Since I was young, I have been into Japanese literature, such as the works of Haruki Murakami. Manga has also been a big part of my reading material. In fact, I have so many Japanese books that I love and read almost every day around my desk. As I continued to expose myself to these Japanese literary works daily, I began to teach myself the language while in high school. It was not a serious undertaking, just a casual and informal study of Katakana, Hiragana, and a few other Kanji using a language-learning app. I completed two courses and found the materials given were made to be interesting, which makes the Kanji memorization not arduous as it should.
When I heard about a two-week exchange program in Japan, I jumped at the chance to apply. Why not, right? I ended up staying with a host family in Iwate prefecture, located in the northern part of Japan. The trip was full of memorable experiences, including the gradual shift from no snow to a full-blown snowstorm in Morioka, which was both bizarre and interesting. Additionally, I noticed that cars in Japan always allow pedestrians to cross first and often bow while saying “どうぞ” (You can go first) which was kind of weird for me.
On a different note, Japanese books are visually stunning and of exceptional quality. I remember buying a chemistry book at a local bookstore, and it was so beautiful that I hung it up in my room like a piece of art. I still have a book given to me by my host family, which has simple packaging and makes me want to read it just by looking at it, although I have yet to finish it due to the complexity of the Kanji characters. I also appreciate how the Japanese concept of a book is to learn something new, and the addition of another book cover to protect it makes the book long-lasting, which is amazing. The books are also small and easy to carry, making them perfect for reading on the go. I feel like this reflects the Japanese mindset in a way. Overall, my two-week stay in Japan was full of weird and wonderful experiences, which fueled my interest in working and living in Japan, based on my love of literature and my exchange program experience.
-Opportunity to Grow in a High-Pressure Environment-
In my opinion, the Japanese place a high value on discipline, professionalism, and responsibility, and their society is very time conscious. While living in Japan may be more stressful, it is a worthwhile trade-off because it allows for personal growth and improvement. If you view the pressure as a negative thing, then it will be negative. However, if you see it as an opportunity to grow, then it becomes a positive experience. Personally, I believe that Japanese society and companies offer the best environments for personal growth.
During my interviews with Japanese companies, I noticed how their values were reflected in the interview process. My mentor from ASIA to JAPAN was very strict with the students during the interview process. He emphasized that Japanese companies require professionalism and demand that candidates give their 100%. If you do not give your all, then you will not receive their attention. I am grateful to my mentor for giving me insight into the Japanese work culture and how to succeed in interviews with Japanese companies. Thanks to his guidance, my first interview was a success.
From my experience, Japanese interviewers tend to be more relaxed and focus on asking ABC questions. I was advised to prepare for each question and verbalize my thoughts. I worked hard to prepare and it paid off.
When I shared the news of my success with my parents, they were both thrilled. My mother cried tears of joy and my father, who I have never seen cry, was also emotional. I was overjoyed as well. It is a bit embarrassing to share this story, but I felt the love from my parents.
I am eager to move to Japan in six months and immerse myself in a new culture. Life in Japan will be vastly different from what I’m used to in Indonesia, both in daily life and work. While life in Japan may be time-bound and pressured, I relish the challenge and look forward to growing and having fun. But before I leave, I plan to travel around Java to learn more about my roots and home country.
–How much you improve depends on how you view the world–
I grew up with my mother. She was not strict at all, and she always let me do whatever I wanted. I believe that my mindset is a product of her education. I learned from her that personal growth depends on how you view the world. If you have a positive outlook, you will achieve better results.
This applies to job interviews as well; just try your best and take the first step. If you fail, try again and keep trying until you succeed. Indeed, you need to do very sufficient preparation. The interview is just a session of talking, however, the preparation behind it is immense. If you put in the effort and try your best, you can achieve anything you want.