2023-04-26

Success Story- 29804

Summary

Majored in Japanese at Tongji University, one of the top three universities in Shanghai in China. As an intern, she belonged to the International Exchange Department in a local program. She was involved in various tasks such as advertising, translation/interpretation, and document preparation for the Japan-China Trade Forum. Has acquired N1 and has good communication skills and is expected to play an active role globally.

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Profile

Countries & Regions
China
University
Tongji University
Major
Foreign Language studies
Education
Masters
Company
Japanese petroleum company

My Encounter with Japan by Chance 

My interest in Japan began with my grandfather, who received a Japanese-made watch as a retirement gift and treasured it. He explained to me how great the quality of the watch was, which gave me the impression that Japan was a country with excellent manufacturing. From there, as a high school student, I began listening to J-POP and started to immerse myself in Japanese culture. 

I entered the Japanese language department by chance, or rather by fate. When I was considering my university entrance exam, I had a strong desire to enter Shandong University in China. The Chinese university entrance exam, known as the Gaokao, is a system in which students take a unified test and are ranked based on their scores. Depending on their ranking, they can apply to different universities and departments. If a student’s score is even one point lower, they must consider different universities and departments. The range of universities one can choose from becomes clearer through practice tests. When I looked at my score and overall ranking, I found out that the Japanese language department was the only department at Shandong University that I could enter. And so, I entered the Japanese language department and began to study Japanese in general. 

 

What I saw in Nagasaki: a different side of Japan, and myself as a bridge between Japan and China 

Studying about Japan in China and going to Japan are two naturally different experiences. Before going to Japan, I admired it as an advanced country. However, once I was there, I discovered that Japan had various social problems, disparities between rural and urban areas, and unique qualities that I could not fully understand until I experienced them myself. Nagasaki was a peaceful and tranquil place compared to Jinan city, where I lived. I have volunteered in over 20 different places, mainly to help with local revitalization, but in Nagasaki, I witnessed challenges such as population outflows and an aging population due to societal changes. These issues cannot be fully understood just by observing Japan’s outward appearance but are only realized once on site. I found joy in gradually providing a young and foreign perspective and working towards improvement while integrating and living in that environment. I wanted to challenge myself by stepping out of my comfort zone as a non-native person in an unfamiliar place and in various situations. 

Furthermore, on the other hand, coming to Japan has allowed me to learn about the good qualities of Japan and its people, which I had not known before. I believe that Japan has unique positive attributes, such as the care for people deeply ingrained in Japanese culture and the consideration shown towards socially vulnerable individuals, such as those with disabilities. This can be seen through the abundance of barrier-free facilities. While China’s major cities may be more advanced in terms of technology and lifestyle, I still think that Japan’s attention to detail and consideration in various aspects is what sets it apart. 

Moreover, what I am most proud of is my participation in a corporate visit program in Tokyo and subsequently designing and planning a similar program in China. This involved connecting various companies and students to carry it out. When I participated in the program in Tokyo, I felt grateful for the opportunity for companies and students to interact face-to-face, and I strongly felt that the people who create such events are truly admirable. In China, I was facing job-hunting difficulties due to the inability to meet people face-to-face because of COVID-19. Therefore, I wanted to create opportunities for students to meet corporate personnel and visit companies. The process of creating the program was truly challenging, but by involving various people and actors, I was able to discover my interests and path. 

During my study abroad in Japan, I realized that I could become a bridge between Japan and China by bringing a Chinese perspective and initiative to Japan. Similarly, I could apply my experiences in Japan to my work in China. I am eager to take on this role, and I have come to understand that I can do so. Furthermore, my desire to return to Japan has grown stronger. 

 

Expectations and Struggles of Working in Japan 

Through my university, I learned about the FAST OFFER International program. Initially, I did not expect anything from the service because it was only linked on the university’s job support website, and I thought it might be a scam, with all the services being offered for free. However, after meeting with the ASIA to JAPAN staff, the process of preparing for and finding work in Japan became clearer, and it started to feel more real. As my expectations grew, I was disappointed when no companies selected me for an interview last December. Moreover, the in-person interview session scheduled for January was canceled. But amidst all that, I finally received news that I had been selected for my current job offer, and I was filled with both anticipation and nervousness. The ASIA to JAPAN staff, mentors, and teachers helped me with reviewing the essays I submitted to companies, preparing for tests, and predicting and preparing answers to interview questions. 

The main difference between Japanese hiring practices and those in China or in the West is that Japanese companies tend to evaluate a candidate’s potential for growth within the company based on their past experiences and how well they match with the company culture, rather than solely on their current abilities. I believe this is one of the attractive features of Japanese-style hiring. However, this aspect made it very difficult for me personally… (laughs) In particular, writing about or discussing my “gakuchika” (what I focused on during my time as a student) and taking web tests were challenging. While placing importance on gakuchika is also a characteristic of Japanese-style hiring, it was difficult for me as a foreigner who was not used to this approach. As for the web tests, it was very challenging for me as a non-native speaker of Japanese to think in Japanese within the limited time frame. Therefore, I searched for strategy videos on YouTube and looked at guide sites to practice extensively. Additionally, the experience of taking tests for other companies was valuable. 

I can still remember my final job interview for my current job offer. Before the interview, I was extremely nervous. It was my last chance to prove myself and take the final step towards achieving my dream of returning to Japan and working there. However, when the ASIA to JAPAN staff told me that “if you just be yourself, it will be okay,” I felt a great sense of relief, and I will never forget the encouragement they gave me. Even after the interview, I was still filled with anxiety about the outcome. But when the staff asked me, “Did you get to say everything you wanted to say today?” I realized that I had expressed everything I wanted to and felt like I had won, regardless of the result. When I was told that I had received the job offer, I was truly overjoyed. 

 

My Goals and Message for the Future

Although I have received a job offer, I still have one year left until graduation, so I have not fully realized it yet. However, I am really looking forward to it. After joining the company, I want to contribute to building the supply chain for energy using renewable sources like hydrogen and moving away from reliance on petroleum. Also, when I go to Japan, I want to travel a lot and explore more about the country. 

If there is someone who admires Japan but cannot take the first step, I want them to follow their heart for now. I want them to face their honest thoughts and their own will. It may not be realistic, or you may be concerned about what others think. However, if you have even a little desire to work in Japan, there are people who will support you if you speak up about your dreams. Please have the courage to face your dreams head-on! 

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