–The reason for my interest in Japan–
The reason for my interest in Japan began with anime. I started watching it at a young age and learned basic words such as “thank you” and “first time” through it. When a friend showed me a Japanese language textbook during my sophomore year in college (at the age of 16 due to skipping grades), I decided to start self-studying Japanese out of curiosity. Five years later, in 2017, I passed the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT) N2.
Initially, my interest in learning Japanese was just to acquire new knowledge. However, as I progressed through my studies, I noticed the similarities between Japanese and Chinese and felt a sense of accomplishment with the speed of my progress. As I continued studying, I began to understand the Japanese way of thinking through the language, and I was impressed by its delicate, polite, and serious aspects. Despite the difficulty of Japanese with its many honorifics and compound verbs, I continue to study it due to my interest. Now, I even watch Japanese dramas without subtitles and rewind to study any parts of the dialogue that I don’t understand. With the development of the internet, there are now many resources available for learning, and I believe that starting with something easy is a key.
–Comparing workplace environments in Japan and China –
As I progressed through my doctoral program and started thinking about my future career as a researcher, I began to consider working in Japan instead of China. In my opinion, there are three main differences in the workplace environments between Japan and China.
First, in China, engineers are undervalued, and promotion opportunities are limited. However, in Japan, one can start as a new employee and progress to become a project leader by gaining technical skills and experience. In China, it is difficult for technical staff to advance without becoming a manager.
Second, in Japan, there is an opportunity for salary increases every year, whereas in China, salaries do not change unless one is promoted to a higher position. Chinese youth must change jobs if they want a pay raise.
Third, regardless of the company size, work-life balance is poor in China. In Japan, most companies provide overtime pay and adequate break time. However, in China, there is no overtime pay, and lunch breaks are often spent in meetings. Despite the perception of high salaries in Chinese corporations, I feel that it is an image of “doing the work of three people for the pay of two.” The large population in China means that there are plenty of substitutes even if one doesn’t work, leading to such a workplace environment.
Therefore, I have decided to use the stable environment provided in Japan for researchers to apply my specialized skills acquired during my doctoral program to develop things that will contribute to society. I also hope to utilize my Chinese language skills to help with technical and product development.
–Job Hunting in Japan –
My introduction to FAST OFFER International occurred in 2018 when the president of ASIA to JAPAN gave a presentation at my university. Shortly after, as I approached graduation from graduate school, I registered with FASTOFFER International to begin my job search in Japan.
Later, ASIA to JAPAN staff members extended offers from companies, granting me interview opportunities. My mentor provided me with valuable advice on interview preparation, emphasizing the importance of researching companies before joining. To that end, I conducted thorough research on the companies I interviewed with. I was surprised to learn that in Japan, concise answers are preferred during interviews, whereas in China, longer responses are considered better. My mentor was also knowledgeable about technical aspects and provided helpful advice in that area.
The actual interviews were conducted online, and the ASIA to JAPAN staff members provided guidance until the end, helping to alleviate my nervousness. The interviewer from the company’s development department created a comfortable atmosphere, and I was pleased to see that they had a good understanding of my research area.
Thanks to this process, I received an offer from my first-choice company. Without my mentor’s guidance, I would not have received this offer. I immediately sent an email to my mentor to inform her of my acceptance. It feels like a dream come true to be able to work in Japan starting next year!
–Vision for the Company –
In the next five years, I envision developing materials and methods to reduce gear sizes, guiding junior colleagues, assisting senior colleagues and managers, and working as a mid-level member to achieve team goals. Additionally, I aim to complete the development of at least two new methods or materials and establish them as key technologies.
In ten years, my goal is to become an expert in composite materials and to be involved in developing new composite materials for new challenges. As a project leader, I aspire to lead team members and see them through to the achievement of team goals. I also plan to develop at least 10 new methods or materials and create products that incorporate these technologies.
Although I have no experience studying in Japan, my love for the country and ability to speak Japanese inspired me to pursue job opportunities there. However, I was initially unfamiliar with the job-hunting system in Japan, which is different from that of China. Fortunately, FASTOFFER International gave me the chance to work in Japan and provided me with a lot of help and preparation. With their guidance, I have no worries about my transition to a new workplace. My advice to others is to move forward with confidence!