My journey in Japan: the start

Let’s take it to the start!

It was in 2017, when I sat at my desk job wondering what I was doing with my life. After my first trip to Japan in October 2017, December came in like a wind of awakening.

I always wanted to live in Japan since then.

I had my first interview with Aeon Corporation that year and I failed like really quickly after the interview.

So dumbfounded and lost, I was thinking, “Sien, maybe won’t be able to go to Japan liao lo”

I started reflecting on my life and that was the moment I said,

“I’m going to Japan, like it or not.”

2018 came and I started applying for more and more jobs outside of teaching English because I am completely inexperienced in teaching or working outside of the finance industry.

Was I surprised I couldn’t land any job without JLPT N2 (at least that back in 2018)?

Yes, very.

I was new to the job market and job hunting scene in Japan so I figured why won’t anyone hire me??

Of course, my skills were not in parallel to the required skills anyways.

I didn’t know Japan’s culture, let alone, any Japanese.

So, I did more research on going in as a student.

Let’s just say, man, being a student in a language school costs an arm and a leg.

I was like, that’s it, how does anyone get into Japan?

And, why do people have better luck than me?

There are options, ways, and routes to get into the country. But coming from an Asian country where the main language wasn’t English, my chances of standing out was very low.

And that was when I found,

Kansai University

They offered this program known as JLC which stands for Japanese Language and Culture, for those who have graduated for a while now, interested in coming to Japan in learning the culture and language.

When I signed up for the program, I was one in 6 of us who were in the actual program. I missed the deadline but given that the cap was at 20 students and I was the 6th to join, they opened a slot for me.

I then, submitted my letter of resignation to my job in Malaysia and started panicking for every little thing about Japan.

That was the start of my entry into Japan in 2018. And it was one of the best memories I have in my life. I met so many great people, taught so many funny classes in the university and eventually, the experience landed me a job in teaching in Japan. The rest became history.

I was only in school for 3 months and spent most of my time working on a research paper about Japanese work culture and writing as a writer for Taiken Japan (which has since closed in March 2022 due to the pandemic). I chose Kansai University because if I was paying an arm and a leg, it might as well be from a university to add ‘glory’ to my resume.

There were things I wish I knew and things I did that made the experience truly remarkable. But now that I have told my starting out story, I hope in the next few episodes of this series, you’ll learn more about things to be mindful of before choosing or moving to Japan.

I would say going in as a student is a lot more better than starting out as a fresh salary man who has no clue about the country and culture. My student life taught me the ropes to Japan and the system the country practices strongly. Needless to say, the culture shock was kept at bay.

It was an investment and one that definitely paid off in terms money could not describe.

August 2018: the start to a very long journey in Japan. The beginning of all chapters.

Let the series begin!

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