Starting from this month, our company will start calling foreigners around Fukuoka to help us in the process of internationalizing the company for good.
This new initiative which started with the foundation of the Overseas sales department aims to make 3R systems known throughout the world and translating our information into as many languages as we can seems like a good start.
As a foreigner in Japan, I am well aware of how difficult it sometimes is to communicate and adapt in this country.
Do not get me wrong though, I love Japan and have had wonderful memories and encounters here, but if you are trying to get into Japan and make it part of your life then you are facing a serious challenge.
Lack of foreign languages makes interaction with Japanese people challenging, forcing you most of the time to learn Japanese for working and living; the good side of this is that, after reaching a decent level of Japanese yourself, new opportunities arise since many places in Japan need someone to help communication problems.
(my case for example) since they cannot speak English or other languages.
Customs and protocol are also hard if you are not open minded. My experience here is all the greetings and formalities I had to learn just to work here; Another interesting one is when my wife’s grandmother died, the Japanese funeral was quite complex but the most shocking thing of all was after the body cremation, when the family had to pick up the rest of the bones with chopsticks for the ashes box.
All in all, it takes quite a lot to thrive here. If you do things right, with a little bit of support (without my wife and her family I would not be here now, thanks Ryoko!) and if you are lucky you can do well but, in any case, it will take plenty of time to gain a solid foothold: from going to the Japanese academy, doing baitos (part time- jobs), from teaching your mother language today to doing translations tomorrow.
The fact is, getting a stable job (not to mention your “dream job”) is hard since you really need to have some kind of experience/trait that makes you, not only useful, but special.
This gets trickier the further away you move from the main city hubs (Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya…).
The needs for international talent get close to zero even with part time jobs, factory jobs, English teaching jobs and those kind of jobs should be available with some Japanese.
The problem is that Fukuoka is not a small city but yet the grade of internationalization is low (except for Chinese and Korean affairs).
A company with international projection is hard to find so if we manage to do a good job at the Ce Bit Hanover exhibition next month we may be able to create a proper overseas department and take 3R to a new level.
I and my trusted supervisor will keep working to make it true so the foreign community in will have a friend in 3R Systems Japan.