From time to time, we ask expat engineers about their experience in working and living in Japan. This time Anastasia, a civil engineer from Russia, tells why she decided on moving here and how is it to live and work in Japan.
Hello! My name is Anastasia and I am from Russia. I’ve been working in Japan for almost three months as a civil engineer — something I couldn’t have imagined might happen. I hope my story will serve as an encouragement for those who want to start working in Japan but isn’t really sure how and where to start.
So, there isn’t really a great story behind my motivation of coming to Japan. At some point of my adolescent fascination with different things, I took great interest in Japanese voice actors. As silly as it sounds, it quickly escalated from there. And then, I found out that Japan is a country of opportunities in any possible field. There are not only people, contributing to the development of high technologies and science, but also those who make a living planting flowers and preparing vegetable juices. I found it exhilarating and hard to imagine was it to happen in a country like Russia.
Ever since that moment I knew I will at least try to have a way in Japan. I started learning Japanese right away and life was gracious enough to let me visit Japan on more than one occasion. I was even able to go on an exchange study to university in Tokyo during my last year of education. The friends I made at that time fueled my determination even more and after graduation, I came across an architect job offer. I sent my portfolio, took the online interview and luckily got in!
The company arranged everything, from visa documents to flight and accommodation for when I arrive. I only had to brace myself and buy a set of suits, because office culture is a big thing here. For one month I took business manner classes, polished my polite language as well and then I entered the main office. So, until now I’ve been working in a Japanese construction company for almost three months and I am enjoying it much more than I thought I would. Since it is my first job I was afraid that Japanese workflow will be hard on me but in fact, the conditions are good and colleagues are all very nice always helping me out. Also, there is so much to learn every day! No matter where I end up, I know it will be a valuable experience.
Japan is a great country to live in. Of course, during the first months, the amount of kanji in every possible place is intimidating. But very soon you realize that society is so welcoming and forgiving of your cute foreign antics that you can actually navigate the country without even breaking a sweat. And the existence of convenience stores can save you from the most dire situations. And do I even need to talk about incredible scenery that varies from sakura and autumn leaves to misty mountains, old temples and tiny tea houses? As small as Japan is, it has everything you could and could not even imagine. And one of the most important things — the food is amazing anywhere you go.
In my free time, I like going out for long walks or runs, taking breaks to do some sketches or read a book. Of course, I love hanging out with friends and try to meet them every time our schedules match. I also love traveling and keep on discovering new amazing places even in Tokyo. I truly enjoy every moment of being in Japan.
I fell in love with Japan because of its people and for now, I am really happy to be around. I have made no plans about the future, decided to go with the flow, but there are surely tons of things I want to try. And Japan seems like a perfect place to start.
For those who also want to move to Japan, my biggest advice would be to have courage. Because really, there is nothing to be afraid of. Japan is very welcoming and people here always try to make sure you don’t get left out. Language is definitely something you should consider learning, were you to live here, but after all, it is just a tool. With a little bit of persistence and patience, anyone can use it well. Of course, Japanese knowledge helps me out big time but I know a lot of people who are working here and yet on their way to master Japanese. They don’t seem to struggle with everyday life but are surely determined to keep on getting better.
Be adventurous and give it a try!
WIJ Editor team