From Foreign to Home, Inaya’s Working Experience in Japan
Inaya moved to Japan in March 2016 to pursue an exciting work opportunity in the Japanese headquarters of a global manufacturing company.
“I have always been the kind of person who likes new experiences. When the company in which I did a summer internship offered me a position in their Japanese headquarters, I couldn’t say no!”
She was required to learn Japanese to take the offer. After her graduation, she covered a quick course for about 2 months. Once or twice a week, she would study very basic Japanese during a one-hour group class.
“My arrival in Japan was not easy. I felt a sense of alienation being unable to understand what was happening around me. Communication is important for my professional and personal life, and not being able to handle even the daily conversation made me feel at a real disadvantage.”
Working in marketing and business backgrounds, interaction is an important part of Inaya’s work life.
“I was worried about coming off as unable to accomplish my work. My colleagues were kind and supportive. They did their best to accommodate me; trying to speak English or asking a friend to help with translation. I did my best replying in Japanese. My first nomikai* were helpful in getting to know people outside of working hours. But even then, I felt being completely alone in social situations because I didn’t understand anything.
I faced challenges in my daily life too! The first meal I wanted to cook, I went to the grocery store and realized I had no idea where anything was! In that moment, I realized the culture shock more than ever.”
Right after her arrival, Inaya contacted us to inquire about taking Japanese lessons and within a month, she started taking group classes.
“Not being able to interact on a more personal level during classes was difficult for me. I must say, it was not working out very well as I had to juggle between my busy work schedule and the classes schedule. I switched to private lessons and it completely changed my experience!”
Inaya has been studying Japanese steadily for several months, very motivated to tackle all the challenges that come with working in Japan.
“Since my arrival, I’ve had quite a few breakthrough moments, and after 7 months, I can tell that I definitely feel more confident about Japanese and that has a lot to do with my teachers. They have helped me in coming up with my own learning system, which doesn’t rely on books at all. I have my unique way of learning and I really appreciate how much they follow the way I am comfortable with.”
For her, Japan is no longer a foreign place; it’s home!
“Once I had a handle on the language basics, I found out Japan to be a friendlier place. At work, my colleagues stopped relying on an interpreter and they came directly to me. I made Japanese friends and I feel so much more comfortable here now!
I realized this feeling during class when asked what’s my favorite foreign country. I immediately replied “Turkey” and the thought of Japan did not even cross my mind. Japan is not a foreign country anymore, it’s just home. Coming to Japan was challenging – visa, accommodation, culture, but my experience overall has been pleasant. It’s still difficult at times, but every day I am learning something new!”
*Nomikai: a drinking party within the company, to which employees are usually expected to participate.