Working in Japan – Job Info & Help

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Building a New Career in Japan as a Graphic Designer

Want to know what a new career in Japan as a graphic designer is like?

Josf made the decision to live in Japan in 2013. He felt inspired to take on the challenge of the new environment of Japan together with his Japanese wife, who he met at an art school in 2002.

By 2013, the startup design company that he started to assist six years ago had grown significantly and his own business, a clothing design company, had also started to run smoothly. He made the decision to move to Japan, even as his colleagues and his partner were trying to keep him in San Francisco.

Josf had come to Japan but was wondering what to do here. In a completely new environment, he started to realize that the challenge of building a new career in Japan that he himself had set was turning out to be larger than he had imagined. A few months after arriving in Japan, Josf found himself homesick, missing his friends, the job that he loved, and the environment that he was used to living in.

Why did you decide to move to Japan?

In San Francisco, the business that we launched in a studio room had grown in size to the extent that it now occupied a building. This sense of achievement, together with the feeling that it was time to take on a fresh challenge, made me commit to the idea of coming to Japan. I used to visit Japan with my wife each year, and I had always thought that I would like to try living here sometimes.

How did you overcome the initial language barrier challenge?

I decided that in order to succeed in Japan, I should make a solid investment in studying the language for one to two years.

With help from my family, I found ILS (now Coto Japanese Academy). The atmosphere was casual and class sizes were small. I was attracted by the fact that the lessons centered on the conversation. I undertook a four-month-long intensive course.

I thought it was good that an environment focusing on Japanese could be created in this intensive course. I developed what you could call a kind of stamina for studying.

How did you gain enough Japanese skills to get a job?

About a year after arriving in Japan, I succeeded in finding a part-time graphic design job and started working in an English and Japanese-speaking environment. Gradually, he started to feel more and more confident communicating in Japanese. Currently, in addition to working at the company, I am starting to get a nice amount of freelance work. He picks up freelance jobs through introductions while networking at creator’s events and the like. I mostly converse in Japanese at these events.

What’s your next goal?

Right now, I’m is very much enjoying supporting Japanese startup companies that I got to know through networking. Not only do I take jobs, but I also introduce locally-based creators or give advice about how to get along with locally-based companies when Japanese app companies hold events in San Francisco.”

Creating a business is creating a new culture. It is about inspiring more and more people. I like this kind of environment and feel value in supporting these kinds of people.

I would like to speak Japanese so fluently that I no longer need to think about what he is saying. This is the level of Japanese that I am aiming for!

Josef’s challenge has only just begun, but he has definitely made advances over the past 18 months. We wish him well in expressing his true potential and expanding the scope of his future activities.

Coto Japanese Academy is a unique Japanese Language School in Iidabashi Tokyo, we offer relaxed and fun conversational lessons for all levels of Japanese learners. If you are interested in studying Japanese in Tokyo, please visit our contact page here.