Uncharted Territory

When Yena decided to venture into terra incognita and learn English in the Philippines at the tender age of 11, it wasn’t without some trepidation. “It was my mom’s suggestion,” she says, attributing the boom in studying abroad to the inexorable force of globalization. Although it felt a bit sudden, she recalls thinking “it was a great idea to go overseas for the first time” in her life. Little did she know, she was about to be part of a diaspora that saw an influx of South Koreans in the tropical country.

“I’m glad I went with the flow. Otherwise I might not have developed a serious case of wanderlust.”

Yena would eventually embark on not one but two more study pursuits many moons later. “After seven years in the Philippines, I came to Japan to major in business management. Then I was in the UK for a year as an exchange student before finally graduating this year.”

A.K.A. Yena the Coreana

Today Yena works out of the Tokyo office of a Swiss company while moonlighting as a professional blogger for Minato Travel & Tourism Association. “I write about all the hotspots tucked deep inside this throbbing concrete jungle that is Tokyo,” says our aspiring writer, who got commissioned by the local government to offer Korean holidaymakers of her ilk some travel insights. Having some experience in video blogging, or “vlogging”, made her foray into travel writing a fairly obvious course of action (the advent of YouTube has given rise to this new breed of bloggers).

When asked to give advice to young hopefuls, she says they should “follow their heart”. And perhaps listen to mom’s advice. After all, mother does know best.


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Finding diversity and inclusion. Breaking down barriers one post at a time. Stories and snapshots of foreigners making their way in Japan.

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