Kindred Spirits

“I’m quarter Japanese and I never suspected that I had Japanese in me at all till my mom told me so when I was 8. She thought it was way too freaky that I was so into Japan, the language, its poetry and music. I really like words. And Japanese is a really beautiful language; the way it flows is even kind of melodic. I also feel a little bit more connected to the Japanese attitude towards work and the group mentality. Like I tend to think a lot more about what other people are feeling. And I can center myself around that, like how this is going to make that person feel. I feel like that’s a natural aspect of Japanese culture. But I guess one downside is overthinking about how what I do is going to affect how someone feels and then it ends up being a situation where I could’ve gotten farther ahead or been less nervous about work if I would’ve just been `I don’t care what they think’. In America it’s cool to have that attitude. Although I’ve started to get some of that, initially I was very shy and not as outspoken as I am now. So that’s one of the things that drew me to Japan.”


Bridging Japan to the Outside World

“After teaching English in Japan for a year I decided to try my luck into stuff like media, event planning and food, because who doesn’t love food. I found a cool company that shared my vision of creating a community and catering to an international audience. They own a lot of restaurants in Tokyo and have like 80 different brands. Wired Cafe is one of them. I do PR, event planning and translation to help them internationalize, especially with the coming of the Olympics. Right now we’re working on a hotel where we can connect overseas guests with locals or people who know Japan so well they can show you places you won’t find in a guidebook. I’m hoping this job can give me a lot of opportunities and a lot of freedom to change that whole ‘foreigner bubble thing’, where foreigners can work and live in Japan but in the end it’s really hard to enter society fully. This job in particular could be a way to bring more into a better environment and create a space for both Japanese people and foreigners who would come. That’s been my thing.”Autumn03.jpg
Being a Foreigner in Japan

“I love Japan and I love living here. It’s super safe, comfortable, and food is amazing. But as a foreigner here, while considering the fact that I’ve studied for 6 years and I know people who have lived here for like 15 years (some even married to someone who’s Japanese), some people would still be like ‘Oh you can use chopsticks’ and ‘Oh konnichiwa, you have such good Japanese’. You know you’re an outsider if you don’t look Japanese. And people will always ask you `When are you going home?’ And that’s why I don’t see myself living here forever. To be sure, I enjoy Japan and I enjoy it now. But I think as a foreigner that’s something that is difficult here.”

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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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