Just Another Way

“The decisions in my life
that I don’t regret are the ones I didn’t really have to make. They were just obvious, like following my instincts. Coming to Japan is one example. I was traveling around Japan after graduating from university in France. When I got back from holiday, Paris, the city I love and have been living in for six years, suddenly didn’t feel like home anymore. Which was insane because I grew up in the suburbs and Paris was my dream city. So then, I knew I had to be in Japan. Besides, with a degree in literature, I would’ve never gotten far anyway. In France, no company will give you a chance. They’ll be like, ‘Oh you read books? Great.’ That’s it. In Japan, I have a good professional situation and a shot at a career.

“On the flipside, many foreigners come to Japan and waste their youth here. Myself included. We feel like we can do whatever we want abroad ーNo rules to follow. I was like that for three years until I finally sobered up. Now I have clear goals in life. I just wish more foreigners would be open-minded. Sometimes we think we have the license to trash talk Japanese society. ‘Decision-making process is slow’, ‘young people have no voice’, or ‘there’s too much hierarchy’. I respect thatーYou’re entitled to your own opinion, but can we please acknowledge that it’s just another way of working? Believe me, I don’t like it any more than you do. And to be fair, I catch myself criticizing their ways too, the longer I stay. But we have the choice not to work for that type of company.

“One of my best friends is Japanese and she works at a very traditional company. If she wants to propose an idea and get approval during a meeting, she’d have to go to each person whose vote is important prior to the actual meeting because that’s where decisions are made. Some people might think this is too slow, complicated, and even stupid. I think it’s just the way it is. We, as foreigners, cannot ask Japan to change for us just because we’re here. Being open-minded means understanding that it’s just different.”

“I love Japanese food. Not sure why everybody’s making a big fuss about French food. I think we’re good at cakes. But Japanese food is so diverse and amazing.”

(翻訳:Loving Life in Tokyo




at Harajuku Station

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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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