“I’m from a poor family in East Germany so people didn’t think I could make it to Japan. Yet here I am, doing what I do best. I make videos about Japan for a German audience. At first, we were just talking about our own experiences. But then viewers started asking questions like, ‘How do I move to Japan?’ or ‘I want to live and study there, too. Please tell me how’. Interest keeps growing. And I think one reason is Germans like the peaceful lifestyle here, not necessarily the big city life. Now we even have sponsors. To think this all began when I was doing social media marketing for an ‘izakaya’ (with a German twist). However, people are also curious about work-life balance and how easy it is to make friends in Japan. My hope is that the videos can help make the transition smoother. We try to prep them up because it’s different here. For example, life is easier in Germany in terms of shorter work hours. There’s not much overtime so you can do leisure activities, like go to a karate club or a fishing club. You also get paid sick leaves on top of public holidays and regular vacation days. But in Japan, you work till midnight, so fishing is out of the question.
“That’s why I’ve decided to go back home and leave Japan. It’s hard to pursue my own projects while working a full-time job and doing overtime (just so I can get a visa). As much as I love Japan, there’s always a glass wall. I see my goal but I can’t reach it because I can’t get through, especially when you’re always trying to fit in. You will win no medal if you just follow the herd. And for four years, I got no medal for trying to assimilate too much. In Germany, I can just get a part-time job and have time to work on my own stuff. I’m still going to produce Japan-related content. But I’m going to do it on my terms. I think we have to forge our own path, even if it means going a step backwards to advance more in the end. Maybe that’s the price you have to pay if you want to go your way. But there’s also a bigger payoff waiting.”