Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Interview with a foreigner in Japan

I caught up with a friend who lived in the UK and moved over to Japan to work for a few years. I took this opportunity to interview him. What I want to learn from this interview is the differences between the UK and Japan and his thoughts and feelings about that place. 

Interview starts here: 

Me: what made u want to live in japan?

Laurie: It's a better way to experience a new culture by living and working in a country; I didn't want to be a tourist for two weeks. Jet seemed like the ideal opportunity

Me: what would you say is the minimum amount of stay to not be classed as a tourist?

Laurie: I think working in Japan for any amount of time means you're not a tourist. But I guess 6 months to really get a decent flavour of true Japan

Me: is their working life better over there?

Laurie: Pros and cons, they (teachers) work much harder, much longer hours, weekends, and no overtime pay. However they go all out at work parties and holidays. They (teachers) have a much better relationship with students and their parents than UK schools. I would say, generally Japanese people work much harder than UK people; have less holidays and much less free time. I wouldn't want to be a Japanese person working in Japan. Being a foreign teacher in Japan is much easier, and you have much more free time than Japanese people.

Me: oooh i see. That’s quite interesting to hear about their relationships with students and their parents.

Me: is there anything you don't like about Japan?

Laurie: Erm, not really. They do things differently as you'd expect being in another country, so if you're understanding and open minded you'll get along fine. Of course there are things I miss from the UK, but in general Japanese life is great for me. Oh, umeboshi (sour plum).. I hate it haha! Ruins my bento if I accidentally eat it :)

Me: ohh. What do you miss from the UK? Does this mean you would live the rest of your life in Japan if you could?

Laurie: I miss my friends and family a lot. I also miss my cat lol. I miss gaming with my friends and sleeping in late in my comfy bed. I also miss space. My bedroom in the UK is almost as big as my apartment lol. I miss UK pizzas too lol.
If I could continue my job in Japan for the rest of my life and would still be living with my GF I might consider it. I have a great live hear at the moment, and will probably be a little lost when I return to the UK after 2-3 years out here. I have a great life :)

Me: A little lost?
Laurie: As in not sure what to do next for my job

Me: What about the dangers or earthquakes? Does that not put you off?

Laurie: Not at all. If it did I wouldn't be living out here. There are many dangers in life; if you're prepared and know what to do in case of an earthquake then chances are you'll be ok

Me: I guess you’re right about that. But aren't you worried about the radiation and the tsunami that happened in japan?

Laurie: Nope, Japan is doing everything it can to prevent radiation poisoning, they are pretty experienced with the effects after World War 2. You wouldn't know that there was a large earthquake and nuclear disaster that happened a year ago being here in Kobe. Life goes on, Japanese people are survivors

Me: What are the people like over there?

Laurie: Japanese people are incredibly friendly and welcoming. They will pretty much go massively out of their way to help out a stranger if asked. They are nothing like people from the UK in that respect lol. I never once experienced aggression of feeling on edge here in Japan. Despite obviously being a foreigner.
But deep down, Japanese people are just like everyone else; they still have the same worries and thoughts as we do. There may be cultural differences, but underneath all that people are people. Wherever you go :)

Me:  Aww that’s nice of them! So have you made any Japanese friends?

Laurie: Sure, I consider most of my teachers as my friends

Me: Do you find it hard to communicate with them with the language barrier?

Laurie: Not too much, I'm lucky as most of the English teachers speak good English. Just gesture and use key words a lot and you'll get along fine haha

Me: Ohh that’s good then! I’m glad you’re having a great time over there. I wish you the best!

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