1 Year Working in Japan
Time for some reflection as I have now worked in Japan for one year. I had posted my initial impressions in this blog earlier this year so it is a good time for an update.
I am now very comfortable wearing a business suit and tie every day, and I do actually feel more professional. Only drawback is extra dry cleaning costs 🙂 And in the typically hot Tokyo summer, I was thankful for the “coolbiz” wear – shirt and slacks. Will I continue to wear a suit and tie to work daily when I return to Canada?
In Canada, it took me about 15 minutes door-to-door to commute to work normally (longer in the winter with snow) – driving. Here in Tokyo, my typical commute is between 45 minutes to 1.5 hours one way (I typically go to 2-3 various locations every week) – walking and subway. Although my commute is longer in Japan, I get some exercise by walking and reading or listening to audio books or music on the train. Finally, I had an office in Canada, no office in Japan and I am back as a mobile employee, though rarely working from home.
Working office hours are definitely longer in Japan, but I think I am probably working less at home. Telecommuting is not common here, and most work is performed in the office location.
My biggest challenge is language. I hate to admit that I have not learned any Japanese (no time to take lessons and I am very poor with languages to begin with). Although I have a part-time interpreter to support me, I know much is lost in translation. I have attended meetings without my interpreter and continue to receive many emails and documents in Japanese. So if you do want to work in Japan, I would suggest you learn Japanese before coming here as all business is conducted in Japanese here.