I am confident to say that studying in Japan was not a waste, (I don’t like to value life by using money as a standard but it is a very convenient unit to measure “conventional” lifestyle) it was a big investment of careers and life.
Here I would like to share what Japan has taught me, or equipped me with.
4 Reasons It is Good To Study in Japan
#1 Japanese Language
Needless to say, Japanese Language ability is the biggest rewards you will get after years studying in Japan. With Japanese language, you will be able to communicate with approximately 127 million people (125 million native and 2 million as secondary speakers). It is said to be one of the top 10 most spoken language on the planet. (source: BBC)
Of course we can’t measure the influence of certain language by just looking at its population. So let’s play a game. Look around your house, how many Japan brands can you find from your home appliances. Go on the road, count how many Japan cars you see. Get in a manga store, how many Japan comics can you find?
Yes, many products in our daily life are made in Japan. Japanese companies probably are one of the biggest business groups in the world. Toyota, Sony, Honda, Shiseido, Kao, etc. You name it. Being able to speak Japanese, it opens up a new career path for you. I know it because I was bought because of my Japanese language ability.
So spending 1-2 years on learning Japanese could make your college graduation later a bit than your friends, but it earns you another business possibility that your friends won’t see. You still don’t believe me?
Okay, what is the most important factor to be successful in business in 21st century?
Internet! (of course patience, aspiration, language, accounting etc are important too lol)
In 21st century, everything is about internet. it’s about how much and how accurate you can abtain information from internet. But do you know what are the top 10 languages used in internet?
Japanese is the top 4th most used language in internet, along with English, Chinese and Spanish. So what does it mean? It means if you understand English, I suppose you do because you are reading this, and also Chinese (like me Chinese as mother tongue), and Japanese (if you study in Japan), WOW! almost everything you can seek a solution online.
This always happens to me that when I can’t find an answer of certain question by searching google in English, I try Chinese, then Japanese, sometimes Korean. Of course it doesn’t mean that you will definitely find an exact answer but you can see how people out there comprehend the question you have.
And interestingly, I realized that Japanese people tend to write things seriously and professionally online compared to other languages. They care about copyright and privacy issues. That’s why the sources in Japanese language tend to be authoritative and reliable. It really helps me a a lot being able to read Japanese.
#2 Cultivate good manners
I still remember I used to be a very rude person before I came to Japan. A person who always made fun of others and one time I even made a girl cry by making fun of her with a guy she liked. It was really difficult for me to say thank you and sorry.
Since I came to Japan, I changed. The biggest change started from saying thank you and sorry.Japan society is supported by the culture of appreciation and apology. It is a very simple rule – somebody did you a favor, say thank you; you did some shit on somebody, say sorry. I think this is kind of universal rule isn’t it?
In Japan, they express appreciation more seriously. For instance, you went out to a dinner with A, after the dinner, you will receive a thank you text from A almost for sure. You attended an event Japanese hosted, they’d bow to you to appreciate your coming.
Speaking of apology, we all know that when we give troubles to others, we should say sorry right? But Japanese do it more extremely. For instance, you open a door for a Japanese, they say “Sumimasen” (Sorry). You give birthday presents to a Japanese, they say “Sumimasen” again. You handed something over to a Japanese, they say “Sumimasen”!
Everything involved with “asking a favor”, you should apologize for making others work for you. See, isn’t it the best manner in the world? How can you not be good manner if you apologize for everything.
To be honest, I learned “thank you” and “sorry” from Japan. After living in Japan, I started to think whenever my words involve somebody, that “is he doing a favor for me?”, “am I making him troubles?” all the time.
I still remember that my Malaysian best friends used to ask me “Shen! why are you always apologizing and talking so politely to us?!”. It was after 1 year I studied in Tokyo, when I couldn’t continue and decided to go back.
Attitude of appreciation and apology are the biggest presents I got from Japan. 🙂 Do you have the same experience with me?
#3 Became fashionable
I realized many female international students became fashionable after spending 1-2 years in Japan. If you have international friends living in Japan, ask them to show you their high school pictures and you will know what I am saying.
In Japan, make up is a social manner for female. It is almost impossible going out without make up in Japan! From junior school, to 70 years old Obasan (old woman), everybody puts on make up when they go out.
And my college – Ritsumeikan University, walking on campus, I feel like watching a fashion show! I will make a video to show you the fashion in my university in my coming up video production.
In Malaysia, T-shirt, short pant, slipper, no make up for schooling. In Japan, OMG, sometimes I get racing heart when a Japanese girl pass by. It is just a college, but everyone seems to care more about fashion, more than study lol.
p/s If you see somebody with mask or glasses, a high possibility that she is not putting on make up and tries to hide it. lol
I’m not saying I became more fashionable, but sometimes I do think “What should I wear to match my mood today” or “What color will go with this pant”. You know, we just don’t want to be a joke on campus. xD It’s both good and bad. I’ll leave it to you. 😉
#4 Became hard working
Remember how people work in your country?
When the clock strikes 6pm, everybody packs up and gets ready to go home. You want to order a Big MC set but you have to wait until the waitress finishes her texting with her boyfriend. You found a cloth you would like to buy but you can’t find the staff – they either are away to toilet or talking on phone with their bf/gf at the back office.
These, are not going to happen in Japan!
First, you won’t get to go home on time even though you finished your job – because your boss is still working! You need to care about your boss’s feeling and stay in the office pretending you are busy with something. They call it “Zan-gyo” (残業, over-time working).
Second, using cellphone is not allowed while working. Even though there are no customers, you just need to stand straightly at the counter and smile, or yelling “Iratshaimase” (いらっしゃいませ, Welcome) to draw attention from the people.
Third, every job should be taken over carefully to another co-worker if you have to leave your work. Usually they have a “jobs checking sheet”, which is a sheet to check whether you have done certain jobs such as cleaning toilet, arranging items, and etc.
And many many other working manners and attitudes are required while working in Japan. It’d be endless if I have to name it here. From big things like how to sweet talk customers into buying the product, to small things like how to clean up the toilet, everything will be educated by your seniors. They usually have a complete education system for the newbies.
So in Japan, you can’t but keep yourself busy. You say you’ve got nothing to do? Stop daydreaming. check the items, clean up the tables, the wall, not to mention the toilet as well, re-read the manuals, stand straight and smile, and etc. Many things you can do when there are no customers. That’s why the toilets in Japan are the cleanest in the world!
Living in such a hardworking environment, I formed a good habit that when I feel nothing to do, I will ask myself “What can I do?” and start looking for something that I can do at the moment.
I ask my seniors, my co-workers, if I still get nothing to do, I start cleaning stuff, or read the manuals, search online for new knowledge, you know, gaining new knowledge is always good for yourself and also your team members.
That’s why they say Japanese people are the busiest people on the planet. You don’t believe me? Come to Japan once and you will know it. 🙂