【Link Japan Careers Inc.】 Part2 – Understanding the Japanese heart and culture to contribute to the society
Link Japan Careers Inc. (hereinafter “Link Japan Careers”) is a company which offers employment and living support for foreign talents, mainly English teachers in Japan. Last time we interviewed Mr. Ishikawa, who has been with the company since it was founded, about its services and atmosphere of the company. In this second interview, we interviewed Mr. Wallace, who became an employee of Link Japan Careers from ALT (Assistant Language Teacher).
Kazuki Ishikawa｜Product Planning Group, Group Manager
Rhys Wallace｜Marketing & Recruiting Group Consultant
Please tell us about your background.
I graduated from Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia and came to Japan for the first time through the JET Program *. After working as an ALT for one year in Nagasaki, I moved to Kanto where I was employed in English conversation schools and later travel businesses in Yokohama. However, as it was more rewarding when I was teaching at a school, I started working as an ALT again at Interac (Link Interac). Then, I challenged myself by applying through the Link Japan Careers internship program. I felt supporting ALTs was an attractive role, ALTs who are similar to myself, and so I joined Link Japan Careers at the end of the internship.
* Large-scale international exchange project subsidized by the Japanese government. Mainly engaged in language education and intercultural exchanges in local governments.
Could you tell us what made you want to work in Japan?
When I was a high school student, I loved the Japanese language. I felt the kindness of my Japanese teacher and I wanted to return it to Japan. I am attracted to the Japanese “heart”. Even at the football World Cup, it was wonderful to see that they cleaned around their seats after the game. I came to Japan with the desire to be of service to Japan, to share Japanese culture and ways of thinking to the world and to support Japanese society.
Please tell us about your current work.
I am mainly engaged in interviewing and screening foreign talent who want to work in a Japanese company. Checking resumes, personal phone interviews or face-to-face interviews, and preparations for visa applications are examples of some of the work I do. In addition, we offer seminars for foreign talent throughout Japan so I am often travelling and leading these.
It’s not my department but Link Japan Careers also provides life support for foreign employees in Japan. We help with necessary information to support some procedures such as opening bank accounts, introducing rental housing and/or rental cars so that they can start living in Japan with ease.
Have you felt any difficulties while working in Link Japan Careers?
There is much difference between the culture of the educational institutes I had been doing ALT work with and that of Link Japan Careers. In schools, I was told what to teach and follow a syllabus but now I have to think about what to do on my own for the best of the company. Also, since I could not speak Japanese well enough, it was hard at the beginning. However, I tried to understand thoughts and feelings more than the language itself. By communicating with Japanese coworkers repeatedly, I became confident in myself and my abilities to complete the work.
How can a foreign employee build a good relationship with a Japanese in the company?
It is important to participate in a drinking party (laugh). Because Japanese people can be reserved, I recommend being proactive. The first impression is also important.
Please tell us what is attracting to work in Link JapanCareers.
We are able to give positive influences to others through our work. My job is to support foreign talents who have various backgrounds. While making full use of my experience, I am creating opportunities for more foreign talent to be active in Japan. I would like to continue working here, and I’d like to become a bridge between the world and Japan.
Could you give a message to international students who want to work in Japan?
Learning Japanese is surely important, but it is more important to know about the Japanese people themselves. Of course, it is better to study Japanese in order to live in Japan. However, besides this, you need to understand Japanese culture, people’s ways of thinking, their feelings, and so on. In addition, being able to leverage professional knowledge and skills is important. My major in college was Japanese and sociology, but I feel it would be better if I had a different skill set for my work. If I studied again I would’ve liked to acquire more business skills that I could use.
(Interviewer: Eri Watanabe, Kazuya Tamura, and Takuya Ohsawa Translator: Yusuke Murata)