what is it like working in Japan


Interview: Hoan The Nguyen on finding work in Japan

Nguyen The Hoan was born and raised in Vietnam, and is now happily working in Japan. He was kind enough to take some time to share his experiences with me.

Mr. Nguyen’s long enthusiasm for cars is what inspired his career. His university major was control engineering and automation, specializing in auto design. After graduating, he worked for about one year as a designer on automotive wiring harness systems at a Japanese company in Vietnam. He then decided to start looking at job prospects overseas.

Although some people’s initial interests in Japan are driven by Japanese pop art and culture, Mr. Nguyen chose to move here for practical reasons. “Japan is one of the top countries in terms of development, and it comforted me to know there are a lot of Vietnamese already living and working here.”

Mr. Nguyen found success at a job fair sponsored by TalentHub. He explained that, “TalentHub has been holding many seminars, and at one of them, I got my opportunity to be closer with Japanese companies, which led to my finding a suitable company for me now.” Basically, hiring practices are the same between Vietnam and Japan. According to Mr. Nguyen, the one thing that is quite different is that Japan seems to prefer more experienced candidates.

Sometimes life moves fast. It took less than a month from the start of his search to his first offer. He used four job sites, including TalentHub, and two other recruitment services, as well. Mr. Nguyen received two job offers from other services, but TalentHub’s match was the best choice for him at the time.

His overall experience with TalentHub/PlayNext Lab was excellent— the company was very helpful and had a great deal of enthusiastic advice for job candidates, ranging from how to face the nerve-wracking interviews to how to pick up everything and move to Japan.

He finalized his offer at his current job, working as a CAD engineer at an automobile company, and moved to Tochigi, a suburban prefecture north of Tokyo, which is home to some famous World Heritage Sites. As of this interview, he has been working there for five months, and enjoying Japanese life. Working overseas is appealing, “not only for the a higher pay rate than Vietnam, but also the opportunity to learn a lot from the people and culture.”

Mr. Nguyen was unexpectedly excited by an aspect of modern Japanese culture—the ubiquitous “workman’s uniform” worn by Japanese staff. One benefit of moving to another country is that you can look carefully at even the most mundane parts of life and find new discoveries.

Language barriers are an inevitable part of moving to Japan, but Mr. Nguyen hasn’t let them get in his way. He tries his best to communicate with Japanese people at every opportunity, and “from that I can master their language.” He is well on his way to that mastery, and has already passed the JLPT N3 (Japanese Language Proficiency Test, Level 3).

Mr. Nguyen’s best experience in Japan so far? “I think it has to be sakura (cherry blossoms).” Of course, he had seen them on television and in photos before, but the direct personal experience is so much better. “They thrill me with their beauty.”

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