I’ve noticed that many of my blog readers are studying Japanese in some ways. At the same time I always wanted to ask them why they need to study Japanese. So today, my question is this: Why do you need to study Japanese?
I was only a school kid in the 80′s when Japan was enjoying the bubble economy and I hear that it was when Japan was even considered “menace” to the U.S. and was strictly criticized by Europe that we were working too hard as working bee. Without working experience at that time, there’s no way for me to know how our economy was actually good then, which was only before 1989 when burst of the economic bubble occurred and that led us to the longest deflation up until today, except for IT bubble in early 2000. When I talk with those who were working at that era, my father for example, I can find many many big differences from the days I started to work after graduation from university. They were hard working as much as we are now (as mentioned here and there). But the difference was they knew their income was soaring every year, or even every month! While today, unfortunately the truth is that we work so hard not to be fired or replaced by someone else because of downsizing.
When I was graduating from university before year 2000, it’s called “ice period for recruiting” and unlike those who entered blue chip companies 5 or more year ago, many of us, including myself had hard time finding jobs after graduating from university.
Well, apart from that, first of all I didn’t like to wear “recruit suit” just like anyone else to become less outstanding so that general Japanese companies like to hire. (Japanese companies are more likely to love hiring new graduates who they can educate any ways as they like, and employees are considered to work for the company until they retire from it. But these days bad economy changed that completely and Japanese companies do not have any extra money or time allowance to raise such workers with no working experiences just fresh out from school. Changing jobs used to be considered bad habit in Japan and the best thing was to keep working for a single company from start to the end. But that has changed since our economy went bad and it’s common for workers to change companies or jobs more often than before. )
New graduates without working experience usually have no achievement or performance to promote to the companies they want to work for. (Internship in Japan is not as hot as in the U.S for example. Most of new graduates are hired for his potential, personality, cooperativeness, endurance, school record, and so on.) Hence one of the most important points they cannot miss is to be liked by the interviewers of the company. Job interviews are usually 2 or 3 times with different people: HR, their future boss, people from related department, etc.
So how the new graduates try to be liked by them? They wear simple and neat suit called “recruit suit” with color options only from navy blue, black or gray and a collared shirt inside of it. Every new graduate wears one of them, with less makeup and less or no hair color. They read manual how to answer properly to impress themselves nicely to the interviewers and practice as often as possible with role playing or something.
I was so bad at all these things. I really hated to dress like everyone else! I felt like being sick or crazy at the first glance of the manual or the “test” before the interview. (This is a test to check the basic personality and basic knowledge of the applicants, and I often failed them because of my unique (!?) personality! LOL ) After all I didn’t buy the “recruit suit” and put on general suit as I liked, and I answered as honestly as I thought at the interviews. I saw some interviewers apparently made faces to me, until finally I settled at an exporting company where they needed someone who could speak English at work. I however knew that other workers called me “alien” behind me because of my strange actions such as playing guitar at lunch time, wearing a long hair wig and bright colored pants at work besides I expressed my opinions to my superiors…yes, I was wrong I should not have dressed like that at other industries but fashion. The company was dealing with transceivers, and I was the only one who dressed as if I were in fashion industry. (LOL)
o.O I’m sorry I was not intended to explain how new graduates get jobs in Japan. Let me get back on the track now, and so Japan is not as economically successful as it used to be in the 80′s. But then what do you learn Japanese for? What motivated you to study Japanese and how do you keep the motivation? Because you want to read manga as they are? Because you want to live in Japan? Because that’s required for your current job? It’s good for me to know such backgrounds of yours when I make my Japanese videos for you.