I don’t know what I was thinking. If you hate working an unskilled job in your native language then what’s going to change by doing it in your second language? Not much. I landed in Japan at the end of January this year and within in two weeks I had basically everything sorted out: a job and a place to live. But that was probably the biggest mistake that I made so far – I had everything sorted out too quickly. Kind of ironic right?

When I’ve heard people talk about their working holidays in the past usually they have some kind of heart-breaking struggle in the first few weeks that they get to their new country. The pattern is pretty typical, they can’t find somewhere to live and they can’t find work. My mother is from New Zealand and when she first went to Australia to live she went with a friend and her friend actually ended up leaving pretty early on in because they couldn’t find any work. My mother also had a lot of trouble and said she came close to the same fate too. I’m sure in most cases where you go to a new country where the common language isn’t your native languages your chances of success only get slimmer. But in any case that’s the mindset I had when I landed in Japan again: prepare for the worst. The last time I lived in Japan for an extended period I had a lot of safety nets – I was an exchange student. This time it was going to be different.

I probably should mention that about 2 weeks before I left I started posting on Japanese share house forums saying I was looking for somewhere to live. I got quite a lot of responses and checked out a couple of places, but they weren’t really what I was looking for. About two days after I landed I got an email from my current flatmate, who was looking for someone to room share with(at a very cheap price for Tokyo). The cheap rent made me suspicious of him being gay and trying to seduce me or something so I decided to ask him if he wanted to go out and have a drink before even discussing living together. I met him in Shibuya and we went to a bar/restaurant one of his friends from middle school worked out, and he actually turned out to be not gay and also not a serial murder or rapist so I was pretty lucky. I also got introduced to the manager at the bar, who turned out to be basically the head of 14 or so stores that the company owns. He offered for me to come in for an interview and I jumped at the opportunity. The interview ended up getting set for about a week later. I went and I got hired on the spot, and I ended up getting placed at a different one of their chain Izakayas which is about a 2 minute walk from where we drank the night I got offered the interview.

And everything was okay for about a month or too…Then I suddenly started to question everything(maybe “fucking hate this job” would be a better phrase). I will start off by saying that everyone at where I work(I have two shifts left) is nice. No one has ever shouted at me or said anything rude or mean to me. But I dunno…There’s just something about menial labor and I suppose I finally just got tired of it, I’ve been working those kinds of jobs since I was like 14 and even then I don’t think I’ve ever had a more stressful part-time job than this one – goddamn it gets busy. There’s a couple of other obvious things too, like the second language thing, the lack of staff and let’s not forget dem varicose veins. A couple of other people left this month so staff issues are probably only going to get worse for them. In the end it’s not like I have no marketable skills at all, I probably should have looked for a job using them right from the start. All in all I have learnt a lesson: I’m not cut out for bar work. And if I can avoid it I don’t think I’ll be trying out convenience store work or anything else that’s menial. I don’t think I’ll resort to that again until I’m borderline homeless.

So what am I going to do now? Work in a new job(connections again) where I can actually use the skills that I have. There was no point in doing menial labor part time in Australia to save money to go to Japan to do menial labor. I mean hey, at least I wasn’t miserable at my job back in Australia.


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One thought on “Change.

  1. I think that what happened to you was actually a good thing ! It helped you to know you better (at least confirm your thoughts)!!! If you have not found a job yet, I would suggest you to look into teaching jobs.. There used to be a lot of Native English speakers teaching when I was in Japan (probably the reason why being French was so exotic!). Schools were looking a lot for them… I don’t know if it is still the case but this is definitely not menial! Quite challenging but “passionnant” (I hope you can understand because I know that “passioning” doesn’t exist, what would be the literal translation, I don’t really like the dictionary’s suggestions..). Anyway this is just an idea using one of your obvious skill!
    I have never looked for a job in Japan, but I guess it is likely to be the same as everywhere else.. As I said before I am French, but I moved to the UK 6 years ago and I have the equivalent of a master in General Business management. The only job I could find was sales assistant! Which I would qualify as extremely boring (luckily the shop was in the City of London so customers were at least interesting!). Anyway the point is that it is quite hard for people of one country to recognise the skills from other countries.. So don’t let it get you if you can’t find anything interesting… I personally have drop the idea and go back to Uni to get new qualifications (as a language teacher).
    I don’t know how old you are but you seem fairly young (I would guess around 23/24), so continue to try whatever comes to hand that seems interesting, because if it’s not, you have the luxury to be able to leave and start something else! In any case I really hope that my experience is a bad example.
    Sorry to speak so much about me, I won’t do it anymore!

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