Foreign Immigrants × Miyazaki’s young workersの画像

Pursuing an Ideal Work-Style


International Discussion Event Foreign Immigrants × Miyazaki’s young workers

This discussion event we held with foreign workers and Japanese young workers in Miyazaki was to hear the voices about working and career development in Miyazaki.

Work-Life Balance 

Yuka (Miyazaki/Photographer & Writer) What do you think about work-life balance in Japan?
Rio (Tokyo/IT Support) I think that everyone thinks work-life balance is very important nowadays. People were overworked a lot before. The suicide rate was always high. But now, many problems got captured on TV or the internet, so I think the working environments in Japan have been improved little by little. It's been easier to take maternity leave for women too.
Yuuto(Miyazaki/University student, major in education) In a Japanese company, I've heard that there is an atmosphere where young people can’t go home before their boss leaves. Is it a real thing?
Caterina(Australia/English teacher) At my company, we have the opposite. My manager is always the first in, and always the last to leave. She is always there the longest. Even longer than my other Japanese coworkers as well.
Rio(Tokyo/IT support) When I work at home, times are all recorded by the system. When we need to do overtime, the HR department will check and report to the manager and then the manager will make sure with us if we really need to do overtime.
Rocky(Canada/Owner of "6RACCOON Cafe Society") Is it usually fair? Do you have any conflicts?
Rio(Tokyo/IT support) I think it is pretty fair. When I have too many tasks, I usually ask my manager or supervisor to assign another member to help me.
Haruna(Kagoshima/public relations, sales, & translator at construction company) The company I am working at introduces flexitime. The working hours are set from 9 am to 5 am. I usually go home around 4:30 pm.

*The flextime system is a system in which workers can decide for themselves whether or not to work. Usually, we set up "time to work without fail" called core time, and if it is during other flexible time, it is possible to adjust the time to come to work, leave temporarily, or leave early.

Rocky(Canada/Owner of "6RACCOON Cafe Society") Very progressive company.
Haruna(Kagoshima/public relations, sales, & translator at construction company) Yes. When I worked at home at my previous job, I was tired of how my working hours were always controlled. The turnover rate at that company was over 30% within three years. It's much higher than any other company. What do you think about that rate?
Rocky(Canada/Owner of "6RACCOON Cafe Society") That is very high. Higher than restaurants. Restaurants usually have the highest turnover rate because people go to school. Some servers find better jobs. I worked in a big city so there are always people leaving.
Caterina(Australia/English teacher) My work-life balance is ok. They understand that I am a foreigner. I’m not going to work outside my clock-in and clock-out times. I get set overtime pay as well of about 7 hours per month.
Rocky(Canada/Owner of "6RACCOON Cafe Society") Do you find that you have any special treatment as a foreigner?
Caterina(Australia/English teacher) A little bit. They know that I don’t know the Japanese working culture very well. They don’t expect me to learn Japanese or give me too much responsibility.
Yuka (Miyazaki/Photographer & Writer) I used to be a high school teacher before. I've seen most of the teachers work overtime almost every day. Being a teacher in a regular school in Japan is tough. When I went to Canada, I was surprised at how teachers are treated in Canada was completely different from Japan. After seeing that, I decided to build a different career in Japan. Overtime working for teachers is definitely one of the biggest problems in Japanese schools.
Rocky(Canada/Owner of "6RACCOON Cafe Society") Being a teacher in Canada is great. You get paid overtime, and it's sometimes 1.5 to 2 times. Your pension is very high. There is a teacher's union, so a lot of the conflicts usually get resolved and they protect the teachers well enough.
Yuuto(Miyazaki/University student, major in education) I think the Japanese government depends too much on teachers’ devotion to education.
Herrold(Costa Rica/Physiotherapist, Sports trainer, & Owner of "Pura Vida plant based ice cream shop") Being a teacher is much easier and more flexible in Costa Rica than in Japan. The salaries are pretty good too. Even working in a company is much better than here. There is more balance between your private life and work.
Yuka (Miyazaki/Photographer & Writer) How about in China?
Yunbin(China/IT Support) In my country, working overtime is very normal. People have to show their loyalty to their boss to get a good salary after all. Everyone knows it’s wrong, but they just need to obey the old rules. China has a big population, so there is always a replacement even if someone quit the job. The boss doesn’t even need to convince employees to stay. In China, there is a phrase "9-9-6". It means you have to work from 9 am to 9 pm every day for six days a week. Because this is such a big problem in society, the word got spread all over China.
Yuka (Miyazaki/Photographer & Writer) Do people still use that phrase now?
Yunbin(China/IT Support) Yes, they do. People think they deserve a better life. But they can't find a solution. I think the government needs to take action to solve this big societal problem.

Variety of Working Styles 

Yuka (Miyazaki/Photographer & Writer) There are a variety of choices of working styles nowadays.
Rocky(Canada/Owner of "6RACCOON Cafe Society") Would you rather work for a company or have your own business one day?
Rio (Tokyo/IT Support) I don’t think I want to have my own business for now. I might get a better salary if I become a business owner, but I also have to face the risks. But if I work for a company, they will protect us. For now, I want to get some experience by working for a company. I might have an idea of having my own business in the future though.
Yuuki(Hyogo/IT Support) I’m hoping to have my own business one day. I want to do what I have passion for. But I don’t have enough skills and experience. I don’t know what exactly I want to do yet, but I at least know that I am not fully satisfied with my current working style. I’ve been looking for what I want to do while working at the company.
Yuka (Miyazaki/Photographer & Writer) Do you think working for a company before opening up your business is a more realistic way?
Herrold(Costa Rica/Physiotherapist, Sports trainer, & Owner of "Pura Vida plant based ice cream shop") To build your skills, getting into a company is a good idea. As a physiotherapist, I like to work with other therapists and doctors. I can grow in that field a lot more when I'm surrounded by professionals.
Even now, I don't think I want to have my own business in that field. But on the way, I found another passion for eating and making ice creams. So I started to make ice creams besides working as a physiotherapist. Now I own an ice cream shop. I see this as an advantage for myself and my family. To own an ice cream shop is a family project and we aren’t doing this for a living. We have a stable income and we have this fun job on the side. We don’t need to rush. Like how I changed my career, you can do that too, but you need skills first. You should be surrounded by people who push you to learn things. And from there, you can look for what you want to do. As long as you listen to your inner voice, not the voices from outside, I think you will be alright.
Rocky(Canada/Owner of "6RACCOON Cafe Society") I agree with Herrold on two things. First, you must be happy with what you do. And the second thing is that you have to progressively learn something new in the company. Now let me share with you the dark side of things. First of all, working for a company is great. Everything is given to you. They give you insurance and a package…that’s what ties you to the company. They would say“If you stay with us, we are gonna take care of you”. But that’s not true. There is something called seniority, if you are not the earlier hired worker, they let you go first.
Second of all, today’s technology. For example, in IT companies a lot of AI has been replacing IT support. So one day you might wake up, and the job does not exist. You can be working for ten-twenty years, but they would say to you “Sorry, we just don’t have room for you anymore”. Where I grew up, they always told me “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket”, meaning that if you drop that basket, all your eggs are broken. So you have to diversify what you do and always try to find ways to learn and protect yourself and exceed in the company so you are not at a higher risk. Always get new information to protect yourself, because everything is evolving, so you should too, right?
Yuka (Miyazaki/Photographer & Writer) Interesting. What do you think about having your own business as your main job?
Rocky(Canada/Owner of "6RACCOON Cafe Society") When I worked in Canada as a chef or a store manager, I made very good money. I worked only 6.5 hours a day. I had lots of benefits yet I still work for someone. Today I own my business. I work longer hours a day and I only get one day off. I’m a dishwasher, an accountant, a stock manager, and a chef…everything. Having your own business doesn’t mean you stop working. You have to find ways to build up from there. It’s the base, the foundation for you. The beginning of the business is the hardest. You have to put a lot of effort into it. Even after going home, you are still thinking about “What new recipe should I create?” or “What is more attracting for my customers?”. So having your own business is still a lot of stress. Working for a company is also a lot of stress. You need to find your balance and where your passion can lead you.

Improving Financial Literacy

Yuka (Miyazaki/Photographer & Writer) How have you been improving your financial literacy?
Haruna(Kagoshima/public relations, sales, & translator at a construction company) I usually learn on Youtube or Instagram. But, because I didn’t study economics or finance in school, sometimes it is still hard to understand the structure of things like taxes or NISA when I watch those videos and posts.
Rio (Tokyo/IT Support) I majored in global economics at university, so I have some knowledge of economics. But I was not at a professional level. So I asked my economics professor when I had a question. I also knew this person who worked at a stock company. So I could ask for some advice. I sometimes research online, but there is always wrong information. I usually study by reading books or by asking professionals directly.
Yuka (Miyazaki/Photographer & Writer) That’s great. In Japan, unless you go to schools that are specialized in economics or business, you do not learn anything about money. You need to push yourself to get the information you need by yourself.
Rocky(Canada/Owner of "6RACCOON Cafe Society") I think that’s a world problem. Even in Canada, we don’t learn about tax or tax credits or anything. Only when I was in the industry, then I started learning. But if you are not in the industry it’s hard for people to reach. When it comes to money, people want to know how to make more but don’t want to learn about liabilities.
Yuka (Miyazaki/Photographer & Writer) In Australia, do you learn about money in schools?
Caterina(Australia/English teacher) In early high school, they did teach us a little bit about budgeting. I also took business and economics as an elective in high school. The only thing I learned in mandatory education was about compound interests in my math class but about stocks and stuff.
Yunbin(China/IT Support) In China, you don’t get a chance to learn about money. As I mentioned earlier, China has a huge population. For a student, their first job is to get into a good university. Learning about money is not a priority for them. After people graduate from school and start to get a salary by working, then they finally realize that money is important.
Yuka (Miyazaki/Photographer & Writer) That sounds similar to Japan's situation.
Yunbin(China/IT Support) Yeah. In Japan, I feel like a lot of people believe that saving money is the priority. But they don’t have any thoughts about investing money. I think people need to be educated more in Japan and China.
Yuka (Miyazaki/Photographer & Writer) What do you think would make it better for people to understand about money?
Haruna(Kagoshima/public relations, sales, & translator at construction company) The Youtuber who I was talking about earlier helped me to learn a lot about money.
Yunbin(China/IT Support) That is my favorite Youtuber too. He shares his knowledge about money every day. He gives you ideas on how to improve yourself in life or how to build up a side business by writing blogs or starting YouTube channels. To earn money, you have to know how to show your value to the world. It’s interesting to learn those things.
Yuuto(Miyazaki/University student, major in education) I think it would be better if we all get an education of money in junior high schools and high schools. We should introduce extra teachers for students to get more opportunities to learn about money. Not just students, but teachers should learn more about money too. At my age, some people work for a company. Some still go to university. How they value or understand money depends on their lifestyles. The ones who work for companies are usually severe about money, but students don’t care too much about it. So I often get confused by hearing from both sides.
Yuka (Miyazaki/Photographer & Writer) It would be great if we all can learn the basic knowledge about money equally in school.

Building a career in Miyazaki

Yuka (Miyazaki/Photographer & Writer) Do you think it is possible to work or build multiple careers in Miyazaki?
Yuuto(Miyazaki/University student, major in education) I talked to the president of a TV company in Miyazaki once. And he told me that he plans a lot of fun activities and events to make Miyazaki more lively. I think it’s possible if we try to search for opportunities to experience new things. Just like how he creates fun events.
Yuka (Miyazaki/Photographer & Writer) (To Yuuki) Do you think it is possible to have your own business in Miyazaki?
Yuuki(Hyogo/IT Support) My answer is no. I think I get more opportunities to reach updated information in bigger cities. I feel like society is pretty narrow and information is very limited in Miyazaki.
Yuka (Miyazaki/Photographer & Writer) What kind of information or opportunities are you looking for?
Yuuki(Hyogo/IT Support) Information for job hunting, foreign communities, or interaction with people in different industries. I usually hang out with my coworkers, and that’s fun. But I don’t feel like there are many opportunities to meet people who work for different types of industries in Miyazaki.
Yuka (Miyazaki/Photographer & Writer) If there are more opportunities to interact with different types of people to exchange information and get motivated or inspired, would you want to live and work in Miyazaki?
Yuuki(Hyogo/IT Support) Yeah, I would.
Yuka (Miyazaki/Photographer & Writer) I see. I think we need to create more of those opportunities in Miyazaki. What does everyone else think?
Herrold(Costa Rica/Physiotherapist, Sports trainer, & Owner of "Pura Vida plant based ice cream shop") I think it is probably more difficult to build a career here than in other big cities like Tokyo or Osaka. Even if you realize that you are uncomfortable with working in a company and you want to start new things, there aren’t many opportunities. And especially if you are a foreigner, I don't think it's that easy to build a career here unless you have a big capital investment or you have a partner who helps you with your Japanese.
Caterina(Australia/English teacher) Frankly, not really. The only foreign people I’ve met who have businesses have a marriage VISA. I have a work VISA but my company has a glass ceiling for foreigners so other than the job I'm doing, I can’t move up. Of course, I’m comfortable with that for now like the money and the living situation but at some point when I want more money to raise a dog or something, I’m not sure if I can do that in Japan.
Yuka (Miyazaki/Photographer & Writer) Would you like to keep living in Japan if you can?
Caterina(Australia/English teacher) Yes, I really like Japan but I think it’s difficult. People still always see you as an outsider. As I mentioned earlier, my coworkers treat me a little bit differently from the other staff. It’s like “Oh, she doesn’t understand our culture or how the company works”. I feel like even if I get older, more experienced people will always see me as “a not Japanese person” in this country, which is a problem I wouldn’t have working back in Australia.
Rocky(Canada/Owner of "6RACCOON Cafe Society") That’s fair. For me, I’m quite ambitious. Where people struggle, I see opportunities. I’ve been here for three and a half years. I wanted to open my cafe. During the time we moved here, we were looking for a store to open a cafe. And then what happened was Coronavirus hit. So we were like “Ugh…”. But we didn’t give up on our dream. So we started doing a food truck. We knew we would make less money, and it was going to be harder. But we still push forward, and two years later I opened a cafe. I feel like when there is a place that has not as many opportunities or seems like there is nothing to do, that’s where you can create something. I know that there are a lot of foreigners that feel left out. So I wanted to open a cafe that feels like you’ll be accepted here and can make friends here and have it easier to socialize with Japanese people and foreigners. You have to find your place, and you have to start. If you don’t start, you will never know where it will take you. While Miyazaki is not a big city, they don’t have much to do, I think it’s a good opportunity that you can create something new.
Yuka (Miyazaki/Photographer & Writer) I agree. In Toronto, there was everything. They have a diverse food culture and entertainment. There are many things that Miyazaki does not have. But that is why you can create new things here.