Nyapan has an interview with a real-life Wan-kun who is from overseas living in Japan.Akadama FAN(Friend’s Actual Note)
Episode 1 ~Pariah-kun from Chennai in India~
◆What brought you to Japan?
After graduating from university, I worked in a bank in India for about a year and a half as a lawyer.After that, I worked in a national law firm in India.
While I engaged with Multinational companies,including many Japanese companies,in legal, tax and compliance matters, I became interested in Japanese who kept rules and were always punctual.Sometimes, it was kind of frustrating that I couldn’t understand the Japanese unique sense of ”reading between the lines”,when I had a conversation through an interpreter.So, I decided to go to Japan in order to learn what this is. Now,while I’m working in a consulting company in Tokyo,which an acquaintance of mine referred to me, I learn Japanese in a language school.
◆What comes to mind when people in India say Japan?
What comes to mind are things like ”Mt.Fuji”,”Tokyo”,”Kyoto”,”Sushi”and “Sashimi” for general Indian people. However, it’s known a fact that the Prime Minister in India,Narendra Modi and Japanese Prime Minister,Shinzo Abe have built an intimate deep friendship and have built a good relationship between two countries for years.So,Japan sometimes gets news coverage in India. And Japan’s shinkansen technology is being adopted for the high-speed railway in India when it is aiming to open in 2023.Japan also supports the Indian government scheme”Make in India” ,which is the project of making India a global manufacturing industry.Besides this, the skill development program,which enables Indian people to study at universities or training factories in Japan to improve their skills, is moving too.About 30,000 Indian people live in Japan now, but I think many more people will visit Japan in the near future.
◆What did you think when you actually came to Japan?
When I worked with Japanese companies in India, I was wondering why Japanese clients made an appointment three months ahead. Because making an appointment is normally a few weeks ahead in India and deadline is also flexible.We sometimes hear from Indian people, I’m so busy today, so I miss the deadline a little bit. In Japan’s case, if clients don’t get something on the day of the deadline, you receive an e-mail that says”I’m waiting”. I recognize a Japanese busy business setting is to“be on time”.And the way of making a company decision about vision is different.Many big companies in India are family-run conglomerates.On the other hand, Japanese companies are made of a professional group.They take firm risk management, and I’m amazed that any businesses, such as convenience stores, restaurants and companies, make rules and keep business procedures.
◆Are there any surprises in Japan?
I was surprised when I heard the shutter sound of cellphone cameras. I’ve never heard that sound in India.Why? haha.The other thing is I seldom drink outside because it is thought that drinking is not a good habit in India.But there are many people who get drunk and sleep on the train in Japan.When I saw those people, I thought what happened!?
◆How do you like Japanese food?
I was a vegetarian and I lived with my family in my hometown.My mother cooked for us. So, I can’t cook.Because of that, I lost 7kg weight since I started living in Japan.My Japanese boss was worried about me and said”You should try and eat meat or something, Otherwise,I didn’t know if you were alive or dead!” Then, I tried to eat chashao pork ramen for the first time in my life.It was delicious.I have come to like Soba,Sushi,Sashimi and Tempura so much now. I also like the lunch boxes that are sold in convenience stores.I also eat curry in Japan but it’s different between India and Japan.Indian curry is firmer than Japanese, because of eating it with your hands in India and Japanese curry is softer,because of mixing with curry and rice in your mouth.
I think each of them has its own deliciousness.
◆Do you have any problems or difficulties in Japan?
I don’t have many of them, But friends of mine from overseas say that ”it is difficult to understand cultural differences”.As I told you, Japanese people keep promises strictly.If you ask Japanese people to hang out on an impulse, it’s a bit difficult for them to accept the offer straight away. I think there might be many people who feel lonely in Japan.Japanese people tend to be shy, don’t show their expression of emotion ,especially in the first meeting. But I know they open up to you after a few meetings..In India,most people are more talkative and open to somebody.I don’t feel lonely in Japan,
because I live in a share house with eleven Japanese people having a good time.We sometimes make and eat Nabe(Japanese hot-pot) together on lively weekends.I recommend a share house to people who feel they might get homesick.The difficult thing is Tokyo’s trains and subways are too complicated.I’m OK with what line I have to transfer at a certain station because I use app.But I’m confused where I have to exit,because there are too many exits. The big Shinjuku station in particular is so hard! I used to be lost when I went out through the wrong exit. It took about two months to get used to arriving at the destination from my station.
And the language. I wondered, for example, what’s the difference between Denwa(phone) and O-denwa. I learned Japanese honorific expression and humble expression at an advanced class of Japanese though, I am still studying Japanese original expressions,
like “Itadakimasuいただきます” “Kudasaiください” “Omeni kakaruお目にかかる”. Nevertheless, the order of grammar of Tamil, the language of my state where I'm living, is the same as Japanese,so I can proceed grammatical things smoothly.But turning English thought into Japanese is difficult.
◆What is the appeal of Japan for you?
Japanese traditional cultures are one of the most fascinated things. But I think the best thing is Japanese people! They try to put themselves in your shoes.Keeping promises and being on time and being faithful makes me truly trust them.The most important thing for Indian people is family.If a member of family gets sick,Indian people take a break from work.But Japanese people do this less and think about their business a great deal.
It is not good or bad, I think it is only a different way of thinking.
When I came to Japan, I needed my business card to take part in a business seminar.I ordered it at a printing company.A female president of the company was supposed to take part in the seminar, and I was to receive it there.But I got a call that she couldn’t join the seminar, because her husband fell sick.Then she gave my business card to her friend who handed it to me.
That really helped me a lot. I called the president to say thank you at a later date and asked her “How’s your husband?”. She said he past away…
I was really moved she kept the promise even under the circumstance.
I guess that would never happen in other countries.I got to know how Japanese people are amazing.
◆Could you give a message to Indian people?
I would like them to come to Japan,if they are looking for an opportunity.
Although he has lived in Japan for one year and four months, he speaks Japanese so fluently. Nyapan is overwhelmed!
The population of India is about 1.3 billion and the average age is about 25years old.The average age in Japan is about 46years old…I have gotten very much encouragement from him because he is clever, studying hard, coming from a rising country India.Go for it, real Wan-kun!