5.11.07

Pushed

Please do not assume that I have not seriously considered the pressures, strains and joys of working as a designer in Japan.

I am a Westerner. I will always have Western thoughts and opinions. You may consider this to be a plus or minus for working as a designer in Japan. I like to consider it a plus. Maybe I'm being naive.

I never claimed to be fluent in Japanese. I have a long, long way to go yet. I never claimed I understood the Japanese way of thinking. I may not be able to confidently write catch copy in Japanese, but I can still design. That said, I can sometimes understand the cleverness of catch copy, so this is all good training for the future. The more I expose myself to Japanese design, the more I will learn. Being able to expose myself to Japanese design in England is virtually nil.

In order to learn a language you must also learn the culture. I am learning. I never claimed my learning was over. I never claimed I knew everything. I will never know 'everything'.

If me and a Japanese person of the same age, same experience, same knowledge and same portfolio went for an interview, the Japanese person would win hands down. I would not even be considered. If I get employed in Japan it will not be for my level of Japanese. It will be because I am a good designer, or because the company wants to 'look' international, or wants a 'western' feel to their designs. If they want a Japanese speaker, they'll employ a Japanese person. I met a lot of foreign designers in Japan who say the same thing, this is not just my thinking. My friend speaks perfect Japanese and has been living in Japan for over 20 years. But he struggles to gain Japanese language design work because he is American. If Japanese people want Japanese language design, they go to a Japanese design company. If they want English language design they go to a Western design company. Its cruel and may upset some people, but, for the majority, it is true. Maybe this is why I hate Japan so much. Maybe this is why I respect Japan so much.

The companies I met in Japan know my level of Japanese. I have been honest with them and they have been to me. I have too many fears and anxieties about working in Japan. I know it will be hard, stressful and I may not succeed. I may not even get the chance to see if I can succeed. But it is something I want to try. I may hate working in Japan. I may like it. But I won't give up until I have tried.

What I want to achieve and what I actually achieve may not always be the same. But I'm trying my damn hardest to be the best Japanese speaker I can be at this time.

This may come as a bolt out of the blue, but it is not.
Someone just pushed me over the edge.

3 件のコメント:

milou さんのコメント...

Hello, Karen-san
Are you OK?
You seem to be stressed...

My Japanese friend who just finished her uni this summer is now looking for a job here in London. She just got a result from an interview with a big name company which declined her apparently because of her status. Because she is non EU citizen, they declined her.

I have been here over 8years and I love Britain and I hate Britain. the longer you stay in this country, the more grudge accumulates. Especially its Racism. "Equal opportunity", huh, must be a joke!

Everyday, Everytime I go out, I must prepare for the racism or some sort of unpleasant experiences out there.

I am working in a shop(a kind of a very famous and good company). I must face to the customers who does not want to be served by me or pretend not see me eventhough there was only me in the shop floor.

I am kind of paranoid and very tired of being Japanese living here in London. Almost everytime I have to represent myself Japan. They expect me to tell them anything about Japan eventhough they have no clue what is Japan. They still think Japan is China, or used to be a part of British empire. I don't have time for ignorants!

Also,I found irritating with some Japanese in London. I must stress not Every Japanese, though, but some of them really get my head in.
Those who never have to worry about visa or money or job, place to live, you name it. they will never be able to share what I have experienced over those years. And with their innocent japanese faces they'd say "Kawaiso" to me. Leave me alone!

Therefore, I do understand exactly what you feel.

I'm sorry, i am just moaning. I tried to say something helpful for you...
Thank you for reading this and bare with my poor English!

milou さんのコメント...

But,don't get me wrong.
I could cry when I see some British who really appreciate my culture and showed their understanding to me. I do see people who love japan even at work, and those moments make me proud of being japanese.

Good luck for the exam!

karekora さんのコメント...

Hi Milou-san,
Thanks for your comment. I am OK. I had a bad day. I hate it when people assume I am in some kind of naive daydream and that I havent thought through the idea about working in Japan.

Dont worry I understand how you feel and I'm sorry you have those experiences in London. I guess there will always be those kind of people but as long as we ourselves try and ensure that we are not rude or racist to anyone, at least we are making the world a nicer place!

It is strange that you said you feel as though you are forced to represent Japan here. I felt the same in Japan. Even Canadian friends often looked at me and said "Do British people normally do that..?" as though I represented the entire British population!

Just forget them and be yourself. :)