Finding an Unusual Part-time Job in Japan: Eric the Assistant Editor

It has been a year since I first came to Japan. While studying Japanese in a language center, I had a chance to work part-time as a writer and a photographer assistant for a Japanese online travel magazine company.

Beginning in Taiwan

I was not a good student back in my school days. When I chose to study science and engineering in university, I realized that I had no interest after one year of study. It didn’t feel and I needed to look for something else. I found myself having interests in knowing people and communication, so I decided to transfer and major in journalism.

After graduation, I worked as a production assistant in a entertainment production company . As a new comer, I had to work in all of the production process, and learned a lot from making program plans to booking guests. After that, I went on to be a print journalist on societal topics for two years.  I even had the opportunity to report  “Sun Flower Movementfrom the front line.

Next Career Step

These work experiences inspired me a lot. Being at work for a few years, I started to feel my personal limits.  I often found myself wondering if I should go back to study to make up for what I missed in school.  On top of that, the macro environment of Taiwan job market seemed to be going downhill, so that was when I started to toy with the idea of studying abroad .

I could go to either North America or Japan at that time.  After considering my career plans, I felt it would be better if  I could stay in Asia. Even though I didn’t speak any Japanese, I have been fascinated by Japanese aesthetic style that blends elements from modern and classic concepts, and took many photography trips to Japan. Besides those, my Japanese girlfriend is also one major motivation why I chose to come to Japan.

Finding a Part-time Job in Japan

It has been a year now (The interview took place in 2016) since I came to Japan with a student visa. Starting from the basic Gojūon (fifty sounds), I am getting to learn more and more about Japan. I also wanted to look for part-time job to learn about Japan outside the school environment.

Since I couldn’t speak Japanese on a business level yet, and working in service jobs really wasn’t for me, I kept looking for opportunities that I could use my other skills. Finally, I found on Facebook that an online magazine company was looking for a assistant Chinese editor and photographer.  I am lucky enough to pass the interview and now work as a freelance writer for Matcha, a information website for foreign travelers coming to Japan.

I work two afternoons a week, and get paid by piece for the articles I wrote. It isn’t much, but the job gives me opportunities to do something I’m interested in. Chinese content is one of Matcha’s main focus. Despite limited resources, we have the freedom to try new things.

My manager also lets me participate in client meetings,  and I have the autonomy to prepare for interview,take photos, and research topics for articles. On top of that, all commute expenses are paid by the company! It is a great experience for me considering that I have successfully used my skills, learned business Japanese and discovered many beautiful places of Japan that I could not normally go.

Next Step in Japan

My student visa will expire in one year. Nevertheless, I still plan to stay in Japan for the future. It was quite a decision back then when I chose to come to Japan, wishing that I could learn more than just the language. I haven’t decided to keep studying or start working,  but there’s no doubt that I have to keep improving my Japanese. To be able to live in Japan and communicate with people effectively, this is a given, and only then can I fully utilize my other skills to be successful in Japan.  

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