Hi everyone! June is here, bringing us the rainy season, called tsuyu (梅雨) , which literally means “plum rain” because it coincides with the plums ripening season. But luckily for me, today I’m writing these words under a great sunny sky in Tokyo. Today we have 2 employees from the biggest group of foreign nationals in Japan: China. Of course, we will not discuss which country has the best gyoza or who invented the fortune cookies, … But I’m sure food will be one of the main topics! As always, if you missed the previous volumes of Around the world, you can find all of them by clicking here. Let’s get started!
* The Japanese version of the article is also available.
Country: China / Years in Japan: 3.5 Years / Location: Kawasaki
“My stomach is adapting Japanese food taste now (which is much healthier frankly speaking)!“
Country: China / Years in Japan: 14 Years / Location: Tokyo
“I miss my father’s cooking! He is absolutely the best home cook I have ever seen. Sometimes I make calls to ask him the recipes of the food I want to try. WFA gives me plenty of time to steal cooking skills from my father“
How are you doing during the pandemic in Japan?
Enjoying my life with my cute cat Oreo. Finally got a lot of time at home. I think Oreo is very much annoyed about that…
I enjoy cooking, tea time and other various drinks at my sweet home. Sometimes, I hang out with friends who love outdoor activities. I am lucky that my hobby was not impacted much during the COVID-19 pandemic, and it seems it is getting more popular. I am not enthusiastic about challenging difficult mountains, but enjoy the beautiful views on the way and on the top of mountains, and a sense of achievement after a hard trekking. Being inspired and guided by some mountain or camping mania friends, I am expanding my activity area gradually.
For you, what are the best things that you are able to do here?
Japan is so respectful of life. I have a little cat. Her name is Oreo! Fell in love with her the first time I saw her photo on the internet and took her home 2 weeks later. While raising a pet is tough in my home country, it’s just very easy to do it in Japan and I don’t have to worry about anything because Japan has developed a great medical system and services for pets. Can you believe that they put a pet’s photo on the insurance card? It is so cute. I don’t even have a photo on my insurance card but Oreo does! She is now 3 years old, does one medical check per year (just like me) and takes a very expensive shower every 3 months. Life is so beautiful!
Unlike huge China, my homeland, Japan is a compact country with a good size and various natural landscapes, which allows people to live in the city close to nature, have city life convenience and nature peace both on their hands. I love traveling in Japan, and I am really excited to explore new regions I have not left my footprints on. And more, thanks to WFA and Super Flexible working hours, I would like to try ‘workation’, which I believe would be a new lifestyle for PayPay workers, a non-routine balanced work life.
Another amazing thing about Japan is Japanese language class (日本語教室). It is a conversation centered Japanese language class held with elderly people. When I lived in Nagoya, I used to go to a class named Sakuranokai (桜の会). Ojisan and Obasan (grandpas and grandmas) are so kind that they would spend their own time to teach foreigners Japanese for free! You can talk about anything with them and you gradually learn the language. That 1-2 hours per week was my favorite time when I lived in Nagoya. Now that I am in Tokyo, I no longer have the time to go to Japanese language class. But I will never forget the kindness of Sakurainokai’s people.
Also, a big benefit of living in Tokyo, a top tier city in the world, is delicious food, which is another pleasure of my life here. All kinds of cuisines can be found in this city, from local food to fancy meals from all over the world. I do wish this pandemic ends as soon as possible, so that people can gather together around dining tables again.
For someone who has been long time in Japan and I’m sure went through different stages, adaptation is on a completely different level. How do you see the previously mentioned peculiarities of communication in Japan?
At work, the most interesting and my favourite 2 phrases are 大人の事情 (a grown-up situation) and 暗黙の了解 (an implicit [a tacit] assumption). There are things not clearly declared but recognized by everyone, perhaps an unseen background or a virtual rule in the AIR, to avoid telling it clearly, these 2 phrases are very useful and highly conclude all situations in a sophisticated way. As a foreigner who has been living in Japan for a long time, I think I can tell and I enjoy telling the smell, the weight and the humidity of the air. Sometimes I am happy to breathe the good air, but sometimes I refuse to be haunted by the bad air.
On the other hand, with a shorter time here, the adaptation is still on an early phase and some things are missed. What’s your feeling as a Chinese person in Japan?
There is a big Chinese community in Japan. I run into Chinese people everywhere I go. At PayPay I can even use Chinese at work for discussion. Compared to a lot of other countries, Japan is a very comfortable place to work. Overtime work is not encouraged and you get to live a decent life with the income level. Also, I miss hot Chinese food. One time I went to a Chinese restaurant in Tokyo and ordered a dish marked five hot peppers (the utmost level of hotness), it tasted sweet!! But even though I go back to China, I don’t think I can eat hot food as much as I used to.
That’s all for this volume of Around The World With PayPay. I hope you guys enjoyed it! July will bring us a pretty calm Olympic month, but hopefully we can enjoy it safely! We’ll be back with more stories!
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