WFA x living in Kagoshima

PayPay shifted to a “new workstyle” last September, allowing “Work from Anywhere, at Anytime” (WFA). Nearly six months after its launch, a number of issues associated with this work style have become apparent, and for this reason, we have decided to start a new series of articles featuring WFA to offer insight into solving the challenges of working remotely by sharing some creative and specific practices our colleagues have adopted. This time, we would like to introduce Qingmei Zhao (Mei), our backend engineer, who’s working from Kirishima, Kagoshima upon joining PayPay. Please enjoy her story of WFA with the beautiful photos she provided.

Live in Kirishima, Kagoshima – Qingmei Zhao

A crab and Mei-san. The background is Kirishima Kinkowan where you can easily find crabs and sea snails.
How long have you been living in Kirishima, Kagoshima?

As I have just answered in my recent interview with Around the world with PayPay, I moved to Kirishima right before I joined PayPay as I learned PayPay adopted WFA.

How is it like to be away from a big city like Tokyo?

Well, I used to live in Yokohama until I joined PayPay. But I’ve always loved the countryside of Japan myself. Slow life, mountain, river, sea, active volcano, even onsen at home. I’d say I’m simply happy now.

Although I am staying in the quiet countryside in Kirishima, I am never lacking the opportunity to make new friends as I am connected with my PayPay colleagues online, and since my boyfriend is hosting a guest house in Kirishima, we can make friends with people from all over the world while staying at home.

The nature onsen footbath of the guesthouse

The cost of living has also been greatly reduced since, in the countryside, everything is much cheaper compared to Tokyo. For example, I never thought I could stay in a 2LDK detached house with a small garden and free-flow natural onsen by myself alone (which costs only around 50000 yen in Kirishima). Finally, I can have the big kitchen I always dream of!! Also, Kagoshima is famous for agriculture, the vegetables and meat here are so fresh and cheap. So that I can save more money on the things I would like to enjoy.

The place where I spent most of my free time.

There is one thing I did not expect before I moved to Kirishima is that the public facilities in the countryside of Japan are surprisingly complete and easy to access. Basic needs like hospitals, clinics, banks, supermarkets, convenience stores, parks, and Izakaya are all within walking distance. Although the public transportation system is not that developed, since the population here is too small, you still can get everything you need with a 10-min drive if you have a car.

The background is the Kirishima city and the famous active volcano Sakurajima (桜島) which almost erupts every day (For example erupted 996 times in 2011)
How’s remote work?

Totally OK! My previous job was also remote work. I’m used to it.

How’s PayPay to you?

PayPay deploys the most advanced tech stack but still trying to improve the environment to even better. It’s agile, so open, all raise hands and toss ideas which is the perfect ideal place to work at! There are lots of lots of things that I have to learn here but I am definitely enjoying this cool environment myself. I can work at PayPay remotely, and once I step out of my door, there is this mountain and river life of Kirishima. Simply put, this is the best!

Top-notch speed doesn’t wait for documentation

There are documents but at PayPay speed, documentation gets older while working. It’s agile, so open, all raise hands and toss ideas which is the perfect ideal place to work at!

【Editor’s Note】 Mei-san was willing to share all these photos and comments for this article. As she feels that her personality has been greatly influenced by Japanese culture/thinking because she watched too much Anime since she was a child, she seems to be greatly balancing between China, Japan, the top-notch speed of PayPay, and the slow life of Kirishima so well which impressed me so much!
Interview/editing: Az * The information given is as of the time of the interview. * The content of this article is confidential.
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