Around the World with PayPay is a series of articles featuring our global workplace, with people gathered from approximately 40 countries around the world. The article consists of two parts: “FROM OUTSIDE” (published every first Thursday of the month) focuses on a comparison between Japan and the interviewee’s home country. “FROM INSIDE” (published every second Friday of the month) focuses on experiences within PayPay.
In this article, we’ve sat down with Rafael Da Silva Costa from São Paulo, Brazil! Don’t forget to check out past issues too.
* The Japanese version of the article is also available.
Rafael Da Silva Costa
Country: São Paulo, Brazil / Years in Japan: 5 / What do you do at PayPay: Developer / Location: Tokyo
“I think there are a number of similarities between Japan and Brazil. Japan has quite some influence in Brazilian culture.”
Recommend a spot/thing in your country
I recommend the central part of São Paulo where we have lots of restaurants and even a few museums. São Paulo is an urban city. It’s a bit like Tokyo, so there are not many tourist spots or views to see. There are lots of restaurants and businesses, but that’s all.
What places/things would you recommend in Japan?
It’s a bit difficult for me to pick a favorite place because I haven’t done a lot of traveling. I guess Lake Kawaguchiko though, because I’ve been there a few times.
The lake is amazing. It’s surrounded by nature and there are lots of viewpoints where you can see Mt. Fuji. There are a lot of ryokans (Japanese style inns) which offer nice experiences if you like onsens (hot baths) too. It’s a great retreat, to go with your partner or family. The access from Tokyo is great as well.
Recommend a dish from your country?
One of my favorite dishes is called feijoada. It’s a kind of bean stew.
You can find it in Japan, but I’m afraid it’s not very authentic. When I get the urge to eat Brazilian food, I usually get it delivered. Since there’s a pretty big Brazilian community, you can pretty much order any Brazilian food.
In Tokyo, there’s a famous chain called Barbacoa. I actually don’t really recommend the place though, because it’s quite expensive plus I’ve never been there. Rio Grande Grill is the restaurant I frequent. It’s in Yokohama with a nice view of Tokyo bay. You can get churrasco.
Biggest similarities with your country?
I think there are a number of similarities between Japan and Brazil. Japan has quite some influence in Brazilian culture.
A lot of people don’t know this, but São Paulo has the largest Japanese community in the world (outside Japan, that is). So there’s a lot of Japanese influence. Many Japanese TV series are aired, and there’s a widespread love of anime too.
There are also some similarities in language. Because the Portuguese came to Japan a long time ago, there are many words that have been loaned to the Japanese language. For example “kappu,” (cup) “pan,” (bread) ”botan” (button) and “kasutera” (castella). I come across words like this quite often, usually in Katakana, which is quite interesting.
Why did you come to Japan?
After I graduated university in China, I hunted for jobs in Japan, South Korea, and China. Japan had always been a place of interest. So when I was able to find a job that suited my career plans, the decision was easy. I could sort of picture what it would be like in Japan, through all the Japanese TV programs I’d been watching since I was little.
What’s the thing you like the most about living in Japan?
It’s safe. Especially compared to Brazil – where it isn’t. It’s scarier for women. I’m male, but still I didn’t go out after dark. I see a lot of people using their phones on the street in Japan. If you do this in Brazil, you’d get mugged at gunpoint. It’s a sad reality, but Brazil has a high crime rate, a lot of which involve guns.
On the other hand, Japan is home to many natural disasters. You can make an effort to avoid getting mugged, which is difficult with a natural disaster. I often wonder which is better. What do you think?
Being careful and protecting yourself against crime is possible, but only to an extent. Even catching the bus after dark is a bit dangerous. Not to mention places you simply need to stay clear of. So my view is that living with crime has a bigger impact in your life compared to natural disasters.
What’s the worst or most difficult thing you experienced in Japan?
The language barrier was a bit tough at first. I didn’t speak any Japanese nor did I know anyone. So the first few months were quite challenging. Thanks to the experience though, I’m fine with living in foregin countries now.
Also, I know a lot of people now and live with my partner, but in the beginning, you need to put an effort into meeting new people. This may be especially so at PayPay because most people work remotely – you need to take that additional step forward to grasp the opportunity to get to know people.
What’s the weirdest thing you did in Japan?
I love onsens, so I went to Noboribetsu onsen with my friend at the end of the year. I forget the name of the ryokan, but they had an outdoor onsen and it came with a slide. I had never seen a slide in an onsen before, so naturally, I had to give it a go! But… afterwards, I realized that it was only for children. There was a father & son in the onsen with us, and the father kept staring at me. I wasn’t embarrassed though, to tell the truth. It was an addition to the list of exciting things I’ve done in Japan.
People not used to the onsen culture tend to feel uncomfortable bathing with others. Did you?
When my family visited Japan, they didn’t want the onsen experience. I tried my best to persuade my parents, but failed. I guess they thought they would feel embarrassed, since there are no onsens in Brazil. I became familiar with the whole concept in South Korea, before coming to Japan. Personally, I love onsens. They’re so relaxing.
Check back in next week for “FROM INSIDE” !
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Special thanks : Rafael / Author: Naoko / Managing Editor: Az
* Employee affiliations are as of the time of the interview.