Posts Tagged ‘top stories’

Let's Begin

Working at a Japanese factory for one month gave me a unique insight into a special part of Japanese society; full of chain smokers, machine-slaves and endless conversations with myself.

Meine einmonatige Arbeit an eine Japanischen Fabrik gab mir einen einzigartigen Einblick in einen sehr speziellen Bereich der japanischen Gesellschaft, voll von Kettenrauchern, Maschinensklaven und jeder Menge Selbstgespräche.

Two months ago I started working at a Japanese manufacturer (check out my first month). Even though I already entered the sales department of the company, I had to work for more than a month at one of our factories as part of my training program. I thought it would be a brilliant way to get out of the office and get some firsthand experience. And believe me, I gained experience that will last a lifetime!

Vor zwei Monaten begann ich meine Karriere bei einem japanischen Manufakturunternehmen (seht euch meinen ersten Monat an). Obwohl ich schon vom Sales Department eingestellt wurde, sollte ich noch im Rahmen meines Trainingsprogrammes für einen Monat an einer unserer Fabriken arbeiten. Ich dachte, dass mir das eine einmalige Möglichkeit geben würde um mal aus dem Büro rauszukommen und Erfahrungen aus erster Hand bekommen. Und glaubt mir, die Erfahrungen, die Ich sammeln konnte reichen für ein ganzes Leben.

The Machine-Goddess

Have you ever seen the movie METROPOLIS? No, well it’s about time for you to do it! I never thought that an 87 years old movie (!!!) could capture my feelings in such a strong way, but as soon as I started my first week at the factory I thought: I am caught in Metropolis. My first job was to stack little metal tubes on top of each other and to put them into a machine. A little bit like Jenga for adults. The man, who showed me how to do it was a nice little grand-dad, probably just one year away from his retirement; but gosh he was so quick in doing it. And then he said “I’ll be right back” and gave me a cheeky smile…The next 4 hours he was never seen again and I was stuck with a machine that was eating my metal tubes much quicker than I could stack. This was the day when the machine became my goddess (in German the word machine is female). Every day I would talk to the machine, pray to the machine to let me stack my little tubes really quick, swear at the machine when it was too quick for me and hope that it would break down just for a couple of minutes, so I could gain a little break from stacking. I was working at the machine and for the machine….never with it. The machine became my master, telling me when I would get a break and when not, and I; I was its humble servant. (more…)


Japan is a weird country, in many ways! So far I had about a thousand moments when I thought: “Really?? Only in Japan!!” There are however also a few strange things that actually make sense and where other countries could learn from Japan. Here are my top 10!

Japan ist ein seltsames Land, in vielerlei Hinsicht! Ich hab bis jetzt schon mehrere Tausenmal einen Moment erlebt bei dem ich mir dachte: “Wirklich?? Das gibt’s nur in Japan!!” Es gibt aber auch ein paar seltsame Dinge, die tatsächlich Sinn ergeben und bei denen andere Länder noch was lernen können. Hier sind meine Top 10!

1. Masks

Japanese are infamous for their daily use of face masks. No place or situation is safe of them (not even the own wedding). However it makes actually sense to wear these masks! Pollution, viruses and allergies; from a medical point of view the mask are a brilliant tool to protect oneself and his follow citizen.

Japaner sind für die tägliche Benutzung von Gesichtsmasken weltweit bekannt. Es gibt keinen Ort oder Situation (nicht einmal die eigene Hochzeit) an dem man vor ihnen sicher wäre. Es macht jedoch auch Sinn sie zu tragen. Umweltverschmutzung, Viren und Allergien; aus medizinischer Sicht sind die Masken ein geniales Mittel sich und seine Mitmenschen zu schützen.

2. Music at Train stations

In Tokyo every big station has its very own song that is played when a train arrives. Sounds weird, but it is a brilliant way to recognize your own station if you are napping at the train. It takes some time to get used to but it actually works.

In Tokio hat jede große Station ihr ganz eigenes Lied, welches abgespielt wird, sobald ein Zug einfährt. Klingt verrückt, aber es ist eine brilliante Methode um die eigene Station wiederzuerkennen, wenn man sich im Zug im Halbschlaf befindet. 

3. Explaining Pictures

That Japan is the unchallenged Master of graphics is a fact since the global emergence of Pokemon and Mangas. Japanese use pictures however also in every part of daily life. Explaining the emergency exit, the usage of a microwave or the national retirements system; all is supported by cute little pictures . Sometimes a bit childish but a brilliant way to understand and remember crucial information (especially for me as a foreigner)

Japan ist der unumstrittende Meister von Grafiken seit dem Aufstieg von Pokemon und Mangas. Japaner benutzen jedoch Grafiken und Bilder auch in jeder Facette des täglichen Lebens. Ob nun der Notausgang, die Benutzung der Mikrowelle oder das nationale Rentensystem erklärt wird, alles geschieht mit süßen kleinen Bilder. Klingt kindisch ist aber ein genialer Weg um alle wichtigen Information zu verstehen und nicht zu vergessen (besonders für mich als Ausländer). (more…)

Being able to work in Japan as a foreigner can be a long and nerve-racking process! There are many different websites and blogs (further down is a list of useful sites) on how to get a Job in Japan, but I have the feeling that around 90% of these sites only talk about teaching positions. What about NON-teaching jobs? What kinds of jobs are there? How can I apply for a job in Japan? What skills do I need to bring? I am certainly not able to answer all the questions regarding Job-hunting in Japan. However what I can do is to share my own experience in the field of Shuukatsu (就活, Japanese job hunting) and how I got a workplace there. If you really want to work in Japan you have to keep the 6 P’s in mind!

Have a PLAN

Just as with every kind of job hunting it is important to have a plan. The most important question you have to ask yourself apart of “Do I really want to work in Japan?” is “When do I want to start?” If you want apply for teaching positions with the JET it is often enough if you ‘only’ apply 9-6 months in advance. However if you are looking for a non-teaching Job in a Company the application period becomes usually much longer. Japanese people tend to start applying for jobs 2 years in advance. I myself got my job offer a year in advance. That does not mean that you cannot apply later, but the earlier the start the better! Most companies have also only one date during the year when they welcome all their new employees (usually in April). So it is important for you to keep in mind for what year and period you will apply for. This however can be also negotiable. My company allowed me to join them 4 months later then everybody else, but again that was an exception rather than the rule of Japanese companies.