Work-life Balance in Japan
I have been travelled to Japan many times when I was a student. In 2017, I participated in a study aboard program in Kyoto for 6 months and worked in Japan part-time during my exchange. After graduated from the University of Calgary in 2018, I participated in JET program and right now, I am working in Ibaraki Prefectural Government – Olympic and Paralympic Games Division as a CIR.
To be honest, working in Japanese municipalities is stressful sometimes. I usually work overtime 2~8 days per month depends on the work volume and situation. Occasionally, I have to work very late and we all know this is so not fun. Today I would like to introduce to you about my experience on how to maintain the work-life balance in my first year working in Japan.
1, Eat Healthy and Exercise
I believe you probably already heard this a lot.
In most parts of Japan, summer is extremely hot, and humidity is high, and in winter, showering and packing stuffs after exercise in the gym take times. Outdoor exercising may not be a good idea. In order to make sure I maintain a healthy life and have a good start of the day, I purchased an indoor running machine and a blender on Rakuten and Amazon and delivered by my door. Make sure I exercise at least 20 minutes a day and have fruit or vegetable smoothie after that.
2, Travel in Japan under Low Budget
In most of the Japanese company (or even JET), the salary won’t be very high in your first year. You probably still want to cut your budget, explore your view, and travel a lot in Japan. I have been in Japan so many times in the past and I never ever have any experience taking Shinkansen Express Train before. My secret to save budget and enjoy the traveling at the same time is to use an express bus or overnight bus, or cheap flight. For accommodation, I usually stay at capsule hotel (2000~ yen a night), share-house, or Airbnb.
3, Focus on the things you love
I love anime and music. Besides work, I usually went to anime conventions or anime cafés and to let myself relax after a hard week of work. In the past one year, I went to Arashi’s concert once, Nishino Kana’s concert once, and several anime voice actor events.
4, Don’t forget to keep studying
Although you probably feel stressful when you have to work overtime sometimes, but keep this in mind, study can also refresh your mind and make your life better. After start working in Japan, I transferred my focus from general Japanese language studies to business Japanese studies. These include business Japanese manners (I’ve taken several training seminars about business manners in Japan, and in each seminar, I always learned something new), telephone correspondence in Japanese working environment, studying for Business Japanese Proficiency Test, participating the internship program and English-Japanese translation seminar, etc. Reference books on Amazon are always good resources. I felt studying makes my work easier and gave me more confidence to prepare for everyday work in Japan.
5, Try to interact with local residents and communities
I am a regular member at the culture exchange local association. I usually attend the English salon on Saturday morning to teach local communities my country’s language and culture. And they guided me to local sightseeing spots and invited me to their parties all the time.
I believe each person have their own unique way to tackle stress at the workplace, and so far, I certainly did balance this heavy workload with a fulling personal life and had more time focusing on my personal interests and leisure activities during my stay in Japan!