My Own Positioning

Where would be the best working environment that I could use my strength?

I wanted to use what I learned through school and at work as much as possible.  However, I wondered which one would be better for me: a branch office of a Japanese construction company in L.A.? or a branch office of American (FMCG) company in Tokyo?  The one in L.A. could be the short-term win for me as I could stay in the States for longer but I wonder if their headquarters in Japan could fairly treat me as a professional compared with Japanese male employees.  The one in Tokyo, I thought, was also risky in the same point of view as there are many Japanese male working for them and, on top of that, I was not quite sure if I could use my knowledge accumulated in the Business school as there might not be many Senior Managers, regardless of nationality, who would understand the latest business tools.  Furthermore, I thought some Japanese employees might force me to behave like a Japanese woman in the office.   At last, the answers to the two question as follow made me decide the destination: “Which one would listen to my opinion more when I started to deliver good results in my assignment?” and “Which one would recognize my value more as a professional who knows culture of both America and Japan?”  I did not think about which “industry” I should move one.  As a result, I decided to go back to Tokyo.


After joining the one in Tokyo, I sometimes got stuck with the fact that the company was more “Japanese” than I expected.  However, when there were some conflicts between non-Japanese senior management vs. Japanese management, good or bad, I was accepted in the Japanese side. My positioning was “being a Japanese woman who understands both Japanese people/culture and Western people/culture through communication in English.”  I tried to avoid being labeled as “strange Japanese” who could not be accepted either by the Japanese society or non-Japanese community in Tokyo.  Thinking about a long term goal of “being my own boss,” this positioning was, and still is, quite important.     


Having said this though, I sometimes feel like going back to the States for a vacation to revive my identity.  Meeting with friends and visiting the town that I know in the past, I could remember how I found my identity at school and cheer up myself.  In Japan, I realized that I often needed to kill my true self to live in harmony.

Then why am I living here?  The answer is simple.  I love the country.  Therefore, my positioning stays the same. 

“I am Japanese.  Also, I could understand non-Japanese people/culture through communication in English.”

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