“We’re Vietnamese. Been living in Japan for a year now. I came with my brother to work. Life is tough. We barely speak English or Japanese so we have to stick together if we’re going to make it in this big city. Although we’re from Ho Chi Minh City so we’re big city girls ourselves.”

“We’re factory workers from Vietnam. Do you know Ho Chi Minh City? I came to Japan last year with my sister. We’re learning Japanese while on the job, working on the factory floor. It’s tough but rewarding. This is my best buddy. We’re here today to celebrate Thai culture at the annual Thai festival. Don’t you recognize the logo on our hats? It’s from Singha Beer.”

Second Home

“I’ve been away from home for over 10 years. It’s kind of hard for me. I still have a connection with my family. But in order to live overseas you need to work. Money is important, but it’s not the most important thing. Staying here in Japan is my choice because it’s easy to live here. And I spent my youth mostly in Japan. So almost all of my close friends are here, which makes it extra hard to leave this country. For me it’s more than just a place to live, it’s my second home. Even when I go back to my hometown in Vietnam for vacation, I feel like I want to return to Japan right away because this is my “home”. I even turned down an offer to work in Singapore for a Japanese bank. They asked me why I would walk away from a high-paying job and I told them I’ve been in Japan for 8 years (at that time) and I couldn’t just leave. That’s when I realized Japan has become so important to me.”
chau-truc1“I’m Vietnamese. I came to Japan because I always wanted to study abroad. I went to a top university in Ho Chi Minh City but it didn’t feel like the right place for me, and I just wanted to study in a foreign language. Now I work in Tokyo. Actually, I just changed my job. I moved to a Japanese company that makes industrial machinery and does overseas sales. To be honest, it’s a job that’s not something I love but something I can do well. My company wants to use me as a bridge between them, a very traditional Japanese company, and customers overseas like from my home country. I’m multilingual, while 80 percent of coworkers don’t speak any foreign language so I guess that’s why they hired me. People say that I’m chatty and easy to talk to, which is also why this kind of job suits me. I just hope I can deliver.”