A community to help foreign IT talents network and thrive in Japan
Table of Contents
Why I started the Hello World Japan community?
A story about who am I, how I came to Japan, fell down, leave Japan and come back.
init: A million-dollar lesson
My name is Shih-Wen Su, founder of Hello World Japan, and a foreigner from Taiwan. I came to Japan for the first time on a spontaneous trip in 2013. After traveling around Japan and talking to the local people, I soon realized I really want to stay here. I experienced not only beautiful scenery and delicious food, but also its vibrant culture, rich tradition, and hospitality of people. And for more personal reasons, even in the big city, the air was so clean that my respiratory allergy subsided. I decided to come and work in Japan right away. Even though I couldn’t read katakana and hiragana correctly, thanks to the education, work experience, and awards I received, I soon got my dream job in a startup as a founding member and a full-stack engineer in Tokyo.
After I joined the company for a few months, the company started to grow like crazy after we got a top-tier client in Japan. Luckily we were able to handle the market demand business-wise and service-wise and we were very excited to see and discussed how this business can grow in the next few years. Everything looks good, so I should be happy working with this company ever after right? No. Not at all. Turned out it was one of the worse work experiences I could ever have. Long story short, the founders of the company made up lies and set up traps and let me lose around a million dollars worth of shares. The partners I went out with all the time, worked together, drank together, traveled together, the partners I trusted the most backstabbed me. We had a serious fight. In the end, even my last 2 months’ salary was not paid. I was looking for help but I couldn’t get much help from the Japanese labor system or authorities. I felt desperate. I had to leave this beautiful country.
Break the loop
I had trust issues for anyone after that event. I trusted no one, not even my old friends. The situation lasted for 1 or 2 years but one day I decided to make a change. I decided to see this bad thing as a good thing. I could’ve stayed in my desperate loop and trusted no one forever following the devastating work experience but I decided it is really how I perceive the event that matters to me. Mind over matters. Here is what I’ve learned and how I decided to see the world.
- As a foreign engineer, I needed to understand not only the product and system I built but also the rights and responsibilities of the labor system I was in. It’s important to understand how the system works to protect oneself.
- Always be careful and get things clear early on in business, even for trusted ones.
- Some people are bad, and many are grayish, but most people are still good. I’m not losing my passion for life. I can get up from where I fell. I feel lucky to experience this in my 20s instead of my 60s. I gain an extra perspective on how I see things early on.
- Foreign laborers are the minorities, it would’ve been much better if I were not alone. Thinking about others, there must be someone else experiencing something less or worse. Someone else might also need my help. There are also local people willing to help foreigners.
A callback function is called by the outer function when the async operation is completed.
I came back to Tokyo in 2018. I’m now working as a CTO at a cybersecurity startup combating account takeover and financial crime. This journey is quite challenging but fortunately, I received a lot of help for my work and my life from so many people in Japan. Fortunately, the company has been growing well and one day we were notified that there was a chance to acquire the company that backstabbed me. What a surprise! Shouldn’t the company take advantage of people growing faster than the company that doesn’t? It turns out that the company has been doing poorly for nearly a decade since it took off and the investors are looking for a better-than-nothing exit. What a turnover! However, in the end, we declined the offer because talented people has left that company and that company has not progressed much in years.
People’s lives are asynchronized. The purpose of each person’s life is different. There’s no need to rush or compare one’s life with another. If you are facing struggles with your working situation in Japan, you are not alone. Many of the IT talents I met experienced frustration in Japan and some of their experience are surprisingly similar. The good news is there are people willing to help, share their experiences, and provide advice. This is why I started this community.
Hello World Japan – A community to help foreign IT talents thrive in Japan
I’m leading and mentoring Japanese and foreign engineers in my team and the responsibility is on me now. Even though the company I’m working for is doing great financially, we have experienced many people management issues along the way, from hiring to firing, from upper management to building each member’s career path. I wasn’t doing a good job in the beginning and I’ve learned things the hard way. I want to share what I’ve learned with other people who are in a similar situation. And not just about working experience, there are really a bunch of things to learn for the people who want to come to work in Japan and who are working as engineers or managers in Japan. The knowledge includes the background and knowledge of the labor system, the tax and personal finance knowledge, the salary, the Japanese language, the culture, and the unspoken rules or the common sense in this society. I want to give back what I have learned and the goodwill or the “Omotenashi” I received and I want to gather people who share the same vision to this community.
Knowledge and experience we’ll be sharing in this community
- How to choose a good company to work in Japan?
- How to get your dream job?
- How do I get a longer VISA or PR in Japan?
- How to thrive in your current position? How to lead without authorities?
- What is the management team thinking? Why some of the decisions don’t make sense to me at all?
- How to earn extra income in Japan? How to mitigate tax legally?
- How can I grow my professional career in Japan?
- How can I get promoted in my work in Japan? Is it good to become a manager in Japan? What are the responsibilities you should know?
- Is my salary fair? Is my working condition considered a good place to work?
Who are Hello World Japan community looking for?
Any engineer knows “Hello world” is the first program we write to learn a new programming language or a new platform. The Hello World Japan is a community of people who share the engineering spirit:
- Logical thinking
- Hands-on approach
- Continuous learning
- Support the new members
- Challenge spirit
We want to invite Japanese and foreigners who share the same value to help others in their work situation by providing knowledge and work experience, who can help us to share the information and support more IT workers. Let’s make Japan not just a beautiful country but also a good place to work and thrive.
For engineers in Japan or who want to come to work in Japan
Hello World Japan is a place for you to make friends, talk to tech leaders, find career opportunities, and learn from other experienced engineers and field experts. Of course, don’t forget to give back to the community when you can.
For Japanese or foreign participants
We are looking for people who have a global mindset, and want to build Japan into a more foreigner-friendly place. Join our discussions, make friends, and have fun. Help foreign friends at your own pace.
If you want to become a member of this community, please join our Slack channel and introduce yourself!
Become a community contributor
Besides general participants, we are looking for contributors who have a global mindset, and want to take more responsibility to build Japan into a more foreigner-friendly place. We are looking for the following roles:
- Content creators / Opinion leaders – who can share knowledge on the blog to help foreign engineers, including topics about common sense or the hidden rules to work in Japan, Japan’s labor system, tax system, how to prepare for applying for different VISAs, how to make Japanese friends, Japan’s new technologies and IT work opportunities.
- Organizers – who can help to organize or support webinars or offline meetups, and tech talks.
If you want to become a contributor, please join our Slack channel and DM Shih-Wen Su.
What can I do in the Hello World Japan community?
- Get to know people with engineering spirit, and grow your professional network.
- Ask questions about work and life in Japan and get help from experienced people.
- Join our tech events online or offline in Tokyo
- Share work information with others and find your future colleagues
- Contribute to the community and help others to make Japan a better place to work and live.
How to join the Hello World Japan community?
To join the Hello World Japan community,
Join us on Slack to ask questions, join discussions and make friends!
Introduce yourself when joining the Slack channel!
DM Shih-Wen Su on Slack if you want to become a contributor.
What services does Hello World Japan provide?
We help IT talents find suitable jobs in Japan, no matter where you are from. We hand-pick every single company and recruiter on our platform to ensure our members can have meaningful work and quality life in Japan.
We are planning other services. Please stay tuned!
% "Hello world"
Starting out in the world of programming can be a daunting task, but it’s important to remember that everyone starts somewhere. Do you recall the feeling of accomplishment when you wrote your first “Hello World” program and saw it printed on the screen? That simple program marked the beginning of our journey into the digital world. Join us and meet like-minded people, and let’s assist each other in this community. Let’s make Japan a good place to work and live!
Please share this with your friends who may have the same vision!
[05/Jan/2023:09:15:50 +0900]% "Hello world"