Worlds Apart

“I came to Japan as an exchange student in Sendai just months before the devastating 9.0 magnitude earthquake struck Japan in 2011,” says Mailys, who now works for one of Silicon Valley’s tech giants.

“Witnessing first-hand how Japanese people got back on their feet from the ashes made me one with them.”

Our interloper, who’s a dead ringer for Taylor Swift, hails from France and eats nattō as if it was cheese. “I like it here. The comfort and convenience make it easy to live in Tokyo,” she says, while remarking how much she’ll miss those ubiquitous vending machines (There’s five million vending machines in Japan–one for every 25 people!) should she ever leave. “You take them for granted, but every time I’m back home, there’s never one in sight when I need one.”

At Roppongi Hills in Tokyo

It’s not always rainbows and butterflies though. “In the beginning I found it hard to make new friends here,” she says, lamenting how connecting with people on a deeper level can prove to be difficult in the big city. “You need to speak Japanese and have something in common.”

Good thing our tenacious French explorer picked up the language real quick and got so good at it to the point where it landed her acting roles; both on TV and the big screen, plus some modelling jobs.

Now Mailys is at a fork in a road. “I’m contemplating about what challenge awaits me because I usually don’t stay in one place for too long.” When asked to impart wisdom her response was:

“To Japanese people, go outside the country and come back with a wider perspective. To foreigners making their way here, brace yourselves. It’s worlds apart.”

Pondering life’s questions and her next move

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Finding diversity and inclusion. Breaking down barriers one post at a time. Stories and snapshots of foreigners making their way in Japan.

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