Bouncing Back

“When I was 17, I had brain surgery for pituitary tumor. Luckily, it was benign. But it affected my day-to-day life. Before, I was very active in sports, like soccer, and was basically a jock, even though I don’t look like it. My memory also got messed up. I don’t remember certain things in my life that I’m sure I could recall prior to the operation. Worse, I would get seizures if I’m in the shower for more than five minutes. These episodes lasted for about five years. Then when I came to Japan at age 26, it started affecting me again because of the cold weather. By then all the seizures were supposed to be gone already. But with all the weather changes from different seasons, my body got confused.

“I come from Guam, a small island that’s a U.S. territory. I was here originally to study but things didn’t work out so I took a gamble and decided to live here anyway. My dad’s Japanese while mom’s Chamorro (native of Guam) and I wanted to see if I can fit in with the other side of my culture.

I started working at an izakaya (Japanese bar restaurant), which was a nightmare. The staff picked on me and the manager would punch me in the stomach whenever I made a mistake.

“I quit after three months. Then I became a contract employee for a haken place (temporary staffing agency), testing software for PCs. It opened my eyes to the harsh reality of non-regular, part-time employment system in Japan. It’s puzzling because all the rules are different. You’re part of the company but you’re not. They don’t really care about you. I did pretty good but the company was downsizing so of course they let us go.

“Today, I finally found a company where I feel at home and more appreciated. They look after me while I look out for them. I’ve also made some really good friends at work. So I’m happy. They’re very supportive and considerate of my health situation. I used to be dispatched to clients for onsite support. But now they give me more back-end, internal assignments. I’m more active giving ideas to management, spearheading projects, and equipping engineers with tools they need because I’ve been an engineer for a long time myself. I know the ins and outs.”_DSC3205.jpg



【翻訳:Tomomi Yuri

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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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