On 28th May 2022, OUIAA members gathered for hiking at JR Takaosanguchi station at 10:00, and we moved towards the hiking entrance of mount Takao. It was a hot and not too crowded Saturday. We ascended by trail №1 and descended from the Inari course back to JR Takaosanguchi station.


Alongside hiking trail №1, we stopped at historical spots listed below for your reference.


1. Mt Takao Monkey Park & Wildflower Garden/高尾山さる園・野草園

2. Mt Takao Yakuōin Jōshion/高尾山薬王院 浄心門

3. Otokozaka Men's Stairs/男坂

4. Sanmitsuno Michi/ 三密の道

5. Mt Takao Busshari Hōan-tō/高尾山佛舎利奉安搭

6. Izuna Gongen Shrine/ 髙尾山 薬王院 本社・権現堂

7. Tengusha/ 天狗社

8. Mt Takao Dai-Miharashidai/ 高尾山 大見晴台

9. Mt. Takao Cable Station

10. Mt Takao Museum


Lastly, we took a lunch break at the summit.


We enjoyed an easy hike and took the opportunity of socializing after covid restrictions in Japan had been eased. If you’re also an OU alumnus interested in joining OUIAA outdoor activities, join our Facebook group and follow our future posts on activities.


Writer: Oksana H.

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Updated: Jul 15

At some point in your career, you might start thinking about what other jobs there are out there, if they might suit you better, if they pay better, provides a more suitable career path or maybe you just want to change your environment.

In my case, during my 4th year at my first job in Osaka, I decided to try something new, (and also because my OUISA fam is mostly in Tokyo), I decided to start job hunting.

My experience may not have been the most efficient, or best way, but let me share with you my experience changing jobs mid-career in Japan.

Overall flow

Register on recruit websites

Gather information about companies

Sit for test

Go for interview (2~3 interviews per company generally)

Salary negotiation

Start date negotiation

Hand in resignation notice to former employer

Start new job!

How do I get started?

There are mostly 2 ways of doing this, one is through a job-hunting website/agents, and another is directly to the company (via their website for example).

For the former, first thing to do, put yourself out there. Create or update your Linked-in account, register on job search websites, so that agents can reach you.

In my case, I registered on Biz-Reach, which is kind of like a recruit agent hub. (Now there are a whole lot more as I see in the adverts on the trains) Here I can choose what kind of industry, what kind of job (R&D, engineering, application engineer etc.), where in Japan you would prefer to be based etc.

Then, the algorithm will show and notify you of new job postings that are suitable.

Also, your profile is available to the recruiting agents on the website, who will reach out to you if they see that you could be a potential candidate for their customer (ie the companies). Some will ask you to contact them so that they can learn more about you and your preferences, narrow down the choices they feel are suitable for you, and some will even help you with your CV if they feel you have a good chance of being hired.

On a side note, what is it in for the agents to help you? They get paid a lot (up to 50% of your offered annual salary) by the company if you get hired through them. That is a huge sum so there are a lot of agents out there just trying to place people in companies. That is one of their motivations, and unfortunately sometimes you meet agents who are just trying to place people, and some of them bad apples can get aggressive and put a lot of pressure on you.

Differences between Biz-Reach and Linked-in

Biz-Reach : Japanese agents, mostly Japanese companies but also foreign companies too.

Linked-in: Foreigner agents, mostly foreign companies.

Agency that I didn’t like

Personally, I preferred the Japanese agents because I felt they were more helpful, while the foreign agents were waaaay more aggressive, made you feel bad about your current job (even if you don’t feel that way), are critical of your current company and put the other company on a pedestal, put a lot of pressure on you to accept their offer,. I just did not like their way of doing things, or I just happened to meet 2~3 agents that were all bad apples.

Agency that I liked

The agent that I had a good experience with was JAC. The agent did not deluge me with a long list of companies I was not interested in, but narrowed it down to a short list of those I was interested in and had good chances of getting into (saves your time).

They provided information about the company and sometimes even the interviewee, and gave me a list of questions that I should prepare for. This is one reason to use agents, because otherwise it would be better to just apply directly to the companies (which companies prefer anyway as they don’t have to pay the agent fee).

The other advantage of using agents is that they can negotiate the salary on your behalf, and also ask things that are hard for you to ask directly to the potential employer.

Also, make clear what are the benefits, e.g. housing allowance, moving fee etc, that the company provides.

Salary

Regarding salary negotiation, a lot of it is based on your current salary, unless you have some really sought-after skills where you can ask for a high(er) starting salary.

Tests

Like the tests we took when we were in B3 or M1 looking for jobs, for mid-career job hunting, there are tests also, called SPI. It includes logic, Japanese, math questions. Lots of books on it in the bookshops. It is good to get one or two to practice if the companies you apply to requires it.

Interview

The interview isn’t unlike the job interviews when you were a fresh graduate. They’ll ask you why you want to join the company, what you want to do etc. However, unlike job interviews as a fresh grad, they will also ask about your previous job experiences, and it helps to explain how your previous experience and skills can contribute to the company.

In general, if you have less than 5 years of work experience, you are sometimes still considered a “fresh grad”, a 第二卒, and there is less expectations about your job skills, more on “potential” and how they can still train you. After 5 years, they would want someone with 即戦力, someone who can contribute immediately to the team once they enter, so job skills and experiences count a lot more.

After passing the interviews

This is when you negotiate your salary (of course you will get a rough salary range when you apply), and decide the starting date. It helps to have a few companies on hand so that you can use it as leverage against the other to negotiate a higher salary.

Regarding starting date, most companies would want you to start ASAP, preferably in 1~2 months. Keep in mind you need to give your current employer at least 1 month notice, and maybe 1 more month for you to use up your holidays, do 引継ぎ and tie up loose ends.

There you have it! A rough guide on 転職 (tenshoku).

If you’re thinking of changing job, hope this helps and good luck to you!



This blog was contributed by Sze Ping on November 13, 2021.

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Updated: Jul 15

I started writing these stories almost exactly 4 years after my medical research internship at Handai, during which I spent half a year in Osaka. And never have I had as many memorable experiences, such a sustained sense of wonder, compacted into such a modest time span, even compared to previous experiences abroad. While it was by no means enough time for me to pretend I know how Japan ticks, it was just enough to make me feel like I actually lived there, for Japan in general and the city in particular to become a part of me.


It was also just enough time to peek beyond the usual suspects, to do the everyday things you wouldn’t dream of wasting your precious time on as a tourist, such as going to a neighborhood swimming pool and experiencing the strange ritual of having to get out of the water every hour for some music-guided exercises, or for exorbitant yoghurt and muesli prices to become normal. I also believe Osaka itself was the perfect place to become enamored with the unsung heroes I’ve described, given the fact that the city has fewer famous highlights, less clout as it were, and as such is not at the top of most tourists’ itinerary like Tokyo and Kyoto are. One might even say Osaka in and of itself is an unsung hero of sorts.




What I like about the unsung heroes is that they surprise. Tim Anderson, who lived in Kyushu on a working holiday visa and became a famous chef of Japanese soul food, voices this exceptionally well in his cookbook ‘Tokyo’ when he says that Tokyo induces reverse Paris syndrome. Many famous places, Paris the titular prime example, can easily disappoint because they can’t make true on the romanticized expectations people project on them. Tokyo, according to Anderson, is simply too overwhelming, too dazzlingly crazy to fall victim to this: no prior expectations can ever come close to reality, let alone overestimate it. In this I see the unsung heroes that rear their head where you least expect them.


Of course, most people come for the oversung heroes: the rustic kiyomizudera that turns out to be under perpetual construction, unique Fushimi Inari where there are so many visitors that it is nigh impossible to get that prized picture where it’s just you and the rows of red torii gates, or Golden Gai where the locals themselves have all but fled from the overpriced drinks and the hordes of tourists. I believe it’s not those easy travel guide highlights, which have a tendency to (mildly) disappoint, that get people hooked; it’s the many small things that make Japan more than the sum of its parts.


Indeed, Fushimi Inari which I describe as an example of an oversung hero actually hides an unsung hero of sorts: the most inner of its shrines rests on a mountaintop a 60-90 minute climb beyond the red torii palooza, the length to which few visitors go. Not only is the climb itself spectacular (through plenty of the coveted torii guiding the way), but going beyond the highlight rewards you with an incredible view of Kyoto and the actual tranquil experience you might have expected from the temple visit.




I’ve only tried to describe a few of the unsung heroes that reside in Japan and many remain; some I don’t know well enough to cheekily write about, more I believe I am yet to encounter. It is exactly this that excites me, the knowledge that every visit will surprise me and that a sense of wonder and adventure will always reward me. While this of course generally applies to almost any place, it is true like nowhere else in Japan. And as such I am truly grateful for the unlikely convergence of circumstances that facilitated my exchange in Osaka, and would recommend it to any student that has the option.



Contributed by Tom de Hoop on August 5, 2021.

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