From all the countries I’ve been to, Japan was, for some reason, the one that made me wish I could live there forever. I don’t know if it was the kinky porn, the children’s cartoons or the depressingly suicidal business people. I’m not sure, but there was just something there that made me want to stay.
And while in Osaka I tried as hard as I could to find a way to stay there permanently, and the only way I could find of doing that, considering I wasn’t ready for an arranged marriage yet, it was by trying to find a job, and committing myself to a life of paid slavery, which I was, by the way, totally cool with.
And I still am, I still think that I’d rather wait tables somewhere I like than make millions somewhere I hate.
So, coming back to Osaka I came across what at the moment seemed to be my dream job, easy, no stress, in the city I liked, with the people I liked, flexible hours, high pay, everything was perfect, and when I applied for it, my employer said the same most employers had told me while in Japan, he said: “No, because you don’t have a working visa”.
That phrase brought along several phases with it, ranging from several hours to several days long.
1 – Denial – I would think: “Maybe the employer was just having a bad day, it happens to everyone, I’ll just give him a call again tomorrow and if he says no I’ll just try somewhere else, it can’t be me, I’m just perfect just the way I am”.
2 – Self pity – I would think: “Actually it is me, it’s all my fault, why didn’t I didn’t pay attention in high school, why I didn’t dress better, they only asked you for a valid working visa, university degree, transcripts, cover letter, police background check, letter of recommendation, doctor’s health certificate, alien registration card, insurance card, tax payer card, drivers license, etc, and you couldn’t provide it, you are worthless, useless Bruno, it’s all your fault.
3 – Appreciation – I would think: “F**k this s**t, I’m European, I don’t need this s**t from anyone. I don’t need that job, and I don’t even need to be here anyway. The only reason why I’m here, is because I knew it would be a challenge, this is what I wanted, and actually I’m just a spoiled brat who had such an easy life in Europe that he decided to get out there to live it rough for a while, so he can appreciate what he had back home and actually I’m much better off unemployed, I can sleep late tonight, meet my friends and go cycling along the river tomorrow, that’s what life’s about”
4 – Objectivity – I would think (and I would know) that actually… if I was my employer I would probably be making the same decisions as he, because if he hires someone who’s not legally allowed to work here, he could face steep fines, closure of his business and maybe even jail time. So, of course, he doesn’t want to take the risk, no one would. He’s actually a pawn just like me, standing in the frontline, defending someone else’s interest, fighting someone else’s war.
I knew my employer quite well actually, he was far from being the ruthless corporate rich bastard we always associate our bosses with, he was a normal guy, just like me, he also had to feed his children, pay rent, deal with a million people complaining about everything, he also had problems, fears, and insecurities and he was just trying to make a living and get by in life as safely as possible. Same as me, same as everyone else.
And he was actually quite a smart guy, he had been in Japan for 10 years and seemed to understand the system quite well, and he explained to me that the Japanese system, same as most systems it’s actually a loop: to find a job you need to have a working visa, to have a working visa you need to first get a job, which of course you can’t get because you don’t have a working visa.
But I’m sure it’s the same in your country, most jobs ask you to have work experience, which of course you can’t get because they won’t give you a job because you don’t have work experience.
I knew it wasn’t this particular employer who didn’t want me to get a job, it was the government.
But the government, is chosen by the people, right? Japan is still a democratic country, right? Wrong.
Try this, go out on the street and ask random passersby for the solution to a technical problem, they will now know it of course, that’s how democracy works, ask 100 million people with not technical knowledge whatsoever for the answer to a technical problem and they will either don’t know it, don’t care about it or get deceived into following someone who tells them he has the answer (so they don’t need to look for it themselves).
This is especially true in Japan, where most people have conveniently decided to either shut down their brains and just follow the herd or plugging it into a computer and living in an alternate universe. Am I generalizing? Probably, but I think I’m allowed to generalize about a country I studied for a few years, worked and lived, I bothered to learn the language and kind of understand the culture. It is still generalizing, but if there was going to be a revolution in every country, I can be quite sure that Japan would be the last one. Because in Japan complaining is not an option. You just look down and do as you’re told.
Every loop has a loophole though. Good people disobey bad laws and the younger generations are growing more and more aware of the problems we are facing. Some of them are even aware of the solutions.
I met some of them, and it was quite a refreshing feeling, like a breeze of fresh air.
If you meet 100 people and they have all the same idea, but then someone comes with a totally new idea which is completely opposite, it can be like a ray of sunlight, in an otherwise extremely cloudy day.
These people proved me that there’s still hope for Japan, there’s still hope for the human race, there’s still hope for me and for you, and I really wish that next time I go to Japan, I’m wont be needing a working visa anymore, nor a passport, nor money.
Just a smile, just a smile and a little flower.