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Meet Our Talent

Colin Hilchey

Computer/EE Technology Specialist

“I have met some people whose habitual sulking could be mistaken as a reflection on the work as a whole, but there are enough counter-examples to prove that the work here can be a gateway to a glorious stay here in Japan.”

How were your first few weeks in Japan?

The first few weeks in Japan were amazing. From the time I arrived at the airport, coworkers and new friends were extremely accommodating and helpful. Within the first few weeks I had tasted the glory of Osaka nightlife and gone camping at a beach festival on the Japan Sea.

How did you cope with the stresses of working and living in Japan?

The stresses of living and working here were always minor in comparison to the sense of adventure that has accompanied the majority of weekends here. Any stress associated with the job has been more than compensated by the frequent beach trips, mountain climbing, karaoke bars, barbecues, and good old fashioned all-nighters downtown. All these activities are commonplace on the weekends, and weekends are never far away.

As for the stress living in a complicated maze of a city, I used to skateboard or bike around the downtown streets with a compass until I no longer feared the endless neon lights and alleys which at first all looked the same.

What has been your fondest experience in Japan?

Spear-fishing and rock-climbing on the same day at the beautiful Japan Sea was an unforgettable experience, as was riding a grocery-bike through the mountainous terrains of Shikoku island. Most of my fondest experiences have been getting out of the city and seeing some new aspect of Japan's diverse terrain.

However, there have been plenty of great experiences in the city as well. Watching tuna and blowfish be auctioned off at a local fish market at 0330h was eye-opening. The auction and the subsequent perusing through mounds of sea creatures gave a glimpse at a culture that remains almost entirely invisible beneath the thriving restaurant industry in town.

When I am not at work, I am ...

Playing soccer or ultimate frisbee on local sports teams; climbing mountains with scooters, bikes, feet, and friends; coming down mountains on snowboards; practicing piano; and making many other adventures with friends and nakama in Japan, the Seas, and beyond.

What did you like most about living in Osaka?

The great food, thriving night life, and friendly people all give the city a world-class vibe. At the same time, getting out of the city to go to the beach, the mountains, or a different prefecture is as easy as hopping on a train after sleeping in late on a Saturday. Osaka has an abundance of activities for almost everyone to enjoy.

What is the most important thing that working here has taught you about yourself?

We are our own most powerful allies in maintaining a positive attitude towards the job. Some birds sing happily and others sing a darker tune, but to a large extent we can choose which birds we pay attention to. It has become clear to me that job-related stress and anxiety can be largely avoided by maintaining a humble workplace attitude and a sense of humor about workplace obscurities.

What sort of work did you get and was it challenging?

The work began as relatively easy proofreading, but the difficulty and responsibility ramped up quickly as I learned more and gained more trust from senior staff members. Before too long I was proposing solutions to clients for difficult cases, and eventually assisting clients with a wide array of unique cases and problems. The content and expected deadlines for the work have been challenging, but guidance and oversight from senior staff members has made sure that the workload is never out of control.

What did you like most about your work?

There is a great deal of creativity and delicacy required when interacting with clients, and there are always more nuances to learn. The work is challenging and interesting, and every day requires new problem-solving. I also continue to learn about cutting-edge new technology every day.

What advice would you give to incoming recruits?

When life gives you a typhoon, have a typhoon barbecue. Avoid making many expectations about the country and the work environment, and rather be prepared to accept what you find and make the best of it. Also, when you first arrive, try to surround yourself with and learn from people who have found positive ways to deal with the work and life here. I have met some people whose habitual sulking could be mistaken as a reflection on the work as a whole, but there are enough counter-examples to prove that the work here can be a gateway to a glorious stay here in Japan.

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