NIKITA – Work in Tokyo Japan – from Spain

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Meet Nikita, a Spanish freelance translator and Master’s student in Public Policy at Tokyo University. A musical performer with Tokyo International Players, Nikita loves Tokyo’s vibrant blend of tradition and modernity. Passionate about Japan since childhood, Nikita enjoys its safety, convenience, and thriving café culture while navigating language challenges.

Interview – Work in Japan

WHERE ARE YOU FROM?

Spain

WHAT DO YOU DO IN JAPAN?

I am a freelance translator, so I can work from wherever I want in the world as long as I have an Internet connection! While working, I am studying for a Master’s Degree in Public Policy at Tokyo University and I am also a musical performer, member of Tokyo International Players.

WHY ARE YOU INTERESTED IN JAPAN?

I’ve been interested in Japan since I was a child! Just like many other gaijins, it all started through anime (Digimon in my case), but soon it led me to discover other many things that attracted me from Japan, specially the music (talking electronica and old court music here!), the relation of the Japanese people with Nature and the seasons, the mix between old and new, the passion for trains, the convenience…

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO STAY IN THIS CITY?

I chose Tokyo as a starting point to discover the rest of the country… and I stayed because it has everything you could wish for. Thrilling urban feeling mixed with quaint silent green spaces. Skyscrapers and cozy obaachan little neighbourhoods. Best of edgy and classical music. A transport network to take you everywhere with a snap of a finger. It’s the first city I’ve lived in in many years which has not led me to feel “ok this is nice but I wish I was somewhere else”.

WHERE IS YOUR LOCAL RECOMMENDATION IN THIS CITY?

I love café culture so I have a route of my favourite cafés all around town (1-3-5 in Koenji, After All in Nishi-Shinjuku, Cha-Chat in Zoshigaya, or my most recent discovery, Coffee Stain in Honkomagome). For a calm stroll amidst greenery that makes you forget you’re in the middle of one of the biggest cities on Earth, I can’t recommend enough Shakujiikouen in Nerima, Todoroki Valley in Setagaya or the tiny Mejiro Garden).

WHAT DO YOU ENJOY THE MOST WHILE STAYING ABROAD?

Safety! There’s no place in the world I’ve felt any safer than in Tokyo, at any time, in any neighborhood. Even though Japan might not be the most LGBT-friendly country in the world, I have never felt safer when going hand in hand with my partner on the street, for example. Far safer than more progressive countries on paper.

I also love how this country caters for convenience. The konbinis, the public transport… Most things are designed to make your life easier.

WHAT IS THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE BEING IN JAPAN?

Taking the leap from speaking gaijin-Japanese to speaking real Japanese. Although I have passed N2, I still struggle so much to “think in Japanese”, to convert thoughts into words effectively without sounding like a babbling baboon.

WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN JAPAN AND YOUR COUNTRY?

What comes to my mind immediately is the outdoor-life. In Spain, most of social life takes places outdoors, in terraces, until late at night. This is probably what I miss the most about my birth country. Social life is more constrained in Japan. There’s no culture of terraces, of staying out late just going from bar to bar, and of course people are less spontaneous when it comes to hanging out. Usually you arrange to go to a place weeks in advance and that’s it.

DID YOU EXPERIENCE ANY CHANGE IN YOUR LIFE AND FUTURE PROSPECTS?

I came to Japan to explore with a Working Holiday visa. Four years later, and having gone through a pandemic that kept me away from Japan for 2 years, I’m back, at Graduate School, doing musicals and here to stay. Quite a change in prospects if you ask me.

WHAT IS YOUR DREAM?

To wake up every day in a luxurious high-rise condo overlooking Tokyo Bay in Minato-ku and maybe to achieve success as a performer here in Japan! It’d be a dream to share a stage (or at least a brief chat) with legendary Akihiro Miwa-sama!

MESSAGE TO OUR FRIENDS WHO WILL GO TO JAPAN.

Just do it. No fear. Yes the language barrier can be daunting and you might get a mild anxiety attack looking at the metro network map, but just kick those fears away and take the leap. You’ll figure things out and it’ll be worth it.

HOW DO YOU LEARN JAPANESE?

Been learning (on and off and in a less consistent fashion than I would have liked to) Japanese since I was 13. I prefer to attend presential lessons than self-learning since I can be quite messy so a little discipline helps me out. Little things like setting your phone in Japanese might be devilishly helpful (and confusing, but helpful too).



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