Interviewed by Isao Tokuhashi
Edited by Jennifer A. Hoff
Mail to: email@example.com
We’ve started with a new series of interviews that highlights foreign staff working at Japanese companies in 2017 to learn about their unique perspectives on Japan and its corporate culture. Our second interview was conducted with one Japanese startup company called Table Cross.
The company was founded in 2014. Kaoru Joho, founder and CEO of Table Cross, was just a 21-year old college girl when she released the app (also named Table Cross), which would enable people to give school meals to children in developing countries by booking seats at restaurants, bars, izakayas, etc.
The app soon became popular and they needed to have more IT engineers to meet users’ demands. But Joho felt that there were few skilled IT engineers in Japan. So she looked abroad in order to find great talent.
We’ll introduce you to two men from Jamaica and China respectively, who were able to do just what the changemaker wanted.
*Click here and read how the one and only restaurant-reservation app was created.
Rademe Budhai, iOS Engineer from Jamaica
I’ve been working here as an Engineer for about half a year. When I heard about the concept and idea of the app, I just thought that it was really cool; because I could give something to children in need just by going out to eat. I always go to restaurants and I pay for meals because I usually don’t cook. I wish it were my own idea (lol).
I came to Japan as an Assistant Language Teacher (ALT) two years ago. One of my friends who had been here as an English teacher for four years suggested I come here. I was familiar with Japanese cars and pop culture such as Dragon Ball, Pokémon, PlayStation and Sony video games, but still, I was not interested in coming to Japan at the time. However another one of my friends told me, “I’ve heard that teaching English in Japan is really good so we should check it out.” I was still not interested it at all. Eventually they convinced me and I said, “OK, I’ll try it.” My country is quite small and I was mostly bored. Also I learned that the IT and Engineering job market in Japan was much bigger than Jamaica’s. Actually I thought of going to the US, but I chose Japan because I heard about how the people in Japan were very nice and polite. Plus Japan is super-safe. I hoped to join a Japanese company in Japan after learning the language.
I got introduced to this company through a recruiting company last October. I was teaching English in Tokyo for some years, but originally my background is in IT. I majored in computer science in university, took an internship at my uncle’s company and worked for both the Jamaican government and my uncle’s company as a systems analyst.
I want more people to know about us and to support our service. I want the app to be so good that everybody always uses it. And I want every restaurant in Japan to be a part of it. In order to realize that, I will do everything that I can with the app and continue to improve it to fit the latest iOS technologies.
Question: What are your views on giving to charities?
Liu Jun, Software Engineer from China
I have been interested in charities that offered aid towards those suffering from poverty all over the world and have been making contributions to society ever since a long time ago. We actually go visit the children that we support. We get ingredients at local markets, cook meals with kids and enjoy food with them. I’d like to participate in that.
Originally I was involved in software development for Japanese companies as an IT engineer for about 6 to 7 years in Shanghai, China. At that time I was not able to communicate well with our Japanese clients – many of them were financial-related companies – and so I wanted to improve my Japanese skills by working in Japan. Then, I happened to find a job opening at a Japanese company, so I applied for it and fortunately passed its entrance exam.
I came to Japan about 3 years ago and joined an IT company in Tokyo. While working there, I was dispatched to 2 or 3 client companies and engaged in software development for them. However, we were forced to work under tight security, many of the employees of our client companies were working late, and it was not easy for us to decide things by ourselves because we had to follow their directions. In the projects conducted with multiple companies, we had to figure out who introduced it when we discovered a bug, even if any one of us would have been able to fix it immediately. That’s why I wanted to work at a company that developed its own services after.
So I started to look for a job through LinkedIn, the business-related SNS. Then a Japanese gentleman told me about Table Cross. They develop their own services, so they have to be able to make all of their decisions by themselves. They do not need to outsource to other companies. Above all, they make social contributions through their services. I got interested in the company and was interviewed by its CEO and other staff members. I could feel its generous-hearted atmosphere. And last October, I officially became an employee of Table Cross.
I would like the Table Cross App to be available in Chinese in the future. But what we should do right now is to enhance the functions of the Japanese version of the app. I always think about how the app can be made more convenient for users, how we can provide more benefits to users through the app as well as what kinds of benefits we should offer in order to go into partnership with more and more restaurants. Also we must provide benefits other than “Satisfaction from doing something good” to users.
I propose these ideas to my co-workers and discuss them on a daily basis. This was something I could NOT do when I was working as a subcontractor, so I’m really happy with that!
Question: What will you do for PEACE?
Table Cross online (Japanese)： tablecross.com
☆Download the Table Cross app! -> Apple Android
Table Cross on Facebook (Japanese): facebook.com/tablecross
Table Cross on Twitter (Japanese):@tablecrossvol