Interviewed by Hisa
Written by Isao Tokuhashi
Mail to: email@example.com
Fu Chen (China)
Marketing Manager of the Advertising agency
(He’s been in Japan since September ’99)
This is the first interview in 2008 and the first interview with Chinese national since we started this website.
Fu Chen is from Shanghai and he can speak Japanese really, really well. If he didn’t say he was Chinese, you would think he might be Japanese. He talks in a gentle tone. He made a favorable impression on us.
He is very polite. He is like the way Japanese people used to be. We, especially young Japanese, have to learn that, we thought.
*Interview at Cocktail-Do Coffee (Kokubunji, Tokyo)
*Edited by Daniel Penso
I avoid receiving phone calls.
Let me talk about Chinese products-bashing.
To be honest, I don’t want to buy made-in-China products. So I choose Japanese products, especially clothes. However, I’m concerned that Chinese products-bashing could grow to Chinese-bashing.
I play internet games with online friends. Most of them are Japanese and I sometimes suggest thy use the PC which I’m using. But they hesitate to use it because its customer support center has Chinese staff members.
That’s why I don’t want to take phone calls in my workplace. I want to avoid receiving phone calls so I don’t have to tell my name to customers.
I think my company would be delivered a damaging blow because of me, a Chinese staff. I can’t complain under the present set of circumstances.
Co-workers treat me like a Japanese. But if I meet someone for the first time, there could be a misunderstanding and I want to avoid eliciting misunderstandings. If I’m naturalized in Japan and I give myself a Japanese name, I will be able to receive phone calls openly and squarely. That’s also the reason why I want to be naturalized in Japan.
High school special curriculum in China.
I thought IT, Information technology, was much more advanced here than in China. That’s why I got interested in Japan.
When I was young, I planned to enter a Japan-China joint venture corporation in China and actually I took training at the company called “Shanghai No.1 Yaohan Co, Ltd.” It was a joint-venture corporaiton of Japanese department store “Yaohan” and Chinese “Shanghai No.1 Department Store“.
Employee training for working at Shanghai No.1 Yaohan was a part of high school curriculum. Trainers came to my high school from Hong Kong branch office of Yaohan and they taught us many things, such as Japanese courtesy and honorifics. That training was very useful for me.
My high school was a commercial high school which was like a facility of human resource cultivation for Yaohan. It asked several commercial school in Shanghai to have training programs and they developed human resources for it.
We learned management, business manner, English and mathematics in the first and second years. In ’94 or ’95, when Shanghai No.1 Yaohan opened, I started working there as an opening staff member. It was a hands-on training job.
What I learned about at a department store.
There are big differences between Japanese stores and Chinese stores. Atomosphere and customer service of joint venture department stores are much better than Chinese stores. Yaohan stated that lanes in stores should be three meters wide. That is enough space to feel comfortable. We cannot feel as comfortable at other department stores in China. I learned that department stores should offer a comfortable atmosphere to shoppers.
Made-in-Japan products which we sold at Yaohan were really good in design and quality. They were much better than products made in other countries.
So I wanted to work in Japan. I came here after learning Japanese and expertise of IT.
It’s too hot, like a sauna.
My first impression of Tokyo was that it was a “clean city”. People were kind to me. I thought I needed to emulate many things here. I think Tokyo is a very livable city.
What I don’t like in Tokyo is that people tend to follow manuals. Even if there should be a much better way, they keep following manuals.
Everyday I take train to go to work. I remember it was the winter time. It was too hot because of the air heating. But people didn’t open any window even though they were sweating. It was like a sauna. If I was near the window, I definitely opened it. So I wondered why they didn’t open it enen if they wear heavy clothing and sweat.
I guess there is something wrong with a conductor’s manual. Even if the inside of a compartment is too hot, conductors always set temperature in accordance with their manual.
I’ll build a home here.
I want to stay here for a long time. Ideally, I will find a Japanese wife, build a home with her here and work here. So I will have to choose either permanent residence or naturalization.
Of course I’m proud of my Chinese identity. However I know a case example that products decline in reputation because a manufacturer which produced them had Chinese staff members. I am working in the IT field so I can’t complain. However it accounts about 5% for of all your reasons of naturalization.
What is Tokyo to you?
The dream city.
I want to realize my existence value in my company and make a contribution to it in this city.