Eyes, JAPAN Blog > Eyes, JAPAN Employee Interview [Vol. 7]

Eyes, JAPAN Employee Interview [Vol. 7]

Angelita

The special series to put a spotlight on our international staff, “Eyes, JAPAN employee interview” has started! Our 7th interviewee is Edward from the United States.

He has been working in Eyes, JAPAN since October 2018 as a back-end engineer.

We wanted to get to know about his experience of living in Aizu, and working in Eyes, JAPAN!

(Interviewer: Angie)

Enjoys Natural Scenery and Dance Dance Revolution!

What is your favorite thing about your home country or home town?

Edward: I like that much of the state of Oregon is covered in natural scenery, like Japan. Also, Portland’s public transit system is among the best in the country.

Why did you come to Japan?

Edward: Like many, I was first attracted to Japan because of its anime, video games, and music. But once I found out about the University of Aizu and its world-renowned computer science program, that’s where I decided I wanted to continue my computer science studies.

What do you think about life in Aizu?

Edward: As a relatively quiet city, I do enjoy cycling around, as it is the fastest mode of transportation that isn’t car-based. Although, I do miss the speed, efficiency, and accessibility that a subway system like Tokyo’s can provide.

What is your hobby and how do you usually spend your free time?

Edward: While I used to watch anime and play a lot of video games, nowadays, I mainly just watch and play my favorite sports, running and golf in particular. Also, poker as well as Dance Dance Revolution, if you can even call them sports. *laughs*

What is your academic background and what kind or research are you doing now?

Edward: At the University of Aizu, I specialize in the evolutionary computing side of AI (rather than machine learning), and explore its potential applications in music and audio. Two years ago, for my Master’s degree, I created an experimental reverb plugin that is intended for use in electronic music production. I can’t share much on what I’m working on for my PhD research at the moment, but what I can say is that I am aiming to expand on that project in a big way.

Do you have any things or skills that you are proud of?

Edward: I *would* say I am in the top 1 percent of all DDR players in the world, but I don’t know if anyone cares about the game anymore. *laughs*

Diversity is One of the Best Things Eyes, JAPAN has to Offer!

How did you know about Eyes, JAPAN and why did you decide to join Eyes, JAPAN?

Edward: Soon after I entered the University of Aizu, my research advisor, Prof. Villegas, recommended that I join Eyes, JAPAN to earn some extra money during my studies. I decided to join because I think the extra work experience will be beneficial for my long-term career growth, and it would certainly look great on my resume too. Also, an English-friendly workplace helped ease the transition into working in Japan as well.

What is your role and what kind of projects have you been working on in Eyes, JAPAN, and which one is the most memorable?

Edward: Officially, I am a back-end engineer, but I have been involved in many projects where I have worked on front-end development or data analysis or visualization too. As for the most memorable project, I can’t really name one; all of the projects I’ve worked on have been interesting and satisfied my curiosity in their own way.

What customs in Eyes, JAPAN that you like the most?

Edward: I do love the weekly meetings for the wealth of knowledge and curiosity given by everyone else’s presentations, although I dread the days when I have to quell my public speaking fears and give a presentation myself. *laughs*

What do you think about your colleagues in Eyes, JAPAN?

Edward: I think the diversity of the international staff across multiple different spectra is one of the best things Eyes, JAPAN has to offer!

What about the working environment in Eyes, JAPAN?

Edward: I like how relatively laid-back it is, as I can do my work or collaborate with others without too many distractions or worrying too much about typical Japanese work customs.

What environment do you usually work in? (Example: OS, editor, programming language)

Edward: As I have gained new skills and experiences over the years, my work environment has gradually changed too. Right now, I have an Arch Linux setup with a relatively new text editor called Helix that can handle all of my current programming needs (C, Python, JavaScript, etc.). Fun fact: I have actually never touched VS Code once in my life (and I don’t plan on converting anytime soon either).

Weighing the Pros and Cons is Important!

Have you experienced any culture shock while working in Japan?

Edward: For the first few months after I joined Eyes, JAPAN, I struggled to adapt to the new work environment as well as Japanese work culture as a whole. But eventually, I found my own place in the company and it has been smooth sailing ever since.

Are there any cons of working at a Japanese company?

Edward: The biggest pros for me are the ability to meet and communicate with new people who I wouldn’t have been able to meet otherwise, as well as the feeling of independence when living in a new country. My biggest con, though, is that, when compared to the US, salaries are generally around 2 to 3 times lower in Japan, at least with the state of the economy as it is right now.

How do you balance your working and private time?

Edward: Honestly, this is something that I’m still struggling to deal with myself. *laughs* Luckily, Eyes, JAPAN’s flexible working hours allow me to effectively switch between and prioritize one or the other as needed.

Any advice for people who wants to work in Japan?

Edward: Do your thorough research and weigh the pros and cons before deciding to make the move, because looking back, even though I don’t regret my decision, I feel like I haven’t done nearly enough research before I made mine.

What motivates you to keep working or studying, and what is your dream?

Edward: What motivates me is the light at the end of the tunnel, metaphorically speaking. In my case, it’s the promise of a fulfilling full-time job in software development after I graduate. And my dream is to earn a decent salary for myself while leaving a positive impact on the world with the work I have done or will do in the future.

Thank you!


If you are interested in Eyes, JAPAN and would like to hear other stories, please do not hesitate to contact us at the following contact form.
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