Why I work in Japan, in HACARUS. -The hint for people considering working in Japan-
Hi, Tomomi here. Today I would like to introduce our VP of Product, Marcel!
Marcel is from Germany, and Hacarus is the first company he worked at in Japan. Marcel has experience in engineering, product management, UX consulting in Hong Kong and Germany. He came to Kyoto in 2017.
I interviewed him to learn why he works in Japan and in Hacarus.
If you consider working in Japan, I think this blog may be interesting to you.
--- Thank you for your time today. Have you gotten used to life in Japan? And how long have you been in Japan?
I moved to Kyoto on June 2017. I've probably been to Japan more than 15 times before, since 1997. So, I was familiar with Japan in general- at least from the perspective of a tourist.
Yes, I would say that I got used to life in Japan by now. Although I have to say, that there are still so many things for me to learn, about the language and culture. But as for the day-to-day life, things are going quite smoothly now.
--- Wow, if I were you, I feel it would be a hard thing to do- learning 3 new things at the same time! Could you tell me about what brought you to Japan?
My wife is half-Japanese, and she has a Japanese passport. At the end of 2016, she found an opportunity to get a job as professor at a university in Kyoto, and we decided to try [living here]. We first thought it was unlikely, but then she got the job, and we were happy and also a little bit scared. At least I was, haha.
--- Even if you felt scared, it's understandable and natural to be! Haha! Did you want to live in Kyoto? Kyoto is a characteristic city in Japan. How is life in Kyoto?
Since a very long time we had the idea, that one day, we would like to live in Japan- at least for a few years. My wife's parents life in Yokohama since 1995, so we always had the possibility to visit Japan, but we wanted to experience the real everyday life as well. When we got the chance to live in Kyoto, we were double happy. We could live in Japan- and, of all the cities, it was Kyoto.
I've only been once to Kyoto before, and I knew the city is special. What I really like about Kyoto, is the presence of culture everywhere. It is a beautiful mix of culture and modern, with a lot of nature and a relaxed pace of life.
--- I think you've mentioned you had an experience working in Hong Kong and Germany. How is "working" in Japan compared to Hong Kong and Germany?
We moved from Germany to Hong Kong in 2010 and lived there until 2015. It was the first time for us to live in a country outside Germany - and it made us really curious to also try to live in other places and to learn more about other countries and their cultures.
With regards to working in different countries - how it feels I think it really depends much more on the company culture and team members than the country.
For most of my career I worked in international teams, with colleagues from all over the world - from India, China, the US and Canada, Europe. And I always really loved to hear and learn from all these various cultures.
Lunch with Hacarus members
--- I think that it was pretty tough for you to come to Japan and find a company to join. How did you search for companies? How do you find Hacarus?
Before moving to Japan, the first thing I searched for was a language school, because my Japanese language skills were extremely low. Back then I thought that after 6 months of school, I would probably be good enough to look for work - which I have to admit was very naive.
During the first half year, while attending language school every day, I went to various events and meet-up groups to better understand the local community.
--- It’s great you found that some meet-up groups. If I were to go outside of Japan, I suppose I wouldn't easily find local meet-ups.
It's a rather small community in Kansai, and some people were super helpful and introduced me to various startups and founders. I am very grateful for that.
And this is also how I came to know Hacarus - a woman working at Kyoto Makers Bootcamp, a VC company for hardware startups introduced me to Kenshin, the CEO of Hacarus. (Thank you again, Sabrina! :)
--- What kind of work do you do in Hacarus now? You enjoy? :)
My job title at Hacarus is VP of Product and I am responsible for standardizing and productization of the Hacarus' expertise and services.
There are several things I really enjoy about working at Hacarus. First of all - my colleagues are, without exception, really nice and helpful people and fun to work with.
When Hacarus first started in 2014, the main focus was about AI for healthcare. Although the target markets for our solutions became wider over time, the company still focuses a great deal on health and wellbeing of it's employees, something I really appreciate.
Morning meditation time
--- Happy to hear that! Why did you choose Hacarus? Is there the reason? I think there are many IT companies in Kyoto, did you feel any difference in Hacarus?
One important reason was certainly the ability to work in an international team and to speak English at work. My Japanese is still far from fluent, and I would likely not be very efficient in an Japanese only work environment.
But, almost as important, I got a really good impression of the company's ambitions during the interview process. I think that we are working on some really promising new technology - and the prospect of being part of innovation is something I find always exciting.
--- How would you describe the future of Hacarus? What is your ambition?
As I mentioned, I think Hacarus is working on some really interesting and promising AI technology innovations.
Through the networks of our investors and partner companies, we already see good potential in the markets for our solutions - so I am very optimistic that Hacarus will be very successful.
And Kenshin, our CEO, has founded several successful companies in the past, so I am really confident that he will steer the company into a good future.
Thank you so much! I would like to hear from you more things!!