Written by: Meidiana Khadijah Maramis

“Someday I Will Go to Japan”, The Quote That Changed My Life!

Ten years ago, I found a picture of a quote about dreams that said “Someday I will go to Japan” on social media.

I saved the picture on my phone and made it as wallpaper for a long time. I was just dreaming and I never thought that I would live in Japan for several years until now (this year is my sixth year in Japan), Alhamdulillah.

Grew With Japan’s Anime and Manga

I’m an Indonesian, was born and raised in Bekasi city, a city that is not that far from the capital, Jakarta. Since I was born in the ’90s where Japanese anime and manga were booming in Indonesia, I am quite familiar with the endlessly-famous Doraemon, Dragon Ball, Slam Dunk, Detective Conan, name it!

I am also very familiar with Mini 4WD-Tamiya that famous in the anime  “Bakusou Kyodai Let’s Go”, and also Japan’s spinning toys which are famous in the anime “Bayblade”.

In short, as a child, I knew Japan as a country that makes anime and manga.

Learning Japanese Work Culture

After graduating from high school, I soon worked in a Japanese company in Indonesia that allows me to learn about Japanese work culture, especially the terms 5S and horenso.

5S is an acronym for five Japanese words; seiri (sorting), seiton (setting-in-order), seiso (cleaning/shining), seiketsu (standardizing), and shitsuke (sustaining the discipline).

Meanwhile, horenso is an acronym for 3 Japanese words; houkoku (report), renraku (communicate), and soudan (consult).

At my workplace, all employees do an exercise that is common in Japan, called rajio taisou or radio calisthenics, a warm-up exercise performed to music and guidance from radio broadcasts.

Then The Chance For Japan Came

Experiencing working in a Japanese company motivates me to know more about Japan and its culture. Moreover, many of my coworkers have been transferred to Japan and it motivates me higher to be in Japan one day. I promised myself to have a picture of mine under sakura trees, surrounded by snow, and more!

Under the sakura trees

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At that time, it was just a wish, that pushes me to learn more about Japan. I continued my study at a college that offers night classes for employees, which allows me to study (bachelor’s of Japanese literature) and work at the same time.

In my fourth year of college, one of my lecturers offered a program called a “Japanese Caregiver Scholarship”. It is not a G to G (Government to Government) program, but directly a company from Japan looking for students from Indonesia.

The program offered to study Japanese at Nihongo Gakkou (Japanese Language School) and Senmon Gakkou (Vocational School) to learn about caregivers in Japan.

During the study process, school fees will be paid by the scholarship provider company. After graduation and starting to work, which is contracted for at least 3 to 5 years, the school fees will be deducted every month according to the agreed amount.

Graduated from Senmon Gakkou

*For your information, the scholarship system in Japan is not only the one in which scholarship providers pay your study fees and no need to pay them back but also scholarships in which a provider burns all the fees in advance and you will need to pay them back once you get a job.

Thanks to the help of Allah, my parents, and my family, I was able to pass the program that sent me to Japan after graduating from college.

How Does It Like Studying in Japan?

My first impression is, I got a lot of international classmates!

Yukata class

I met friends from various countries, such as China, Korea, Vietnam, Thailand, and others, that taught me a lot about cultures (and also languages!) from various countries which helps me have a broader perspective.

Japanese schools are very disciplined about time and attendance. There is a tour program every season that invites students to visit various new places within the country. Sensei (school teacher) in my school also really cares about the students.

The school allows me not only to gain knowledge related to school subjects but also a way to communicate with Japanese people and friends from various countries, about living in Japan, and more.

Now I Am Ready To Work!

Alhamdulillah, I officially became an employee at a corporate institution (nursing home) in 2021.

My workplace is focusing on rehabilitation. Most of the incoming patients are transferred from the hospital, undergo rehabilitation, then will return home. However, there are also cases where the patients could not be at their homes due to their conditions so they stay at the nursing home for a while.

In general, a caregiver’s job includes 3 things; helping patients with eating, bathing, and toileting. But in addition to these 3 things, a caregiver is also required to communicate a lot with patients who are mostly elderly, whose average age is above 70 years, and many of them have dementia and other health conditions.

Every day, there are exercises and games that are carried out with caregiver staff and patients after nap time, with the purpose to carry out daily activities as well as supporting patients to have quality time as much as possible. The concept is, patients will do everything that they can do by themselves as much as possible, and caregivers keep an eye on any small changes in the patient’s condition.

In my point of view, besides energy and knowledge, feelings and sensitivity are also very necessary in a caregiver job.

Caregiver, A Job that Taught Me Many Things About Life

Bringing festive vibes to the room is one of the important things we do every month. Three of my coworkers and I are in charge of monthly room decorations.

For example, during New Year 2023, we make a picture of a rabbit (in accordance with 2023 being the year of the rabbit), or we prepare an artificial bamboo tree for the Tanabata event in July, patients write their wishes and hang them on the tree.

Decoration for the New Year wishes

Decorating for setsubun (a festival held on the day before the beginning of spring according to the Japanese lunar calendar)

When I read the wishes they wrote, I was tearing up knowing that their wishes were just simple desires, such as wanting to eat good food every day, wanting to get home and see their families, or wanting their legs to heal quickly so they could walk again.

I feel that age, time, and health are very important. Realizing that every human being will definitely experience old age and death. It motivates me to use my youth as well as possible, not to waste time, and be grateful for everything Allah gives.

Being a caregiver, taught me how many things we have to be grateful for in this life, as well as trained me to be able to work together in a team, and be good at communicating. I believe wherever we are and whatever profession we live in, if our intention is to seek goodness, Allah will show us the goods.

For those of you who have dreams of going to Japan or whatever your dreams are, try and keep praying to Allah. Even if it takes 1 year, 2 years, 5 years, or 10 years like me. Don’t give up. because our duty as human beings is only to try and pray, the results leave it to Allah.

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