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NEW PATHs...

New paths need to be taken and not just dreamed about.


I am always overwhelmed by how life knows the right moments to put you at a new fork in the road. Because that's precisely where I am again right now. Life is asking: what do you want? Who are you? Where do you want to be, and how do you want to live? Are you happy? Or do you feel safe?

 

September ended with three beautiful weeks to rest and be with me. No school, many days at the tourist information, a trip to Nagano with my family, and a day on the east coast of Chiba. Especially the last two events showed me again how much I miss nature when I live here in Tokyo.



The trip to Nagano and the day at the seaside on the other side of the peninsula of Chiba have strongly influenced my focus on the events in my existence here in Japan. I began to look at the question of what was causing me to be so dissatisfied. What is causing my body to be "fed up."


When school started again last week, life showed me the answer to all those questions by allowing me to apply for a Ryokan job.


Some of you may remember that this was the actual plan with which I came to Japan. However, humans tend to let our goals slide when things get too comfortable, preferring security to growth. I had made a plan for myself, and, of course, I wanted to follow it. That plan included working in tourist information until next August, spending a month in Hokkaido with a friend, and looking for a Ryokan after that. However, life feels that right now is the right moment for a change. Right now, the circumstances are favorable to move on and leave the comfort zone. And I am answering this call.


Today, I had my first interview with the employment agency through which my school received the job offer. The interview went amazingly well, and I was given many helpful tips for interviews in the future.


Unfortunately, I have yet to hear from the Ryokan again, but I used this event's momentum to look around for other job offers. First, I found a site specializing in placing hotel jobs. There I started to look around and apply for jobs at the beginning of October. Out of 15 applications sent out, I received invitations for interviews from 5 Ryokans. Four of them online and one in Kanagawa, a neighboring prefecture of Tokyo, on-site.


The interviews were all in Japanese, and I am still very proud of myself for handling it! During the conversations, the question of how long I plan to work in Japan kept coming up. This got me thinking too, and I answered the question vaguely, in most cases with "As long as possible."


The first interview I had was with a renowned Ryokan in Matsuyama on the island of Shikoku. A wonderful small town, which has an extraordinary charm with its old charm. However, after the interview, I was turned down because my Japanese needed to seem better for the hotel's requirements.

The second interview took me to Kanagawa. More precisely, to a small town called Yugawara. An onsen town, which is very popular for its hot springs, especially among the Japanese. The drive there took two hours from Tokyo and set my much too-fast running clocks back a few hours.

Arriving at the small train station, a light sea breeze and the washed-out smell of mineral springs greeted me. It was quiet, and nothing could be heard except for the announcement on the platform and a few scattered voices.

Mr. Nishioka picked me up, and we drove together to the Ryokan. On the way through the enchanted alleys of the town, he told me a bit about himself, the city of Yugawara, and the hotel for which I had applied.

The roads got steeper and steeper, the mountains greener and greener, and then we drove down a small driveway at the end, of which a magical place awaited me.

Situated by a rushing stream, a light brown house with a gently winding path winding its way to it. Surrounded by ancient trees, thin bamboo, and the smell of cedar.

I had arrived in heaven. Or rather, on the white clouds. Because that's the name of the Ryokan. 白雲荘 Hakuunsou. It consists of the kanji for white, cloud, and villa.



Diving under the creamy white curtain, two wooden sliding doors opened before my eyes, and I was greeted by a smell that felt like home. To this day, I can't describe or name why. The interview itself was unexpectedly relaxed. It was almost more of an introduction to the work at the Ryokan itself rather than just me being asked questions as an applicant. Mr. Nishioka told me about the philosophy, and the work procedures showed me the premises and introduced me to the current staff.

 

At the end of my three-hour stay, he told me whether to work at Hakunso was entirely up to me. However, he felt that I would fit in very well with the team and would now like to leave it up to me to decide whether I would like to attend the second interview with the management and thus qualify for the job. For him, people or future employees must want to go further on their initiative and thus, of course, commit themselves holistically to the hotel.

 

The next day, I wrote him my mail with my acceptance and my proposed dates for the interview with the management. Thank you for sticking around and reading until here. It means a lot to me. I could give you a little insight into the developments here in Japan, and of course, I will keep you updated. The next post will be about my graduation, the visa dilemma, and my preparation for a great contest!



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