Moving to Japan


So, it’s been a long time since I talked about what’s going on in my life. I moved to Tokyo in September. I came here in the third week of September and started working at Mercari from the 1st week of October.

Mercari is a C2C marketplace (mainly for second hand goods) in Japan. There’s a Mercari product in the US and UK as well. I got the job in IIT Kharagpur’s placements in December 2017. Yes, I have been fairly silent on this blog and everywhere else about the job; primarily because there were a lot of things that needed to all go well for me to actually start working here. Getting the visa was one of the main components of that.

In the end, things did turn out well! The visa part of the process actually ended up being the least stressful! It’s rather incredible when professionals are planning your trip to a country, compared to when you have to do all the planning yourself! (In fact, at the Indian immigration counter, I was asked just one question: “What is the purpose of your visit?”!)

Now, it’s been three weeks since I joined Mercari. I have finally been assigned to a team. I don’t have an assignment just yet; I need to be on-boarded onto the team I am on before I get that. The combination of infrastructure and third party services that Mercari uses is mind-bloggingly HUGE! My closest experience to this was at Elanic where we had a single Digital Ocean server with a docker container for the API and MongoDB and some other containers. We had a dev environment that could pretty much be setup on your computer after building a few docker images. So, this is pretty overwhelming right now.

I will probably get more used to it as I run into the potholes that people generally run into when they are being on-boarded into a new team. I am also looking forward to working on something that is being used by 100s of thousands of people! That’s also something I haven’t done before. The gist: A lot of firsts here!

Apart from work, just the experience of living in Japan has been great! It’s a lot of things, but if I was forced to condense all of that into a single word, it would be: CONVENIENT. Stores and restaurants are open 24 hours; The subway runs late; You can get anywhere in Tokyo after a short train ride; The food has very little in the way of things that are bad for your health: oil, spices. Of course, the last thing about food can be a con for people who like oily, spicy food!

A huge reason for moving here, for me, was to experience living in a foreign country! Food forms a big part of that and I am only getting started on trying Japanese food. I have tried Sushi, Ramen, Soba and Teishoku meals in a variety of places with a variety of items in them till now. I definitely want to get used to Japanese food! I love everything I have tried till now, that’s certainly VERY encouraging!

As I continue to settle in here, I will keep making blog posts about the things I used to write about before. There might be more content that’s Japan-related too though, I don’t think I can quite help that!