'It's nice to work with Indian people'

'It's nice to work with Indian people'

Expat zone

'It's nice to work with Indian people'

When Akinori Urakawa and Noriko from Ikebukuro, Japan moved to Bengaluru more than two years back, they didn’t know that they would have such a colourful experience here. Akinori, who is the CEO of Yaskawa India Private Limited, says that the stay has been an exciting one.

“We had visited India in 1988 and had gone to the Northern part of the country. We went to Delhi, Kolkata, Uttar Pradesh and Varanasi then. This was for our honeymoon,” recollects Akinori. He says that after this, he had visited India at other times for business purposes, before moving here. “We saw Bengaluru only when we moved. What was surprising to me is that Bengaluru is not so known in Japan despite it being such a mega-city, both population and culture-wise.”

E-mails from the Bengaluru office gave Akinori, a peek into the culture before he moved in. “People would share details about their personal and work life, like anything from a cricket game to a party etc. So, I had a hint of what I could expect in the country,” he says. Working here is different from what Akinori is used to. “In Tokyo, there are metro rails and subways and I’ve never used a taxi there. People commute to work either by walking or by metro rail. But here it is very different story,” he says.

Work culture also varies compared to what is seen in Japan, says Akinori. “People are more disciplined in Japan. But it's nice to work with Indian people, as they are more flexible.” He says that in Japan, an employee would not be able to interact with their senior employees often but here, that isn’t an issue. “I have people walk into my office a lot. The company’s policy is ‘the door is always open’. And I like it.”

Akinori says that the Japanese are shy people. “In comparison, ego can be an issue here. For example, at the end of the year, the staff has to do a self-evaluation. This is done in the Japanese office also. The Japanese would rate themselves around 80 to 90 per cent according to their performance but in India, people rate their performance to a 120 per cent,” says Akinori, with a smile. About the City, Akinori says that driving here can be a tricky affair. “The traffic is crazy. The distance between the cars is too close and there is bumper-to-bumper traffic, which can be really frustrating,” he says.

“People here are wonderful. They love to help people,” say the couple. Akinori adds that in Japan, work is kept away from personal space. “Here, my wife attends our office events. The relations are much closer here,” says Akinori. Having stayed in Europe, Akinori says that it is amazing to see how there is such harmony in the country, despite its disparity. “Most countries in the Europe have fights going on,” he says. He has also observed that people are more religious here.

People in the North of India are different compared to the people in the South, he points out. “I have seen that people in the North have a stronger ego,” he says.

Of the other things the couple likes, Noriko loves the spices available here. As she proudly showcases her spice collection, Noriko says, “I often attend different cooking sessions here. And women from different countries attend them, which is unique. There is also a wide range of cuisines here.” The couple was happy to find Japanese cuisine available at some places here. “The range of fish is limited here though,” Akinori says.

When the couple has some time for themselves, they go to UB City. “The place looks similar to some parts of Tokyo,” says Akinori. He also plays golf sometimes. “The rules of cricket are too confusing for me,” he says. The couple also loves going to Cubbon Park for a walk or run. “Lalbagh is also a beautiful place,” says Akinori.

Karin, the couple’s daughter who studies in Tokyo, visits them once in a while. She says that when her friends hear that she is visiting India, they always warn her to be safe. “There is a lot of stereotyping about India that I know isn’t true, because I have visited a few times now. The weather is lovely here. And the City is more relaxing than Tokyo,” she wraps up.

Get a round-up of the day's top stories in your inbox

Check out all newsletters

Get a round-up of the day's top stories in your inbox