Wong Kar-Wai's movie changed the destiny of a Japanese dreamer

Mayumi Fujimoto (2014 Hong Kong)

Q: Where do you come from?
A: I come from Hokkaido, Japan.

Q: When did you go on your working holiday?
A: I came to Hong Kong in April 2014 and started my working holiday. At first, I really enjoyed visiting Hong Kong so I had been to Hong Kong to travel for 7 times before working holiday. Although my work-life was stable and satisfied in Tokyo, it never stopped me from dreaming to live in Hong Kong one day. As life is only once, regret is forever. I rather tried new living experience in Hong Kong, instead of staying in Japan with regret. Therefore, I decided to challenge working holiday in spite of numerous difficulties and uncertainty when living in Hong Kong.

Q: Where did you go for your working holiday and why?
A: I went to Hong Kong for working holiday. I have become interested in Hong Kong since I watched Wong Kar-Wai (王家衛)'s movie ("In the Mood for Love (花樣年華)") when I was a university student. After watching that movie, I was fascinated and attracted by the sceneries of Hong Kong, which made me wanted to live in Hong Kong someday. Moreover, Japan is a conservative monolingual country while Hong Kong is a democratic cosmopolitan city, where people can speak 3 languages (Cantonese, English and Mandarin). So, I chose Hong Kong as the destination of my working holiday as I believed this city would bring me brand new life experience and liberate my thoughts.

Q: What kinds of jobs did you do, and what kinds of courses did you take during your working holiday?
A: I worked at a Japanese free-paper media company, which provides Hong Kong news for Japanese expatriates. I have gained much experience from different job content including advertising sales, personal interview and editorial work. I found this job prior to my arrival to Hong Kong. After deciding to do working holiday, I happened to find this company while surfing the Net. At that time there was no recruitment in particular, but I was interested in this media company so I contacted them via email. Shortly, I got an interview opportunity, and succeeded in getting the job.

Q: Tell us one of your most unforgettable memories in your working holiday.
A: One of the most unforgettable memories is living in the subdivided flat (Tong-Fong 劏房) of less than 100 square feet. I think subdivided flat is well-known in Hong Kong culture. The price and rent of apartments are incredibly high due to shortage of supply of land and large residential demand. I could not afford expensive rent of one whole apartment so I had to rent subdivided flat for living. For my subdivided flat, I can tell at a glance how small it is! The living environment and hygienic control was so bad that cockroaches wandering around the room. Finally, I became tough and overcame the fear of cockroaches.

Q: What is the greatest reward you have got from your working holiday?
A: The greatest reward for me is that I got to know many friends during working holiday. Through repetitive practice and daily conversation with local people, I became able to understand and communicate with Cantonese. Moreover, I was more willing to express my own opinion compared with living in Japan due to the open-mindedness of Hong Kong culture. I could just speak what I think.

Q: Can you give 3 tips for young people who wish to visit the working holiday destination of your choice?
Don't think too much, just do it
Save adequate money before starting working holiday
Get to know more information about the medical care of host economy. For example, in Hong Kong, the cost of dental service is very high, so treat it before starting your working holiday.

Q: Is there any extra thing you would like to tell us?
A: I continue living in Hong Kong right now after my working holiday by applying working visa with company sponsor. Frankly speaking, this working holiday really widened my horizon, and gave me valuable experience and different opportunities. Also, I feel that I enjoy my life better than before.
One of the main difficulties is that I hardly found any consultation agency assisting application of working holiday visa. Actually, it might discourage some of the people who want to come to Hong Kong for working holiday. Therefore, I would like to provide consultation service especially for Japanese people who want to apply Hong Kong working holiday visa in the future. I want to promote Hong Kong to more Japanese people and highly recommend them to come to try working holiday, which may change someone's life.

Note: The views and comments expressed in individual sharings are the authors' own and do not reflect the views of the Labour Department. Working holidaymakers are advised to research thoroughly and check up for updated and verified information before departure.