Interview to my South Korean friend, Kim Hadong

When I travel, I always meet wonderful people in the places I visit. They generously open themselves to share with me their stories and answer all my questions, attending to my curiosity and letting me know about their culture, allowing me to be part of it for at least a few days.

They are people like you and me, but they are also unique, like everyone 🙂 No matter where they are from, what country they were born in, where they live, what customs they have been taught, they all have a dream, a goal, a passion. And they have tried to make it a reality.

As my readers know, I strongly believe in sharing and in the magic it provides and spreads. I’d like to share the passions and dreams we all have, no matter what country or culture we are from, to inspire each other. We can all help one another in ways we don’t even think of or imagine.

I really don’t know if our existence or what we live is real or not, or what happens when we’re not here anymore. But as long as we’re in this journey called “life”, it’s an enriching thing to learn as much as possible, and share that experience to make the most of it while we exist 🙂

When I went to Japan in November 2016, I met Kim in Shinjuku, Tokyo, because he was the Manager of the Hanabi Hotel, which I had booked through Booking and where I stayed during all my time there. He was very helpful and friendly, and gave me tips for my solo trip and the places I should visit 🙂 He’s a friend I keep from this trip which has given me so many good memories and lessons. He told me he is from South Korea and has been living in Japan for many years, so I thought this was very interesting, since I’ve always admired people who travel and live abroad, for all the effort they make and all the strength and discipline they must have in order to face all the challenges this experience implies. I had many questions I wanted to ask, so I decided that an interview would be a nice excuse and a wonderful idea, so that I could also share all this with my readers 🙂 And he kindly accepted 🙂

If you’d like to travel and live abroad, this is an interview you cannot miss, as Kim generously tells you what he considers important for you to know when embarking on this kind of experience:

Alura: Hi, Kim! First off, I thank you for your time and energy. Well, the first question: tell me about yourself.

Kim: My name is Hadong Kim and I came here when I was 31 years old (in 2010). I have lived here already 7 years and now I am working at a Hotel in Japan.

A: Why did you move abroad?

K: Actually I didn’t expect to live here 8 years ago, but when I was 30 years old, I had a small problem in my life, so I took a rest and spent time looking for a support in my life. At that time, suddenly I knew that I was living without any wish or hope, so I decided to come to Japan. After careful thinking, I came here in 2010 and started to study Japanese. I think the biggest reason why I decided to come to Japan was connecting with the Japanese culture in high school years… When I was in high school, I was very interested in Japanese animation, music, manga, etc.. Maybe I already wanted to learn Japanese and live in Japan at that time. But after graduating from high school, the IMF occurred in Korea and I had to join army . After the military, I worked very hard so I forgot more and more about it as time went by.

A: What would you recommend to tourists in Japan? What do you like best about travelling

K: I would like to recommend Mount Fuji. Of course, climbing Mount Fuji is kind of difficult and there is a specific time for climbing: only from June to August. It’s not a common trip. However, if you go to the top of Mount Fuji, which is the highest mountain in Japan, loved by the Japanese people, then you will have a beautiful view of Japan which you will love!! When I was climbing, I was surround by the most beautiful scenery I have ever seen: I cannot forget that feeling. If you have the chance to go to Japan, then you should go to Mount Fuji. The experience is unforgettable.

A: What do you like best about Japan?

K: After living here I know that the Japanese are very kind to everybody! If you get lost, you can ask anybody!! They will show you how to get to your destination. Even if they are busy they will definitely help you!! Try it!!

If you live here, you will love it!!!

A: Was working in Japan your dream?

K: Working in a hotel in Japan is a good profession. But to be honest, it was not my dream. However, thinking now about this, I guess this job is helping me a lot. Especially I learned about Marketing, accounting, hotel business and persuasive methods to customers. In a couple of years, I hope that I open up my own guest house in Korea.

A: Was it what you had expected?

K: I am not sure. If I knew that I would be living here this long, then I would have studied more than now. But, I didn’t expect to live here so, when I came here first time, everything was survival, even going to supermarket! In addition, when I got here, my Japanese skill was terrible!

“I recommend watching their drama or movies.
In drama and movies alone you get their living culture.
But go and feel. It is the best way to live in a different culture!”

A: What are you planning to do now?

K: I am planning to go back to Korea in a couple of years. For the past 2 or 3 years, I feel much has changed when talking with Korean people. I think it is natural, but I feel it much more living here continuously… not only the communication aspect but also new cultural differences.

“When I came here first time, I couldn’t speak Japanese so everything was a problem, even buying food at a supermarket or a convenience store. I think that time was survival, not living!”

A: What’s your next dream/project?

K: My next project is to open up my own guest house in Korea, because I have experience in hotel operation and I can speak Japanese and also English! So I am studying online marketing now.

A: What’s your passion? What do you love doing?

K: I like watching lectures whenever I have time. Recently, I’ve got interested in The Fourth Industrial Revolution. Also, brain science is my favorite area. So, I try learning about everything through the internet and books.

A: What was the most difficult thing for you when moving to Japan?

K: When I came here first time, I couldn’t speak Japanese so everything was a problem, even buying food at a supermarket or a convenience store. I think that time was survival, not living!

A: What do you recommend the readers of my blog when going to live in a different culture?

K: I think that learning about the culture before is very important, especially if you cannot speak their language. I recommend watching their drama or movies. In drama and movies alone you get their living culture. But go and feel. It is the best way to live in a different culture!

I thank you again, Kim, in the name of my readers as well, for this interview and for sharing your experience with us. It is always enriching to learn about others’ projects and dreams, as well as inspiring 🙂

Thank you for your attention 🙂

 

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