Discover Our 9 Must-Reads of 2021
As our last article of the year, we wanted to compile a special list for you.
Here’s the thing: These aren’t our most-accessed articles (although that makes for some interesting reading, too!🧐).
Rather, these are articles we’ve chosen because they do 1 of 3 things—or in some cases all 3 things at once:
They highlight an under-represented subject or topic 🔦
They provide much-needed expert dissection on a trend or theme 🗣
They are nerdy-fun while also being actually helpful 👓
Onwards. Here are the articles we shortlisted out of the 137 features we published in 2021.
I love looking at people’s bookshelves (@bcredibility, anyone?). If you enjoy this same furtive pastime, then this will be right up your alley. We asked the Business in Japan community for their recommendations on books that helped deepen their understanding of Japan. The result is this roundup of fiction, reference, culture, and history books that Japan’s foreign professionals have on their shelves.
There’s a clear before-and-after with this one. Before I read this, I had a beginner-level understanding of startups in Japan. After reading this, I had grasped the key differentiators between startups in Japan vs. startups in the US. This guide by TokyoMate’s CEO is fantastic for ramping up your knowledge if you’re short on time and you need an inside take.
If you were looking for the nerdy-fun-but-also-helpful article, it’s this one. It goes without saying that manga is great fun to read, but the real gains are the shorthand you acquire for deciphering Japanese business communication and business relationships.
Japan’s freelance population grew by 5 million in just 1 year alone! This is worth paying attention to because these are individuals you’ll likely interact with within your Japanese network soon—if you haven’t already. Lots of detail, including who is a freelancer, the 4 types of freelancers in Japan, how much they earn, earning averages for category types, etc.
As a complement to the previous article, this one gets down to the practical elements of the paperwork necessary to freelance in Japan. This is the article I wish I’d read when I first started out as an independent contractor in Japan. Think of it as a roadmap for getting all the legalities right.
I used to think “cultural fit” was just a term for whether or not a recruiter took a personal liking to you. But after reading this guide by Fuminori Gunji, TokyoMate’s CEO, I was like, “Ahhhhh, I was wrong.” This is the article that will give you a crunchy-good take on that phrase. Plus, lots of practical tips, questions, and concepts to think about before you sign off on that potential new hire.
One of the work highlights of my year was talking to a fellow editor and hearing her process, struggles, and challenges. Amélie Geeraert’s approach to the craft made me want to keep progressing as a writer and editor. If you work in publishing in Japan—in any role, really—this article will give you a pep-up as you start content planning for 2022.
This was a fun rabbit hole to fall into. There are certain cases where you can’t use a virtual office address, which basically came down to 4 regulatory concepts, one of which included showing your license certificate in a visible location so clients who walk into your office will immediately know you’re legit (for instance, detective agencies!). Some of these regulations will need some re-thinking once the metaverse hits big, but that’s just my guess. 🤷 The good news is that generally speaking, the majority can use a virtual office address without problems.
I started this feature thinking I was going to cover English-language podcast shows from Japan. Jayne Nakata had a counter-proposal: “Why don’t you cover women podcasters in Japan instead?” So I got lucky because Jayne then went on to introduce me to her fabulous network. These are women leaders in their fields, doing incredible things–and hosting shows, too.
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