Mercari Relocation Stories: @Muktti from India
My life in Japan in three words: Balance, Innovation, and Tranquility
I moved to Japan with my mother, twin boys, and our family babysitter in July 2022. I had never been to Japan before, but based on things I read about or heard from people, I was always intrigued by its culture, people, and diverse history. I knew I wanted to experience the country at least once. In 2021, as I was preparing to return to work after a long maternity leave, I was looking to explore career opportunities abroad, and I decided to add Japan to the shortlist.
In moving out of India and going back to work, the biggest concern for me was my kids. I’m a single mother of twin boys, and I knew I would need additional support as I adjusted to working and living in a new country. After some thought, I decided to look for a company that would allow me to relocate with my mother and our family babysitter. Of course, there was the option to hire a local babysitter wherever I moved, but my kids would be leaving one culture and getting plugged into another. I wanted to secure someone they were already familiar with, as it would provide some comfort and stability in a move that was sure to have its ups and downs.
During my job hunt, what set Mercari apart was their solution-oriented approach and genuine commitment to resolving my concerns. Once I made it through the interview process, I spent a lot of time speaking to the relocation team about my situation. In principle, Mercari’s relocation package is only designed to cover partners and dependents, so bringing a babysitter was a rare request. However, instead of shutting me down with an immediate “no,” the relocation team presented me with viable options, and in the end, we were able to figure out a way to meet halfway and make it work in accordance with Mercari’s guidelines and regulations. This is the biggest reason why I ended up choosing Mercari and Japan out of the job offers I had. Their support gave me the confidence to relocate to Japan with my children.
Exploring the area around Kinkaku-ji in Kyoto
Living in a new country is actually not new to me—I’ve lived in India, Australia, Singapore, and the Netherlands in the past. But I will say, the level of safety in Japan is higher than I’ve ever experienced in other countries, which gives me great peace of mind as a parent. I’ve also been really impressed with the quality of daycare services here. The teachers take such amazing care of my kids, and it shows in the fact that my boys actually like going to school…! Since there are many expats living in the area, their school is also very diverse and multicultural. I’m happy that I’m able to expose my kids to this kind of environment, which I don’t think I would have been able to do back in India.
Our family has settled down in an area near Tokyo Disneyland, just outside of the city. It’s been perfect for us in that it’s vibrant, but not too crowded. One of my favorite things about our neighborhood is a river nearby that connects to Tokyo Bay. I take walks along this river with my family or whenever I’m stressed with work, and it’s lined with cherry blossom trees that bloom in the spring and turn orange in the autumn. It’s nice that I don’t have to go anywhere to enjoy all of the seasonal beauty that Japan has to offer.
Enjoying cherry blossom trees alongside a river near my home
Having a safe and solid environment for my family has also allowed me to focus on work whenever I need to. Starting a new job in Japan presented its challenges, but similar to my life outside of work, I’ve been able to find ways to overcome these challenges using the various support systems that are available. For example, when I first joined Mercari, I was a part of the Fintech organization, which is predominantly Japanese. However, I’ve found that there are numerous ways to alleviate any communication barriers at Mercari. For one, there is the wonderful translation and interpretation team that provides support on both a team and company level. Thanks to their help, key announcements, documents, and meetings (like All Hands or information sessions) are available in both English and Japanese. For more day-to-day communication, we also have our handy dandy AI assistant “Hisashi.” Because of our Your Choice policy, a great share of our communication is done online and in writing, and Hisashi can machine-translate text like meeting minutes and Slack messages for us in an instant. This means we can write in whichever language we are more comfortable with—even if the conversation is taking place in Japanese, I can jump in and share my opinion in English, which I can then machine-translate into Japanese with just one button. With all of these systems and tools we have in place, I don’t consider language to be a huge blocker in my work.
Painting together with my team at our year-end event
I will admit, before I left India, I was very anxious about what awaited me in Japan. But now, almost a year later, I can say with full confidence that it was the right decision for both me and my family. I’ve been enjoying the work that I do and feel grateful for the experiences that I’ve been able to provide to my children. I think my situation was pretty unique, so I am also incredibly thankful for the support I received from Mercari, and I can wholeheartedly vouch for the relocation support that the company offers. To anyone reading who is interested in living and working in Japan, but finding themselves held back by similar anxieties, let me assure you that if I can do it, so can you!