How to Fight Stressors as a Foreign IT Engineer in Japan

If you’re thinking about working in Japan’s advanced tech industry, now is the right time to pursue your career. Aside from the high pay, the country offers more growth opportunities for IT engineers. But the whole moving process and living adjustment can be mentally exhausting for foreigners. From picking the right apartment to making new friends at the office, worries might seem endless for those who just started living in Japan.

What it’s like to be a Foreign Worker in Japan?

There are over 28,000 foreign engineers in the IT industry, which comprise 3% of all IT engineers in Japan. With the influx of overseas talents to the country, the number is expected to grow even more. You’ll most likely meet or pass by a foreign national in a company that you will be working for, especially if you’re living in one of the big cities in Japan.

Working in the country as a foreign worker has its pros and cons. Foreign workers are often offered housing assistance and other benefits. In the IT industry, there are hundreds of conventions and tech fairs that you can join. Foreigners also get the chance to experience many exciting holidays and visit places in the country. However, being away from your family, the new work culture, and communication barriers can cause stress. Once you know more about what to expect when working for a Japanese company, you will get the idea of how to avoid or cope with these stressors and benefit from the positive points.


Let’s discuss the positives of working in the Japanese IT industry or working as a foreigner in the country and why you should grab the opportunity. The following strengths don’t necessarily apply to IT companies only, but also to most organizations with foreign employees.

  • Opportunity to upskill

One of the best points of working for a Japanese company is having the chance to upskill. More IT companies are accepting foreign engineers with minimal experience as they provide office training. Moreover, big companies also offer other classes and let you join conferences for free!

  • Politeness

Foreign workers appreciate this workplace character, and this also applies outside of work. People being pleasant and non-aggressive at work helps foreigners and Japanese feel comfortable and make way for excellent communication among colleagues.

  • Teamwork

Another character foreigners love about Japanese colleagues is their teamwork. They prefer to collaborate and always give relevant feedback to each other’s output. Also, their teamwork is applied to their decision-making process, which is appreciated by many foreign IT engineers. They prefer making a decision based on everyone’s opinion, which allows you to share your ideas.


Working in Japan can be inspiring and challenging at the same time, mainly because of the difference in cultures. These challenges are the main factors of stress you might get to experience when you’re working in Japan.

  • Indirect Communication

Japanese colleagues tend to be indirect and vague. You won’t get a definite answer once you ask for their opinion about your output. Instructions and feedback may be conveyed indirectly, leaving foreign workers to wonder. For IT engineers, if you can’t pick-up their subtle negative signals, this can cause delays and problems on your projects.

  • Detail-oriented

People worldwide applaud the country for the level of dedication they have for work, but it can cause a lot of stress and pressure, especially to foreigners in the IT industry. This can be time-consuming and may lead to extra work during the whole development process.

  • Language

It’s true that most companies, especially big IT companies, have relaxed some of their language requirements, but the lack of direct communication can cause problems and stress. Unlike working in your country when you can easily ask for confirmation, you won’t be able to do that when working for a company in Japan with few to zero foreign employees. It’s also quite challenging to make new friends outside work if you haven’t learned the Japanese language.

How to Fight Stress?

In the IT industry, companies receive vast amounts of workload every month, and it can be hectic with all developments and team meetings. So what can you do to get rid of stress? Here are some tips to help foreign IT engineers have a pleasant career and stay in Japan.

    1. Take Regular Breaks

You want to impress your Japanese colleagues through hard work and dedication especially when you’re new to the company, but don’t be afraid to slow down. You are allowed to have 45 minutes to an hour’s worth of break a day. That’s enough to take some time off away from your desk. Take breaks and enjoy those little pauses to look outside your window or eat some sweet treats.

    2. Stay at an Onsen Ryokan (hot spring inn)

Visiting a hot spring inn is one of the ways the Japanese relieve their stress from work. These places are usually away from the hustle and bustle of the city and surrounded by nature. You’ll have a relaxing time soaking at the hot spring or walking around under clear skies.

    3. Indulge in Shopping, Food, and Hobbies

There’s nothing like rewarding yourself after your hard work. Japan has many restaurants and cafes that offer delectable dishes and treats. Aside from that, foreigners and locals are also fond of spending extra time shopping to take their minds off work. IT engineers usually go for exciting events in the country or pursue their hobbies, be it music, arts, and sports. You can even spend some time learning the language to make friends easily.

    4. Know that it’s ok to ask for help

If you have been having a hard time with your tasks, it’s always a good idea to ask for some assistance from your colleagues. Since you’ll be working most of the time with a team in the IT industry, checking each other’s work and asking for advice is common.

If your coping strategies don’t work, you can always ask for professional help. Counseling support in Japanese and English is available online, and there are offices in big cities that you can visit.


Working as an IT engineer in Japan can be one of the essential steps to leveling up your career and acquiring new skills. However, moving to a country with an entirely different culture and living situation can cause stress, which affects your emotional well-being, but don’t let it hinder your potential. Japan offers many activities and platforms you can use to get your mind and body away from work for a while. Don’t hesitate to ask for help when you need it and continue having a successful career in the country.