25 Jan 2020
12th January 2019
JET Spotlight: Stuart Drinkwater
Having fallen into studying Japanese himself as a teenager Stuart Drinkwater, a Senior Associate at PwC, now helps run the Birmingham Japanese Conversation Exchange (BJCE) group.
JETLAG talked to him about his experiences on JET and how working for PwC facilitated a return to Japan as a salaryman, and YouTube fame!
1. What inspired you to join the JET Programme?
I absolutely loved the idea of living in another country and learning a new language, and having learnt some basic Japanese following a bizarre bet with a friend as to who could pass the JLPT exam during our A-levels, the JET programme sounded like the perfect opportunity for me post-graduation.
2. How did you find your experiences as a JET?
Having already accepted a place on a graduate scheme back in the UK, I was limited to one year only on JET. This fueled my desire to fully immerse myself into Japanese culture and the language, and as a result was one of the most fulfilling years of life.
3. What have you been doing since finishing JET?
After studying for an accountancy qualification in the UK, I took the first opportunity I could to move back to Japan, and spent time working as a tax accountant in Tokyo. I briefly found YouTube fame as a video of me chronicling my life as a ‘Salaryman’ went viral. I’ve since moved back to the UK where I helped form a Japanese conversation exchange group, work part time and write music in a progressive rock band.
4. How do you think your current role can further UK-Japan ties?
Working for a global company, there are plenty of opportunities for me to work with Japanese colleagues and clients. Understanding both UK and Japanese working styles, I very much enjoy facilitating cross-cultural exchange in a business environment.
5. What are your professional and personal Japan-related goals?
Professionally, I am eager to improve my business-level Japanese so that I can work more with Japanese colleagues and clients. Personally, I would love to continue supporting and growing the Birmingham Japanese Conversation Exchange (BJCE) group and helping people to develop their Japanese language skills.
6. What did you learn or discover during JET that you've taken into life and career?
Having been placed in the ‘inaka’ that is Saga prefecture, the ability to adapt to new and challenging environments has been one of the greatest skills I feel I developed during my time on JET. I also ‘discovered’ new family members, having essentially been adopted by a Japanese English teacher and his family!