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Assisting with wedding photography in Japan for international clients

LEC, Inc. Overseas Division
Zhu Ying
Jiangsu, China
University of Marketing and Distribution Sciences/Service Industries Department


Why did you choose to work at a Japanese company?

I had a strong desire to use the experiences I’d encountered during my four years studying abroad in Japan.
I wanted to use the deep understanding I’d gained of the Japanese langauge and Japanese culture.
At school, I studied logistics and economics.
I was in the service industry department, so I learned about the internal workings of theme parks, and had lots of hands-on study experience. There are lots of graduates working at travel agencies, as travel guides, at airports, hotels, theme parks, and so on.

How did you go about your job search?

I followed the same path the Japanese students did, going to information sessions, etc. in my job search. I focused my search on the service industry.

Why did you choose to work in Kobe? Did you consider companies located outside of Kobe?

I got used to living in Kobe during university, so I did set my sights on some Kobe companies.
At the moment, I’m working in Umeda, Osaka, but I’m still commuting from Kobe City.
Just after joining my company, I was working as a wedding planner at a chapel in the Mosaic shopping center in Kobe. I was in charge of the wedding cothes, and even in charge on the day of the wedding, so I was able to learn a lot about what happens during the actual event.
The thing I like best about Kobe is what a stylish city it is. It has its Chinatown, Nankin-cho, and you can see the influences of other cultures that are incorporated into the city. The city’s sweets are also a big point of appeal.

Did your student experiences or studies come in handy during your job search, or after starting work?

I feel like my experience debating with Japanese students in-depth about a particular topic during international culture exchange events at university has helped me.
The University of Marketing and Distribution Sciences is in the Gakuentoshi area, and because there are several other universities right nearby, there’s a lot of interaction between the different schools. At international cultural exchanges, you’ll see University of Marketing and Distribution Sciences students who are learning Chinese interacting with students from nearby Kobe City University of Foreign Studies.

What made you choose to work at this company?

I first found LEC, Inc. through a job-hunting support program for international students.
In that program, I was able to take part in a five day internship at a bridal ceremony hall. I went to work together with the others who worked there already. There was a phone in the office, so I got to experience answering the phone in the same way as the other employees, and I was able to gain a better understanding of both working society and the bridal industry. That experience made me decide to work here.


What kind of work are you doing now? What does a normal day look like for you?

Currently, I’m in charge of customers from overseas who are having their wedding photography done in Japan.
Many of our customers are from countries in Greater China like Hong Kong and Singapore, so I have a lot of opportunities to use my Chinese.
There are other employees like me in charge of our customers from overseas in both Tokyo and Okinawa, by the way.
I communicate with the customers via email or social media, and for photoshoots I’ll sometimes accompany them throughout the day.
Since these customers are coming from overseas, we have just one chance to get all the shots we need, so the schedule for these photoshoots can often be from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Shooting locations vary, from Osaka, to Kobe, to Kyoto. Kyoto’s Ninenzaka or Gion Shirakawa are some of the places we go to frequently, where we have our customers dress in kimono to take some Japanese-esque photos.

What has changed about how you think about your work since you first started?

A wedding is a big event you only have once in your life.
I feel like I’ve become much more aware of that since I started working here.
I make it my job to uphold professionalism and do the best job that I can.


Do you think that working in Japan has some unique qualities, compared to working in your home country?

While in China, the scope of someone’s job is very clearly defined, I feel like Japan has a much stronger emphasis on teamwork. I have a sense that we’re all working together on a single job.

What is the most rewarding thing about your job?

It really is making my customers happy.
For example, it feels really rewarding when, even in the midst of an intense photoshoot schedule, I can talk to the customer, relieve their nervousness, and get them to enjoy trying things out in the shoot.

What do you do after work, or on your days off?

I need a lot of strength for on-location shooting, so I go to the gym.
My favorite place to spend my days off in Kobe is Harborland.
I think I’m really drawn to the ocean, because my hometown is quite far from it.

Please share a message for international students studying in Japan.

While you’re a student, I think you’ll have a lot of time, so use that time to travel, make friends, and have lots of new experiences!