I am a Japanese website designer (UI/UX designer) with 10 years of experience in Tokyo.
My passion is to make the world brighter.
Why did I become a Web creator? What am I thinking of and what are my core values when I work?
I wrote my story here.
Elementary school (age 6 – 12)
My parents were always fighting and got divorced.
In my point of view at that time, I was thinking that parents were like this. So I didn’t care that much.
Later, my mother took me to raise me up.
At that time, I felt sadness in my heart getting deeper, but I didn’t realize it.
After half a year, my mother got remarried to my new father-in-law.
Junior high school (age 12 – 15)
I liked playing games at that time. I started thinking of becoming a game designer in the future. I searched for how to become a game designer and I noticed that I needed an excellent design skill to succeed.
I seriously started learning drawing but I couldn’t continue it.
I liked playing games. But I realized that I didn’t want to create a game, but to play a game. So, I decided not to become a game designer.
[There is a difference between what I like and what I want to work for]
When I reached 3rd year in junior high school, my mother committed suicide. I felt very complexed.
From then, I felt stuck and continued thinking about the meaning of life.
At that time, my darkness in my heart got deeper.
[Unhappiness in life comes suddenly]
(age 16 – 18)
Around that time, internet was getting popular.
Until the internet appeared, I always received information from the TV. However, through the internet, whenever I want to send messages, I could do it immediately. That was amazing! I was so excited.
4 hours every day, I checked various websites. I got into internet.
In classes, there were also lessons to make websites. I really liked them.
Other lessons were boring for me. But only the website lessons were interesting.
I forgot about break time, I just kept making websites.
[I was interested in making websites. That was the most interesting lesson in the school]
College (age 19 – 20)
I thought I was good at IT, so I decided to go to the 2-year college specialized in IT in my hometown.
Time went quickly. At the time of hunting jobs, I reconsidered what I wanted to be. And my answer was a web designer.
I had skills for making websites. So I made a portfolio and applied for jobs as a web designer to many companies.
I applied to around 30 companies but the result was that I always failed.
My school teacher told me to get whatever job I could, but I could not give up. I decided not to work, but continued learning website designs on my own.
While my friends found jobs, I didn’t get a job. But I wasn’t worried about it after my decision.
Tips: Japanese prefer hunting for jobs in good companies in Japan.
I met the owner of the private school that I used to go to and the owner asked me to make their website.
I heard what the owner’s enthusiastic concept of the school was at a meeting and I was very excited.
It took a long time to make the website.
And we argued a lot.
I had to remake the website many times. I spent over 500 hours to make this website.
In the end, it took 2 months for me to finish the website. When I completed it, the school owner and I were very happy.
When we received the applications from students or requests of the school documents through the website, I was so excited and shouted, ‘Ohhhh!!!’
This experience of making the website made me feel that I was glad to become a web designer.
[Motivation of my current job]
At that time, my father had already married again and I got my new mother-in-law.
However, we didn’t live together so I never felt that she was my new mother.
One day, my father called me and said,
‘I am so sorry but we would like to cut ties with you.’
‘Your mother-in-law dislikes you, Kentaro. Because you’re the child of your mother.’
It seemed that I got used to being unhappy. I just accepted what he said.
I actually felt fear that I got used to being unhappy.
I didn’t know it at that time.
But now I know that I became the person who could easily accept things in my life.
Not like my last job hunting, this time it was easy to get a job in a company with just one interview.
I finally got a job in a website design company like I had dreamed of.
However, in reality, it was tough to work in the company. I started working from 10:00 to 23:00 every day. My life was a routine of just going to work and going home to sleep.
Is it common to work like this? I spent days and days while I always had this question.
[I started questioning about the way of working and what I was doing]
Age 25 – 28
When I was 25 years old, I felt I had got enough experience to become independent and started working as a freelance web designer.
I was satisfied working freelance. I really enjoyed it every day.
I tried as many things as I could:
- Making a plan to give a lesson to make a website
- Starting up website media on my own
I had the chance to join a startup as a promotion manager for my friend’s project. In that startup, I experienced working stages from Seed to Stage A.
I tried as many things as possible. However, there is no magic to get success in a business. To get success in a business, I needed to make an effort to succeed little by little every single day. After lots of work, we could make a profit and we could get investments, too.
What I did:
- Social network advertising and making the advertising
- Planning and making website following applications
- Implementation of front-end applications
I really enjoyed working in the company. But I was asking myself if I wanted to stay in that company. And I considered that my direction in the future was different from what I wanted to do. So I decided to leave the main member of that project.
I learned lots of skills and techniques there. But above all, the most important thing I did was to learn the awareness of being professional.
While I enjoyed my work, I couldn’t get satisfied with my private time.
I felt loneliness when I was with friends. I couldn’t get along with them.
I joined drink parties that friends planned, but I felt emptiness.
Sometimes I wondered if I would have a family in the future. But I didn’t feel like it.
I was often thinking that I would die alone.
My gloomy days continued.
What is my father doing...?
One day, I contacted my father and met him.
At that time, I lived in Tokyo. And my father lived in Okayama*.
*Okayama is located 100km from Osaka.
I went to Okayama and went to a café with my father.
I asked him what I had been wanting to ask.
“Why did my mother get angry at me so often when I was little?”
Me: ‘Hey, dad. Why did mum get angry at me always?”
Dad: ‘Umm... that’s because she loved you, Kentaro.’
Me: ‘What? What do you mean???”
Dad: ‘Mum was worried about you a lot. She expected you to grow up healthy and freely. That was her hope.’
Me: ‘Oh, I see...’
I realized that I was misunderstanding her. I was thinking that my mother didn’t like me because I wasn’t a good kid.
But that wasn’t true. My mother actually loved me.
And my father cared about me too.
Dad and mum.
Sorry that I misunderstood you. Thank you.
Please forgive me.
Since then, my world has completely changed.
After I was able to love myself,
the vision of the world got a bit brighter.
Around that time, I started thinking that I wanted to see the world.
I was active and decided quickly. I liked France so I decided to live in France on a working holiday visa*.
*A working holiday visa is a visa for young people age 18 to 30 in order to understand foreign cultures and customs of living. With the visa, people can stay in that country as a traveler as well as working there.
Living abroad was completely new for me. Many things are different from Japan. That was exciting. In the beginning, I couldn’t speak French and English. I learned French little by little.
What I did in France:
- Teaching website creation to French people
- Participating in startup competitions
- Experiencing various cultures
After learning French, I could speak French well enough. When the expiry day of my visa was coming, I reconsidered what I was going to do. I really enjoyed living in France. But I didn’t want to limit my work to France. I wanted to work worldwide.
I couldn’t speak English well so I decided to go back to Japan to study English.
In Japan, there is no opportunity to speak English. So it is difficult to learn English. In addition, the teaching of English is not good. So to learn English in Japan, we need to learn actively.
Now I am learning English by sharing a house with foreign travelers.
When you come to Japan, please feel free to stop by.
With my experience, I learned that I created all my problems with my feelings on my own.
People often want to change external phenomena. However, in fact, when you take a look inside of you, the things that you thought are problems, are actually not problems. Or you can see things from a different angle.
What do you feel about the problems which concern you at this moment?