top of page

Why Japan? Ananya Donapati's Journey of Working in Japan as a Foreigner

Updated: Jun 17

What draws foreigners to embark on ambitious careers in Japan? Ananya Donapati, with 170K Instagram followers captivated by her Japanese fluency and passion, represents a new type of cross-cultural influencer. We explored her insights into opportunities for foreigners seeking the opportunities of working an professional fulfillment in Japan.

Ananya Donapati

—— Can you tell us about your current job?

Ananya: I work at Woodstock club, a fintech startup in Japan. My role involves various strategies to boost user growth and retention. I focus on getting users to make their first investment and play a vital role in generating content tailored for our young Japanese investors. My work initially involved a lot of trial and error, especially in social media marketing, which proved effective in attracting new users. I also host events for the company and engage in media-related work.

—— How was the transition to working in Japan as a foreigner, given the language and cultural differences?

Ananya: It was a mix of direct learning and getting help from my colleagues, given it's a small company. Understanding the Japanese investing market was challenging initially, but my co-workers provided great resources. Adjusting to the bilingual work environment, with tasks primarily in Japanese, was tough. Additionally, settling in Japan, like handling documentation and personal logistics, was actually more challenging than the professional transition.

—— Did your company assist with documentation, like visas and bank accounts?

Ananya: The company took care of my visa, but I had to handle other essentials like setting up a bank account and getting a phone number on my own.

—— What sparked your interest in Japan initially?

Ananya: My interest in Japan began with manga and anime. I was captivated by the quality of Japanese comics compared to American ones. This led me to learn Japanese, which never felt like work due to my passion. Over the years, I engaged with Japanese communities and made friends both online and in-person, which deepened my connection with Japan.

—— What motivated your decision to work in Japan?

Ananya: During college, my Japanese friends in America discouraged me from moving to Japan. But after working at Amazon in the U.S, I realized that I wanted a job that aligned with my interest in Japan. An opportunity arose when my current boss reached out to me on Twitter about a marketing position, which I accepted after visiting Japan in late 2022..

—— How did you find this job opportunity?

Ananya: I was connected with the founder of Woodstock Club on Twitter. We were in contact for about a year after he reached out to me about a potential marketing position.

—— Was the job offer from Woodstock Club a direct approach?

Ananya: Yes, it was very straightforward. We initially had a casual conversation about the company, and later, he directly offered me the marketing position.

—— Did you consider other job options in Japan?

Ananya: I looked at a few options, but none seemed like the right step at that point. It was only after moving to Japan that I received more interest from other companies.

—— What are the challenges you've faced in the Japanese business environment?

Ananya: The hurdle is gradually lowering, but it's still significant. The availability of information in English, especially for documentation and everyday processes, is limited. It requires a lot of self-initiative and research. When it comes to our company, it is quite Americanized in its operations. However, even Americanized companies in Japan can lean on Japanese values and practices. This blend sometimes brings the challenges of both cultures, like less direct communication and certain unspoken practices. I haven't experienced much overtime work, but the subtle differences in business communication have been noticeable.

—— Do you often collaborate with external partners or companies?

Ananya: Not frequently. Most of my work is internal, though I attend conferences occasionally and collaborate with Japanese PR companies for my content creation work.

—— How did you navigate the salary differences between the US and Japan?

Ananya: I negotiated hard, knowing the salaries here wouldn't match my American salary, especially given the exchange rate. It's important to find a balance where you can afford basic needs and occasional visits home.

—— Considering the cost of living, how does your quality of life in Japan compare to the US?

Ananya: Despite a lower salary, the quality of life in Japan is equal to or better than in the US. The cost of living, especially food and rent, is more affordable here. Overall, life in Japan is more manageable financially.

—— What advice would you give to someone in the US wanting to start a career in Japan? 

Ananya: Reach out to someone already in the career you're interested in Japan to get a clear picture of what to expect. The experiences vary greatly depending on the industry, whether it’s tech, education, or HR. Also, building a network before moving can significantly help in transitioning smoothly.

—— Can you share your impressions of Jelper Club and its events?

Ananya: Initially, I was intrigued but slightly skeptical about Jelper Club due to its exclusive and business-focused image. However, attending their event changed my perspective. I found it to be one of the best events in Japan, with a perfect balance of networking and casual interaction among kind, easy-to-talk-to people. It was different from other events, which usually focus too much on either networking or being overly casual.

—— What are your thoughts on Jelper Club's online platform?

Ananya: It seems like a perfect platform for foreigners who seek to have their professional career in Japan, offering useful information that is hard to find elsewhere. It could be a valuable resource for people considering moving to Japan, filling a gap in the current information landscape.

—— Any medium or long-term goals? Do you plan to stay in Japan?

Ananya: I'm still figuring things out, but I'm leaning towards starting my own business. Content creation, though not my ultimate goal, is something I enjoy and plan to continue as a means to support my future endeavors.


Ananya Donapati

As Ananya continues bridging cultures while following her Japan passion, her path illustrates how tech-enabled global connectivity can empower diverse personal and professional trajectories. For those looking abroad, especially young professionals, Japan offers a unique blend of cultural depth, safety, entrepreneurship, and a growing openness to global influences. Ananya's story showcases how Japan offers opportunities for those seeking to pursue their dreams and passions. Her experiences highlight Japan as a welcoming place for new ventures and aspirations.

At Jelper Club, we're here to support you every step of the way for your career development in Japan. Our platform connects ambitious students from top universities worldwide with exclusive internship and full-time job opportunities in Japan with a variety of Japanese proficiency requirements. We also provide access to practical information, member-only events, and a professional community of like-minded individuals.


If you're ready to embark on your own Japanese adventure, visit Jelper Club today and discover how we can help you unlock your potential in Japan.

(Interviewer/Editor: Jelper Club Editorial Team)

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page