#1 Interview with Champion of Red Bull 5G, Yuhi

 

Experiencing life overseas, a place where his tough mindset comes from

 

 

This is Chayanne “Shun” Tu from Wekids!
Here we are back with another series of interview.
Previously, we presented our game specialist, Tsukasa.

Well this time, we have another gaming specialist. Winner of the Red Bull 5G 2016 FINALS for Rocket League, Yuhi!

First let’s start with some of his characteristics. Well, he is tall, coming in at around 187cm, is good at basketball, can speak English well, and can also sing!
We have lots to cover as he is one of the members in Wekids who has lived overseas long-term.

 

Acknowledging the gap between his actual skill set and his ideal ones, using such frustration as his drive to overcome obstacles

 

ーーーPlease tell me about your work responsibilities!

Yuhi For my job position, I’m known as the company’s Assistant Game Specialist.
Employed as a “gamer” in Wekids, I’m assigned various tasks that suit my skill set.
That being said, aside from using my experiences and ways of thinking as a gamer, I handle more common job responsibilities that people can easily relate to such as management of Twitter and LINE accounts for particular clients, planning of gaming-related programs and promotions. By handling various different responsibilities, not only I’m able to contribute, but I learn a lot everyday.

As of recently, I’ve been handling a series of live program streams for a game I’m in charge of.

From meetings with clients, cooperation with partner companies, and doing analysis and reporting. I simply do plenty of stuff here.
In between, I always think of new plans for some projects that I’d like to propose to my boss.

The frustration that I feel from knowing how far off my true abilities are from my ideal ones is the main driving force that keeps me motivated to improve everyday.

 

ーーーWhat did you dream of becoming when you were still a child?

Yuhi I wanted to either become an astronaut or manage a game store.
During middle school, I was aiming to become a childcare worker.
Somehow, being 187cm tall makes me popular with the kids.

The feeling of being liked by kids made me genuinely happy.

However, I was frequently asked if being a childcare worker was enough to be financially well off. I then realized it would be difficult to pursue such path.
Furthermore, my parents were against it so I gave up.

Now that I think of it, my motivations for wanting to become a manager of video game shop might have come from my love for kids. I would be able to see their smiles whenever they bought games from the store.

What’s surprising is that right now I’m in Wekids, being interviewed. This career path is something I never imagined I would walk through.

 

 

The Hardships in America

 

ーーーI can see the love you show towards the company by wearing Wekids apparel every so often.
So, you’ve spent quite some time outside of Japan?

Yuhi Yes, I moved to America the same time I started middle school.

I spent my life in America until 11th grade.

Naturally, I struggled a lot initially overcoming the language barrier.

I’ve actually spent 6 years in an English cram school, but it was back when I was in Japan. Coming to America made me realize that the English learned in Japan isn’t effective at all.

I think it’s best to learn things from its origins.
Seriously, I didn’t even know how to ask for directions to the toilet back then.

There was once that I really wanted to go to the toilet during class.
I did raise my hand.
Everyone looked at me. I seemed to have grabbed their attention.
But I didn’t really know how to speak English. My mind was blank.

I tried to communicate
by using face language.
Anyways, the entire process was really painful.

I experienced jet lag, the entire environment was different than Japan, and moreover I couldn’t communicate at all.
For me, my initial experience overseas felt like I was in outer space.

The stress affected me to the extent I couldn’t digest food properly for the first 2 weeks.

 

ーーーIt must be difficult to resist going to the toilet when you really need to.
So in the end, did you start getting used to the environment? If so, how?

 

Yuhi Things started to take a turn for the better when I met someone who was Japanese like me.

He told me he could speak Japanese and then we started to spent time together during breaks.

In the meantime, I started to listen to his conversation with the local people and gradually got the general understanding of how I should reply to certain phrases.
I started to realize that in English, the sound and intonation were important.
I went mostly by feel.
All the classes were conducted in English, so I knew I had to improve as fast as possible otherwise I could fall behind.

 

ーーーSuch dedication right there. Aside from having difficulties communicating initially, were there any signs of discrimination?

Yuhi Not really.

It might have been that I happened to reside in a place where it was pretty international. An area where people from all across the globe gathered around at.
And that is why whenever I tried my best to speak in English, people were really considerate and also tried their best to listen.
Thanks to that, I managed to get along with people who could speak English at a native level.
And because of how everyone was so considerate, I became friends with lots of people.

Throughout high school, there were plenty of classes that weren’t difficult for me. There was even one time when I was the assistant for Japanese classes. Around that time, I became friends with a really cool, handsome guy.

For some reason, he would fool around and call me “Buddha” from time to time, and I was never sure why.

He would oftentimes take me out for rides and we would stop by restaurants to dine together.
I think the main hobbies that boys had around my age back then were mainly games and sports, and since I loved both of them, I had an easy time making friends.
Sometimes I skipped classes to stay at my friends’ house to play FPS games all night.

 

ーーーGlad to hear that you made friends and finally became accustomed to the environment. So, do you have anything to share regarding your most painful experience in America?

Yuhi Yes, once there was a dance party where people would participate in pairs.

At that time, I didn’t have any girls that I could invite.

Worst of all, I wasn’t even invited by anyone else.

That was my most painful experience.

Umm, maybe I should talk about something else instead.

 

ーーーGo ahead.

Yuhi Well then, let’s see.

In my school, there was a sports club team that would change categories every season.
Basketball was held during winter that time and I wanted to join the club since I’ve been playing street basketball.

However, in order to join the team, people had to pass the tryouts.

I ended up failing.
There was a sub-team. I couldn’t even join them.

The main reason was because I didn’t have a deep understanding of the official basketball rules and team play strategies.

Official basketball is a complete different game compared to the rough play style from street basketball.
Additionally, during tryouts, I couldn’t really properly hear call outs because of all the extra noise during matches. Having the call outs in English made it even harder for me to understand.
That was quite the painful experience.

As a result, it made me want to study English even more. I became desperate to improve.

In my 3rd year of high school, I started to successfully communicate properly during matches, and because of so I managed to get placed in the main basketball team.

I made lots of friends in the team as well.
Basketball has brought me lots of irreplaceable, everlasting memories.

 

 

I grew up trying to satisfy the people around me, especially my father

 

ーーーWhat was the most shocking thing you’ve learned in America compared to Japan?

Yuhi In my opinion, the fact that a liter of Coca Cola in America was only 80 cents was quite shocking.

 

ーーーI heard that you came back to Japan during your last year in high school. Wasn’t that troublesome? Did you start thinking of your future and which universities to apply to?

Yuhi Indeed, 12th grade is definitely the time when you must think hard on your future plans.

I realized that whatever it is I wanted to do, whatever it is I wanted to become, as long as it was related to taking care of kids, I would be happy.

Yes, as long as I could take care of children.

So I thought. Hey, I like taking care of children, right?
My original dream was to become a childcare worker, right?

I knew that I was also suited to take care of children after I looked after my relatives’ kid.
But then again, this led to plenty of disappointment from my parents.

You won’t earn much.
You won’t be able to live a decent life.
Go find a job that actually pays you well enough.
These were words that came from my parent’s mouth, and phrases that I couldn’t stand listening to.

Ever since my early childhood days, I would never go against my father since he is a very strict person.
In order to not ever go against my father’s desires, I lived my life following his instructions.

So in the end, I still gave up on becoming a childcare worker. I attended university majoring in economics, just like what my father wanted me to do.
My father told me that learning economics would lead to a successful future in one way or another.

 

ーーーSo you followed your father’s words really closely. How did you spend your university life?

Yuhi I wasn’t interested in lectures, so I played games during classes without letting the teachers notice.
I did join some clubs.
And of course, my dad was against it.

It’s a bit embarrassing to say this, but even during my university life, I was limited to how late I could stay out.
I had to be home before 10 PM.

As a result, I quit joining clubs.

With all the restrictions that were imposed on me, as well as not being interested in lectures, I lived quite the boring life.
Without joining any clubs, university wasn’t fun at all.
I would think to myself why I was in university in the first place.
I felt that I was at ‘rock bottom’ of the hierarchy in society.

It really felt like my life was over.

 

Would it be possible to work for 3 years in something one is not interested in?

 

ーーーAfter hearing all this, I can’t actually imagine you had such life during university.
So what happened to your career plans?

Yuhi During my last year in university, naturally my father asked me about my career path. I wanted to take a easy and relaxing job so I worked in a pachinko parlor.

I wasn’t that motivated though.

I went through depression.

There was nothing I really wanted to do.

Eventually I got the job offer and worked in the pachinko parlor for 3 years.
To be able to work in a job I wasn’t interested in for 3 whole years. I can’t even remember how I managed go to through that.
I really thought that I would just be better off hunting for jobs and pray for the best.

 

ーーーThat’s quite the drastic decision right there. Nowadays lots of young people struggle from job hunting.
So how did your job hunting activities go on back then?

Yuhi I pretty much spent most of my time playing games.
And it was during that time, I met a game I would fall deeply in love with, Rocket League.

(To be continued)

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