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Returnees Edition「THE WAY - USA ✖️JAPAN 」(EN)

Updated: Jul 25, 2022

THE WAY Returnees Edition introduces women who continue to shine and empower themselves even after returning to Japan by making use of their experiences abroad.

In our first edition of this series, we meet Maki Miura who studied abroad and worked in Los Angeles, USA and currently works in Japan.

During college she had been active as a presenter and reporter in the media world and also started working as a writer for popular women’s fashion magazines like ‘CLASSY’. After that, she moved to Los Angeles and had extensive experience as a presenter in Hollywood. After working in Singapore for about three years, she returned to Japan in 2014. She currently resides in Tokyo and runs a public relations (PR) company, MAKILA.

We hear how Maki’s experience of studying abroad in LA has helped her in Tokyo, her activities abroad and what she’s doing in Japan.

Deciding to go to the US within three months

Maki’s plan to study abroad in LA was thought of three months prior to going there. One day when she was working as a writer, she thought that “If I could improve my English, I’d be able to refer to special features from overseas magazines,” and went on a whim. Maki chose LA because it’s warm and has Hollywood and she believed that if she went to Hollywood, she could work there.

Maki’s parents had lived abroad when they were younger for work so they didn’t stop her. They were open-minded and foreigners often came to visit her house so the foreignness felt somewhat familiar.

After coming to Los Angeles, Maki got introduced to work and started a business that was the same as her presenting business in Japan. She had valuable experiences like flying over Hollywood and doing interviews.

Life in LA

The weather in LA is the best no matter what. The clear, blue sky soars over you every day and your troubles fade away as you look up while lying down on the beach.

At first, Maki was amazed by being able to have fun every day. Her school was in the middle of Beverly Hills and she felt like she was doing nothing but shopping. However, she felt that this had to stop so she decided to not speak Japanese at all and started dating a foreigner.

Maki lived with American girls who on weekends, did things like play beach volleyball in Santa Monica and went shopping and driving to Orange County and Malibu together. She often went to house and club parties and just remembers having fun every single day.

Maki felt comfortable and got along well with the people from LA. There were good and bad times but she felt that her relationship with them was just right.

Thanks to this comfort, she didn’t have to worry about small things. Even if something did happen, she thinks her mood was lightened because of the good weather.

Friends from her LA days who she still frequently keeps in touch with

English skills

In the latter half of Maki’s time in the States, she was lucky to have friends and started to speak English. However, a friend told her that if she studied English, it’d definitely improve and so she started studying again.

Maki read an English newspaper at a cafe before class and made her own vocabulary book after class. She made every effort to avoid wasting her time abroad.

While studying in LA, she never read any Japanese articles or listened to Japanese music. Even if a Japanese person spoke to her in Japanese, she’d reply in English making her seem like the bad guy.

Maki found the most enjoyable aspect of studying English to be writing all the lyrics to her favourite songs in a notebook and practicing her pronunciation by listening to the music while reading the lyrics.

She initially thought about going to an American university so she got a TOEFL score of about 82 and now uses it for her daily life and work.