5 MONTHS TO REMEMBER – Part 23

Everything happens for a reason, and because of a reason as well. 

Why did I mention that? Well, as my internship at GRIT is coming to an end and until now I can say that I have had such incredible experience over 5 months in Japan and definitely won’t regret coming here. However, I never take anything for granted because I know good things do not come naturally and accidentally. We always have to do something in order to make them happen whether we can realize that or not. That’s why today I’m going to give you some advice on how to have a good internship based on both what I have done well and not well enough!^^

There are 2 important periods that I want to talk about: before and during the internship.

Let’s talk about what we should prepare before the internship starts. First, it’s about your Japanese. Even if you don’t usually need it for work (like me), it is still very necessary to improve your Japanese as early as you can. Besides Yoshida-san, who is the president of GRIT and also will be your host, there are just few people in the office who speak very little English or even not at all. Other people such as the your internship manager (TNM), other AIESEC members and nearly all Japanese people that you’ll meet appear to be the same. The thing here is that you’ll find most of them interesting human beings and there are so many things you can share and learn from these people but the language seems to prevent you from doing so. Well, you may think that it’s 21st century now and we have Google translate (or some similar applications) so why cares too much about the language? The truth is that Google translate sucks sometimes (or many times) and it feels much greater when we ourselves can express our ideas instead of letting Google translate do it for us. And we don’t always have enough time to use it, either. Speed is important. Also, researches have showed that studying a new language can make us become smarter and who doesn’t want to be a smarter person right? (If you do, it’s okay. No comment:)) Therefore, study Japanese hard from now and you can have better communication with the people here to strengthen your relationships with them as well as to learn a lot of new things for yourself.

Second, another thing you can prepare to ensure a good internship is to practice and improve the technical skills you need to use for your work as an intern. This may differentiate for different people. For example, I am interested in photography and my tasks are mainly related to taking photos or filming so I carried out some photo shoots with different concepts before coming to Japan to improve my shooting skills. I don’t use MacBook but if you do, it’s better to learn how to use Final Cut Pro (a software designed for MacBook to edit videos) and be familiar with it because it is commonly used here for video editing. If you are good at design and Yoshida-san says you can use your design ability for your work at GRIT, let’s strengthen it by learning new Illustrator/Photoshop techniques as well as creating some new designs when you have time. It will be useful not only for the internship but for your own development as well. Moreover, good technical skills will enable you to complete your task more easily and successfully, and of course good results can make you feel happy and increase the satisfaction level of the internship.

Trust me these two advice can create quite a big change to your internship’s experience.

Now we move to the next period which is during the internship.

Be proactive. And by “proactive” I mean doing the right things without being asked or even when no one is looking. If you have finished your tasks and are not so busy doing other things, it’s better to look around to see if anyone needs help and join them. They will appreciate that and also by doing something together you guys can interact more with each other and become closer. Besides, you should also think of what do to to improve your skills and achieve your internship’s goals. Make use of the time you have here so that you won’t have to regret later. For example, one of my goals is to strengthen my photography skills so when I’m not so busy, I learn some new photo editing techniques in Photoshop, watch video making tutorials and try to make one and carry out several photo shoots with different concepts. If you commit to do it regularly, some moments you will stop and realize “Oh! I have improved.” and I love those moments (^.^). Being “Proactive” also means to be the person who starts a conversation (because Japanese people are very kind but many of them are shy and reserved) or who initiatively invites other people to do something together. At first I was afraid that everyone was too busy at work but when I wanted to go to somewhere or did something, I just told people that I would be happy if they could join me and then we discussed to find out a suitable time for all members and that’s how I have made my close friends here (^.^). Gonna miss them so much! T.T

Last but not least, be positive. Accept the fact that you may make some mistakes and things don’t always happen the way you want them to be. And of course you would be sad. It’s natural and understandable. However, “it’s no use crying over spilt milk”. Do not dwell on the past but learn from it. If you do something unsuccessfully, try to find out the reason why and fix it. One time, I took photos of some staff but Yoshida san said the good photos were not enough so I had to do it again. I decided to went for a walk to think about how I could make it better (going for a walk alone is a good therapy for me whenever I need to seriously think about something or brainstorm some new ideas, you can do whatever’s good for your thinking). I planned some poses, practiced some Japanese phrases to talk to the staff in order to get the pose I wanted, spent longer time shooting so that I would have more choices and reminded myself to appear lively and smiley. The next morning when I felt my spirit was high enough (^.^) and I was eager to see the change I could make, I started to take the staff photos again right after the morning meeting. Fortunately, everything went well and my new photos were usable. Believe me you will see another side of yourself when you decide to think about how to improve things instead of crying over it. Also, being positive allows you to see opportunities in unexpected situations and enjoy life more. If plan A can’t happen, plan B may be good as well. This case is true for me most of the time so my mind is usually comfortable with unexpected changes.

Above are my sincerest advice for those who want to have a fruitful internship at GRIT. There are a lot more things to say but first let’s consider these 4 points and you’ll see. 5 months are not too long or too short but this internship has already become an invaluable part of my youth and I hope it will be the same to you.

Thanks for reading!

 

5 MONTHS TO REMEMBER – Part 22

Lights can make everything look different. 

A few days ago I had a chance to admire the stunning effect of lights in two wonderful places only in one evening. Actually that was a memorable night for various reasons and one of them is that I could try out a photography technique I’ve never done before called “underexposure”. The first one is Nabana no Sato park which is famous for its annual light illumination in winter.

I went there after work with Haruka-chan, another intern at GRIT. Well, if you have a chance to go there, my advice is that it’s better to start as soon as possible as the illumination only lasts until 9p.m everyday (or 10p.m on weekends and holildays) and the lights becomes brighter and brighter as it gets darker. As we reached the station near the park quite late (about 8p.m), there was no more bus for us so we had to walk (and ran) for more than 2 kilometers from the station to the illumination spot. We tried to call the taxi phone numbers written on a board right at the bus stop but it was useless because the first thing they told us was that “There’s no more available taxi, sorry!” And we also couldn’t see any sign of a taxi on the street so yeah, just try to get to the train station as early as you can before 7:45p.m if you don’t want to be in my situation:)

Although we only had about 30 minutes there, I was totally amazed and overwhelmed by the great effects created by millions of lights in the park. The further we walked, the more gorgeous the scene became. If you are a dreamer like me, you will definitely feel as if you were in a true wonder land.

           A restaurant can turn into a castle with the lights

                 Haruka-chan in the “Cloud garden” area

        Absolutely the best light display I have ever seen!!!

           Feels like I’m traveling to the light’s kingdom (^^)

When we came to the Kumamon mountain area, I literally stomped my feet and screamed in happiness because it was soooooo impressive. Believe me the photos can’t say it all and I believe you would have the same reactions like I did once you go there.

The big big light mountain of Kumamon. How cute, isn’t it?^^

The displayed image changed but everytime it was just perrrrrfect!!!!!

                  Would you like to walk along this road?:D

Just when we thought we had walked through all the light tunnels in the park, we accidentally entered a new one called “Sakura tunnel” and yes you can guess, it’s all pink!^.^

                                       Such a romantic scene!

                      Just wishing the road would never end.

We got out of the park at about 9:30p.m, Yoshida-san then picked us up and drove us to the Yokkaichi factory area. When I first heard about it, I was quite doubtful and wondered how the factory area could be interesting and became a good spot for photo shooting. But then I understood why. Although the weather was very cold at that time, Yoshida-san was really kind to drive us to different spots so that we could find the best view to take photos. The results surely did not disappoint us at all (^.^).

                                         A perfect mirror!

                            To me it looks like a light castle

    Tried out the underexposure technique

                    Any photographers would love this place

We came home very late that night but I was so happy and satisfied to have been to two amazing places in the same evening. Those memories are unforgettable and I must thank Haruka-chan and Yoshida-san to have helped me create that.

Grateful as always!

5 MONTHS TO REMEMBER – Part 21

Hi there!

Well, time flies, I only have a few days left in GRIT and even start missing it now so today I decide to write about the company and its people. Of course this post can’t cover everything I want to say so yeah, you can consider it a preview to help you understand a little bit more about GRIT before having a chance to come here.

As you can see from above, just after stepping through the door, you will find yourself in front of a colorful room where most of the GRIT members work. There is a short meeting here every morning at 8:45 and afterwards everyone does his/her own cleaning task (that’s why the office looks tidy and clean nearly all the time ^^). The work really starts by about 9a.m and the room gradually gets noisier because of the coming phone calls, the voice of the salesmen talking to customers and some people discussing with each other. Oh and it is really an ideal place to me too because there is music played all the time with very low volume so that it would not distract us from work.

The salesmen are on their phones almost all the time…

                                 …and everywhere (^.^)

Working as a salesman is absolutely not an easy job. You will constantly be under pressure and had better protect your voice to make sure it is always clear. I guess no one would trust a salesman with weak voice or sounds as if he had been drinking alcohol before right?

However, being a salesman can surely help you strengthen your communication skill as you have to talk to many different kinds of people, introduce the company’s products to them and then tactfully lead them to make buying decisions. In GRIT, the young salesmen even have to give a short speech during the morning meeting and by doing so they can gain more knowledge and improve their speaking skills.

Well, everybody in the office is just busy doing their own work and so are the dogs:) You might be afraid at first when seeing four big dogs wandering around but to me, the dogs actually help GRIT members feel more relaxed. When you feel stressful or just need some moments away from the work, simply hug the dogs or play with them for a while and then you will definitely feel better.

Now let’s go a bit further to the Production room (also the one I’m most familiar with). There are fewer people here and you can easily feel the friendly and cheerful vibes from all the members. There is space for both paperwork as well as craftwork to make the products for the customers and everyone seems to enjoy doing their work because their humorous co-workers just keep them smiling all the time:)

                              Part of the Production room

                 Each member is a special person!^O^

                    The craftwork includes cutting…

         … and wrapping the cards/postcards, etc (^^)

Doing the craftwork such as cutting sounds easy at the beginning but in deed you need to be very careful and pay a lot of attention to it. I also noticed that here people take really good care of each product, even just a tiny speck of dust or a small mistake is unacceptable and they will print/do it again until they feel the product can satisfy the customers.

Going upstairs, you can find a lovely window decorated with two old cameras and some plants. This is my favorite spot in the office because I usually stand here looking out of the window whenever I feel sleepy and it’s really really helpful:)

The lunchroom is also nicely decorated with paintings on the walls

Sometimes part-time members also do their work there. If you are not so busy and can help them, join them to finish the work and meanwhile you can have many interesting conversations together.

Smile and never forget to make the work enjoyable!^.^

Below is the photo of the 3rd floor. Well, this room is mostly used for storing, packing the products and making them ready for shipping to customers but also, we can turn it into a studio for some photoshoots.

If you are interested in photography and want to dig deeper into it, GRIT is such an ideal place because there are almost everything you need to carry out your ideas for a photoshoot. There are curtains, backdrops, soft boxes, flashguns, tripods, cameras and especially different types of lenses to choose from depending on your purposes. What you need now is just an idea!^o^

Small studio for those who love taking photos!^^

Interns can learn many new things from here

Well, things mentioned above is just a small part about GRIT and its people, I’m sure you will find and experience a lot more interesting things once you come here!^o^

See you!

5 MONTHS TO REMEMBER – Part 20

It’s been quite a long time since I last talked about running. And yesterday was such a big shock for me about my running ability:)

Guess what? I finished a 10-kilometer marathon yesterday morning with my hosts, Yoshida-san, Rie-san and other two GRIT members, Ishikawa-san and Nakamura-san. Frankly, never in my life before had I thought that I could ever run that far or spend time for running in general:) And that’s why I was surprised at myself for being able to complete the marathon.

Actually, it has many things in common with overcoming a general challenge or finishing a difficult task that we think we would not be able to do. As I mentioned in my previous posts, I am not into running and one of the reasons is that because I am not a good runner. Seriously I prefer going for a walk or wandering around slowly to running as walking gives me more time to enjoy the scenery and think about something I want. But with running? No. I am too tired to care about anything other than hoping the run to end as soon as possible:)

When Yoshida-san registered the 10-kilometer marathon for me, I was thinking :”Ok I will try but maybe 5 or 6 kilometers is my maximum. 10? No way!” Although sometimes I ran with Yoshida-san and one time could reach 5 kilometers but my running has been delayed for about 1 months recently due to various reasons (or simply I was too lazy) so everything just came back to the start. I felt my body heavy and tired to death again whenever I had to run even just for 20 meters (^.^) And I also walked a lot during my 2-day trip to Osaka right before the marathon day with a very tight schedule so yes, no more energy left for running:) I kept asking myself on the train back to Nagoya: “Oh my god tomorrow morning is the marathon. I want to finish it because it’s my last marathon in Japan but HOW???? My legs are so tired now. Can I do it or not??? I really really don’t know.”

And before I had the answer for my questions, the morning came and we had to go. It was a cold and windy morning. I liked it. But sunny. Not so good. I have headache everytime I am under the sun for a while, and this time it’s nearly 2 hours. I still thought I couldn’t finish the marathon and maybe all people who know me would have the same thought:) The whole marathon was divided into 7 rounds (1.5 kilometer each) and every runner was given 6 rubber bands to drop off one by one after each round (once they finished the 7th round they just needed to run towards the goal).

We started at 10a.m. Not long after the starting moment I realized that I was at the end of the group but ok, just kept my own pace and remained it as long as I could. Actually I didn’t pace up during the whole marathon as I knew if I pushed myself too hard I would be exhausted very soon and couldn’t continue. As I ran slowly, I could enjoy the beautiful scenery of that area and it was such an motivation to keep my body moving ahead. Of course it was very tiring but after I finished one round and stopped for a few moments to drink water and tight my hair again, I felt like my energy coming back and I could run more. And just like that I started a new round. Sometimes when I felt too tired I walked about 3 meters and ran again, but only once or twice during each round. When I noticed that there were only 1 rubber band left on my wrist, I thought: “OMG Lien I think you can do it. Let’s just try to finish what you begin.” Then I started the 6th round and after finishing  it I felt like my legs could not move any more meter. But only 1 round left. I was so close and I didn’t want to regret. At that time Yoshida-san, Rie-san and Ishikawa-san had already finished. When I met them Ishikawa-san said she would run my last round with me. It should have been the most tiring one but as I kept thinking “This is the last one. Just finish it and you don’t have to run anymore.”, I felt stronger and finally could reach the goal (^o^).

How did I feel after that? Strange. “Really Lien? You’ve just finished a 10-kilometer marathon?” Just couldn’t believe it! But will I continue running by myself? Let me think about it!:)

                               My result!^^

In short, I think life is always full of unbelievable things so when we’re afraid that we are not able to do something because it seems too hard for us, let’s simply follow Nike’s famous slogan: “Just do it!” (^.^) Whether we are successful or not, at least we have tried!