I survived orientation day one! I really thought I would be much more tired than I actually am. We met at the headquarters at 10:30 AM. I ended up waking up really early because I was just too nervous. I also had to meet with the dorm manager so he could go over the rules and explain things to me. I think I will write another post about living in a company dorm after this program is over.
The orientation basically consisted of different sessions throughout the day. Everyone wore a basic suit and practiced business manners. We also learned about the company itself and how it started. It was really interesting to see how Pasona has a very good company motto of creating an environment where people are using their talents for the best to solve world problems. It is amazing to see how many companies Pasona has and how “progressive” their vision is; we learned that they value things like work life balance, personal health, women in the workplace, etc. whereas the traditional Japanese company is historically not concerned with those things. When we toured we got to see how many “fun” things are in the company in order to provide a productive workplace. I think the company can be compared to places like Google or Facebook where there are workout places, free meals, etc.
We got to meet the president and founder of Pasona which was really cool. We had the chance to ask questions, but we ran out of time before I could ask one. To be honest, I had a bit of a hard time understanding the questions and his responses because everyone was asking questions about Japanese social problems and I don’t quite have the vocab for that yet.
Overall, I don’t think I learned anything dramatically new about Japanese business manners, but it was good to practice them in a practical setting. For example, we practiced exchanging business cards and bowing appropriately. I think the most important thing for me was learning about Japanese company rules regarding privacy; Japan is super concerned about privacy so you have to make sure to not take photos in the workplace just in case you reveal someone’s personal information or company secrets.
Although I would have liked to go over more Japanese business manners, I think just having everything in Japanese was most helpful to me. It was the first time that I had ever spoken Japanese only for a whole day. I think my brain is transitioning to where I don’t have to try so hard to understand everything. However, I did get tired throughout the day and I found myself having trouble finding some words as time went on. Regarding my concern about not being on par with my peers, I would definitely say that my level is sufficient for this program. A lot of other students definitely have more sophisticated vocabulary than me, but I think I make up for it by having a lot of Japanese business and cultural experience. I hope to be able to get better at expressing my inner feelings in Japanese. Let’s see if I will be good enough to survive work!
At night we had the welcome party where alumni, Pasona workers, and the people from the companies came. Someone from my company came and I actually met her last December once, so it was nice to see and talk with her again. We had to give an introduction speech and I was nervous, but I think I did okay other than my poor pronunciation. They served us so much food, including some exotic beer.
Afterwards I went to the hotel to say hello to my grandma’s clients. I basically ran all the way there, but it was worth it and I hope I left a good impression for the clients. I hope I can learn a lot about hospitality this summer!