Day three consisted of pretty much the same things as the day before, except this time I practically did more things instead of just watching my superior do it. For example, when the guests arrive we greet them with tea, snacks, and towels. I was a bit nervous to serve the guests directly, but I was able to do it with no spills. It was nice that my superior was also there to help with small talk because I cannot do small talk in Japanese in a formal situation yet. After you go into any guest’s room, you close the door very softly and then bow at the closed door. It may seem strange from a Western perspective, but that is just part of Japanese culture. I remember a few days ago when we delivered something to a foreigner’s room and it was super awkward because you have to wait until the door is completely closed and you bow before turning your back and walking away, and the guest was unsure why we were just standing there until the door closed after the interaction finished.
I also helped with more of the paperwork. Today I was a lot better at using the computer system; too bad that I will have to unlearn it again when I rejoin the concierge next week because the system is a little bit different. I think I am figuring out that I am someone who cannot learn from observation alone, but rather I need to have some explanation along the way. In addition, I can probably nail a task a third time, but maybe not the first or second time.
My interesting task of the day was trying to fold origami (which I totally failed at) and making potpourri from the recycle flowers that are given to guests. It was a lot of fun because I love arts and crafts!
After work I had the opportunity to get some career counseling at Pasona. There is also the opportunity to receive an interview if you are interested in working there, but I truly feel that if I were to do that my only motivation would be “because I want a job” and not because I am passionate about the specific job that may be offered. The one-on-one session was really nice and the lady gave me some potential companies that I could apply for and even told me of some stories of foreigners working in Japan, but overall the counselor agreed with my idea about first working in America in an ideally bilingual office in the area of hospitality. To be honest, I was hoping that she would shut the idea down and propose a different plan; I feel like in career or education counseling-like sessions, I am always giving my very specific plan and the person really likes the sound of it and then says “go for it!” I like to be motivated, but all my life people tell me that I am so talented in this or I definitely can do that without giving me some tips on how I can improve or lay out the realistic stumbling blocks that may occur. I am thankful that at least tonight the counselor provided an example of how racism can occur in the hospitality industry in Japan. Maybe I am a bit cautious because I feel that I would want to warn my underclassmen of the things I have experienced without discouraging them completely, but by being completely honest.
Only two more days left as a guest attendant!