Winter Trip Day 2 of 5: Christmas in Inuyama….

Inuyama Castle:

Winter Trip Day 1 of 5: Taking Local and Rapid Trains to Nagoya on Christmas Eve

JR Nagoya Station:

Nissan Oppama Assembly Plant and US Navy Yokosuka Base Visit

(Updated: June 14, 2013 with high resolution photos and updated descriptions)

Today me and John originally planned to visit the Nissan Oppama car assembly plant because it was a public holiday, the Emperor's Birthday on December 23. I had phoned a couple of days in advance and was surprised that I didn’t have to book in 2 weeks advance like the Toyota plant in Nagoya. They even sent me detailed instructions on how to get there.


Edo-Tokyo Museum

(Updated: June 9, 2013 with high resolution photos and new descriptions)

On Nov. 25, 2005:

Today I went to the Edo-Tokyo Museum that I signed up for in October with the TUFS Foreign Students Association. This trip was organized by the Fuchu English Club because I think they wanted to practice their English with us. We only paid 300 yen and it included admission fee, lunch and bus ride. The club consisted mostly of retired men and housewives. I was “partnered” up with Watanabe-san who during lunch asked us to guess how old he was, and he said he was 72. I thought he was around 60 because he looked so young. He said he could speak English, Chinese, Korean, Japanese, and was learning French and Italian! The bus ride to the museum was interesting because it was the first time I had been in a vehicle in Tokyo, and going on the elevated expressways right through the city and seeing all those tall buildings was so amazing. The museum itself was very interesting, it talks about the history of Tokyo and how it was when it was still called Edo. It was lots of really nice and detailed dioramas. I bought a map book that showed how Tokyo was like in the 50s compared to now for 2590 yen.

First we had to meet up with them at the TUFS campus. This meant going west cross-town from our dormitory and then heading back east to the Edo-Tokyo Museum. It would have been much faster if we just met them at the museum as our dormitory as close to where the museum was located.

On the expressway heading east past Shinjuku.


Pictures of Tokyo University of Foreign Studies

Right now I only have 3 pictures of the campus, I will take more soon.

Lecture building:

Student Building, bascially consists of cafeteria, top floor, western food, bottom floor Japanese food. All run by the "Co-Op", there are no outside brand foods in university such as Starbucks for example. Only one store, the "Co-Op" store. Its about the size of a large convinience store, it functions as the schools "bookstore". This is a really small school.

Things I Learned from Japanese Business Culture Class

Today was a really interesting class. Our teacher talked about the Japanese employment system and how it works, Basically today, students start job hunting in their 3rd year of university and aren’t expected to have any experience. He said that Japan when compared to other countries may be the easiest place to find an entry level job when graduating from college. He said that before it was even easier, that companies come recruiting students for jobs and now it is a little harder because students have to visit companies. Also he said in the past and still now for some companies, graduating from a prestigious university such as University of Tokyo or Keio University and being an average student is better than being a hard working and good student from lesser schools when finding a job. This is because companies still think that if you pass the high school exam and get into a good university, this student will have better potential in the future to be a loyal and good worker while the student who did not get into the good school has lesser potential in the future. Also here, university is seen as a time of relaxing and socializing compared to the hard times of high school.

Also for humanities and social science graduates, he said it doesn’t matter what degree you get because when you get hired they will train you and keep rotating you around the company so that you get a better feel of the workings of the company. For example, once you have learned the accounting department, you may be rotated to the finance department where you would have to learn all new things again. Before and still now, this way of training employees creates a “company man”, like a “Sony man” or “Toyota man”, someone who has no specialties but knows the company which hired and train them very well. The downside of this is if they get laid off at middle age, they have not much skills to market themselves because they only know that one company and know it very well. Also in Japan, when people talk about what they’re job is, they usually don’t say their position first, but rather say which company they work for first.

Another interesting point that was mentioned in class was promotions. In a typical Japanese company, one may get their first promotion 7 years after first getting hired in the company. Also when you get hired by the company, no matter what your degree is, you may be sent to the company’s shops to work in the front lines there. For example if you were hired by McDonalds and have a business degree, you might spend a couple of months working at the actual “restaurant” with the other part time and contract employees before you get rotated to a desk job. This is because companies in Japan like their employees to get a feel of how the entire company operates. My teacher said during the months starting from April, it isn’t unusual to see maybe people with Masters degrees working at McDonalds.

For students in the hard sciences and engineering, the process of getting hired is a little different. In Japan, many laboratories and departments have close ties to industry, so once you graduate, your professors may recommend you to jobs, so in other words, it seems that you don’t really have to look for work, because the companies can just recruit you easily from connections with the teaching staff.