When I first arrived in Tokyo, I had some doubts on my own abilities to adjust into a new culture. During the first few days I found myself questioning if I had made the right decision by picking a country that I was so unfamiliar with. Even something as little as talking too loud on public transportation would grant you plenty of glares from the locals. I found this a difficult thing to adjust to—talking loud in public in America is just so normal and our cities are known as the ones that never sleep.
One thing I thought I was prepared for was the fact that there is so many people, but sadly I was mistaken. I was in awe of how many people there were—just walking around, standing on the platforms or rushing to their trains. During rush hours on public transportation—you better be comfortable with skin to skin contact because you will be shoved into that train or bus. The first few times I experienced being crammed into the trains and busses were some of my most awkward moments—all sense of personal space was thrown out the window. Even when you’re walking out on the streets you just see a constant flow of people from all directions. That alone is enough to blow my mind.
However, the more time that passed by I found myself becoming more and more like a typical Tokyokko. I’m quiet and polite on the train and have also become more submissive in the work force. Adjusting to Japanese work culture was something that I wasn’t prepared for. On the other hand, my responsibilities and assignments were something I was extremely prepared to take on with full force. I was able to perform well with Adobe and Microsoft products. On my first day working for Flip Productions, I was able to complete my assigned objectives.
Throughout the course of my two month stay, I had the pleasure of exploring not only the beautiful city of Tokyo but the surrounding areas as well. My first weekend in Tokyo I travelled to Skytree; the tallest building in the world in 2012 with panoramic views that were jaw dropping. A few weeks later I had the chance to get away from Tokyo on a weekend trip to Kyoto—a city in the Kansai region. Kyoto is known for gorgeous temples and luxurious onsens—hot springs. I took the Shinkansen, also known as a bullet train, making what would have been a 6-hour drive into a short 2-hour train ride. Closer to the end of my internship, I met up with a family friend whom I had not seen in almost 10 years. We strolled through the temple while wearing our Yukatas. I had no idea that there were so many steps involved to wear a Yukata, a whopping 13 steps in total.
I will take all the knowledge of living here in Tokyo so that when I am ready to start interviewing with companies outside of the United States I know what is expected of me. Joining the work force in Asia is my ultimate career goal—who knows where I will be career wise in a mere few years. This internship has helped me grow as an individual, I learned how to communicate in a foreign country without knowing the language, how to live alone not by the standards of most people my age, and navigate a city I was unfamiliar with. I learned how to network and build relationships with coworkers and with clients.