Being an Intern, Part 2

I’ve been away for quite a long time. Whew! Sorry everyone.

As I have mentioned in Being an Intern, Part 1, I will talk more about my experiences and realizations.

I am aware that forming and keeping relationships is an important factor when working with others. Even with families. And being able to communicate is the key to keeping this bond.

I interned with a small, yet global Japanese firm. The people were very kind and accomodating, but very busy. Most of the members understand English, but are not fluent. There were a handful who could speak their minds quite effortlessly. But make no mistake. Reading in English does not pose a great challenge for them.

With respect to documents, all are in Japanese (with no English translations, of course!). As to be expected since the clients the company is dealing with are Japanese. Even though many of the company members and staff can understand English, business is still conducted in Japanese.

First and foremost, master the language — both written and spoken. I must say it is one of the basic and crucial requirements. Although I was told that English is okay, it is not enough to communicate well with everyone, and it is not enough to support your company and, well, survive in it. To be able to use business Japanese, or 敬語 keigo, is a great advantage. One might not use it in the office per se, but it is still used a lot when doing business.



For a list of the commonly used keigo, check out this website:

Depending on who you’re working for, a black business suit is the go-to attire. One can never go wrong with it. Clean shaven faces for the men, a bit of make-up for the women. Hair all tidy and well kept. Definitely no earrings for the men (in a corporate setting) and the women can enjoy a tiny unintrusive pair.

Juniors, newbies, interns and women act like, shall I say, secretaries. They (we? I didn’t get to do those things mostly because my Japanese wasn’t at par, I think) prepared coffee, answered the phones and the door. Whenever there is a visitor or customer around these people automatically asked if coffee or tea should be prepared. Just like clockwork!

Among other things, being punctual is expected. Punctual means, being in the office 15 minutes or more.The trains run on time all the time, so there is no reason to be late. On a tight budget? Be prepared to be squished and squashed in the crowded train during rush hour.  Don’t hesitate to run. But remember not to bump into other people, like in a Mario game, or you’ll be in trouble.

Lastly, a happy smile and a positive working attitude will go a long way. ^^

3 thoughts on “Being an Intern, Part 2

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