Well, it’s been both an exciting and difficult experience, but most of all refreshing and meaningful to be part of the LINC program that gave me much insight on how certain businesses run which depended not only on its national culture, but also on each company’s philosophy and collective vision. The trip went much more smoothly then I thought it would, because right before the trip, I was slightly worried (just slightly) about getting lost, getting into an unforeseen accident, or some other kind of disaster that would have given me major stress and distract me from enjoying myself in Tokyo. Okay, I did get lost once right before the sumo match. I distracted myself and did not look up. If only I did, I would have noticed the group was leaving and could have seen the match on time without any inconvenience. I don’t know what I felt during that time; it must have been a little amusement at my own situation, annoyance at my own carelessness and the mess I was dealing with, and frustration at the possibility of not watching sumo live. While I was dealing with this unexpected problem I learned that I had to stay alert at all times both mentally and physically with my whole heart and aching feet. Nevertheless, I was still able to enjoy the sumo match; how I made it is a long story (which I definitely cannot explain because I didn’t know I’d be writing this much already).
Despite some difficulties I had during the trip such as getting lost and occasionally (or was it frequently?) having trouble communicating with the Japanese, I still enjoyed the people there for their hospitality and willingness to help even foreign strangers like me. I felt during the whole trip that people in Japan were generally cooperative and that their mindset is a little more focused on depending on others or being helpful because of the importance of bond, which is part of Japan’s cultural value. I felt this not only while interacting with people on the streets or in shops and restaurants, but also in business meetings we had with the companies. One cultural value or principle for example was the simplicity of Uniqlo’s casual clothes and how the shirts with different colors were ordered based on the brightness of the colors. There were also other things such as the quiet working atmosphere and importance of effort, which seems to be implemented in all of the companies in that the workers must have strong ambition to succeed. I also liked how each company used part of the positive side of Japanese culture while also applying some of their own values as a company, which led to unique business approaches. Rakuten, for example, has this unique model B2B2C in order to create a more convenient and exciting experience for users, believing that this would make a stronger mutual bond between the company and its customers, leading to more loyalty. Pasona has its own value of creating a happy work environment and being eco-friendly, which suits its main goal of contributing to society by helping not only strangers but people in the company.
Overall, I definitely think that joining LINC Tokyo was worth it, and that there were much more to gain than lose from the trip. The experience had much more value than the time and money I spent preparing for Tokyo.