Why welcoming a Japanese intern on board was such a great idea
Did you know?
…that 15 million Japanese people speak English? Quite a number, right? Well, when you look at the bigger picture – the fact is, there are more than 127 million people inhabiting one of 6000 Japanese islands. We can assume that every 8th or 9th person in Japan has some knowledge of the English language.
Another quick fact – even though, the English language in Japan is not as widely used –they are on a whole other level when it comes to economy and new technologies. Japan has the third highest GDP in the world and an advantage of having strong local tech companies that expand globally – as demonstrated by Sony, Panasonic, Hitachi, and more.
Hitachi is a conglomerate company that focuses on IT, electronic, railway or automotive systems that happens to employ a young developer and an UI designer, called Shunsuke. And this is where Resco’s story with an intern from the Japanese company begins. We spent three months with Shun (as we called him) and guess what – he’s that ‘every 8th Japanese that speaks great English’. Perfect for Resco folks, since our skills in Japanese are limited to…well zero.
So, what brings a young Japanese talent to Slovakia, to Resco?
How did you become an intern in Resco? How did you learn about the opportunity to come to Slovakia for 3 months?
Honestly, there were many options to choose from. Hitachi is a huge company, and hence I was very positively surprised when one of the managers contacted me and asked if I wanted to go abroad and learn new things. He introduced me to a program that would allow me to spend three months outside Japan and still work as a developer and UI designer.
I could have gone to France or UK, but the “all-in-one” internship program, I wanted was available only in Slovakia, at Resco. The other ones were mostly oriented to learn English. I thought the other options were more trivial and not so much fun. I knew if I participated on an internship exchange, I could continue doing what I like, plus get to know the local and European culture, at the same time.
The other options I had, were for example, Vietnam or Singapore. I didn’t go for those, since they are close to Japan and their culture is more or less, similar. The European culture and lifestyle is a complete opposite to the Japanese one.
How do you like Slovakia and Europe? What are the main differences compared to Japan and what do you miss the most about your home country?
My first impression was that atmosphere here is much more relaxed. In Japan, everything must be perfect, tip top – especially the timing. However, probably the biggest downside of our culture is that people are quite serious-minded. Slovaks and the rest of Europeans, I guess, are very easy-going and chilled at most times – sometimes even at work. :) Obviously, they take things that matter seriously too. So, I’d say, there is a great balance – Europeans are somewhere halfway in between serious and light-hearted.
People here are very friendly. When I come to a coffee place or a restaurant, waiters ask me how am I doing or if I liked the food. In Japan, people almost never do some extra talking, and they don’t speak much about themselves so openly. European countries – no matter where, all have similar foundations and seem alike to me. I have already visited places like Paris, Vienna, Malta, and the UK during my stay here, and from my experience, I don’t find it that different there. However, I do find Japan a complete another world in parallel with Europe, and still missed it very much.
How do you like working at Resco?
The working environment in Resco is very good, great really. Before coming here, I worked with a team in the United States for some time, while I was in Japan. The way development departments operate, is quite the same around the world. Whether working with Americans, Slovaks, or Japanese developers – we always follow a global standard. Just like in Hitachi, the Resco development team is always made up of a developer/s, designer/s, automation team, testers, and so on.
What are the main differences between the working environment here and in Japan?
The difference is that here, the lead developer or the CEO is closer to developers – both professionally and personally. It’s easy to communicate with anyone from the CEO to guys from other departments. The CEO’s and head development desks are just a few meters away from mine, in the office. Hence, it was easy to approach them whenever and with whatever I requested. I think that’s very important.
On top of things, sales reps and developers are practically sitting next to each other at Resco’s open space premises. We can easily get the feedback from a customer within a short period. In a typical Japanese large company, every department is located – not just on another floor – but even in a different city! Development teams in Japan do not have the opportunity to meet customers and do not have a chance to get feedback. We can get some feedback from the emails in the sales department, but of course that is different and not that efficient.
How were your co-workers at Resco? Are they helpful?
My colleagues are very helpful and friendly. There is also a cultural difference. People in Slovakia try to help me, when I say I am struggling with something, they try to fix the problem. However, in Japan, people try to help, even if you don’t ask – during a process or a project.
I guess, that has something to do with Slovak people being more communicative and open. In general, I think both, Slovak and Japanese people are very kind and helpful.
What are your plans now? What are you going to do when you come back home?
Now, Hitachi, is trying to expand, and export its products to Europe. Hitachi built manufactory companies in France and the UK. It’s a new market for the company, so I think now, there are a lot of new opportunities to get in touch with European companies.
What did you gain from this internship? Did you learn something new in these three months?
I learned a lot, but the most valuable thing is that I had a chance to see the difference of cultures with my own eyes. I had no idea what I was going into before coming to Slovakia and Resco. It was a great starting point to get to know the European culture even better. I would love to come back, because of the friendly people I met. I will certainly miss them.
Shun likes watching movies and reading books in his spare time. He enjoys nice coffees and restaurants on the weekends.
Check out Resco’s demo app to experience the latest updates, including Shun’s inputs! Or if you are looking for a direct conversation with our team, we are always here for you at firstname.lastname@example.org.