Report from Intern!

My office had the first intern this week! I was so impressed by her intense work and enthusiastic attitude. Here is her report. I hope that she can be successful in international field!   Yoko Matsuda

Hello, my name is Jurin Katayama Flores, I am half-Japanese-half-Filipina, and I will be a senior in high school in an American School in India from August. I am quite passionate with the extra-curricular activity Model United Nations (MUN), and I had the privilege to participate in several conferences from a delegate in IASAS MUN in Jakarta to an Assistant Director in Harvard MUN China. This activity is the source of my interest in international affairs and policies which led me to wonder about the policies in my country. In addition, one of the big core topics that I must study for my IB French exam in the end of senior year is the issue of Migration. Hence adding the two, I was an intern in the Matsuda Immigration Law Office from June 30th to July 6th, 2015. 

My first task was to sweep the floor of the office. It may not sound the most enticing but for me, it was quite an experience due to my lack of cleaning abilities since my school does not practice it like the local Japanese schools. I always took advantage of the already cleaned floors, furniture, and other items so the task taught me the importance in maintaining an office and to realize and appreciate that there is always a “backstage” work done in every situation. 

I spent majority of the first two days pasting receipts onto a paper and organizing them into different months, which resulted in a pile held by a folder. Matsuda-sensei explained that these receipts represented the money spent by the office. If the money spent by the office was subtracted from the total income, the answer would be the profit. The government would see the profit made and then decide on the tax. Every office in Japan did this and the folder was a proof for government officials. This gave me an insight to the government policies in this country and both the cleaning and pasting the receipts gave me a clear idea on how to run a one-person office. 

Throughout the few days, I observed Matsuda-sensei’s work and her interactions with her clients and other offices on the phone. When calling her clients, I noticed that she would first ask how they are doing and have a general chat before going to the details on why she called. I learned that this creates a strong and successful bond and is a great quality that I could use in my everyday life as well as in my future when I enter the world of a workplace. The observation and the talks with Matsuda-sensei helped me understand the visa and immigration policies in Japan. For instance, there are 27 types of visa in Japan that foreigners have to pick! 

On the third day, we visited the Okayama Branch Office of Hiroshima Regional Immigration Bureau to observe its works and the experiences of long-term immigrants in Japan. We saw different nationalities enter and leave the office. We saw how foreigners would come with a friend who is either Japanese or speaks Japanese and fills out a form. They seemed to have a lot of documents to fill out which all sounds quite stressful and just a lot of time and trips to the office spent. However, it is good that the country has a form of migration system and offices even in Okayama in order to remain organized and provide foreigners with opportunities of jobs and/or education. 
Furthermore, I participated in the “Okayama Koukousei Kaigi”: a conference held on June 27th, 2015 for students from different prestigious schools in the Okayama prefectures. I managed to join the conference since Matsuda-sensei was the speaker. She shared her life experiences and how everything led to where she is now. During the conference, we discussed on matters of the prefecture and measures to improve and publicize the area since Okayama is not that known to the point that a television show demonstrated how people are unable to find Okayama on the map. Moreover, people always ask me where in Japan I am from. After they give me confused looks, I must always add “it’s next to Hiroshima and near Osaka” for the look of satisfaction. They also ask me what exactly is in Okayama, which I would then be the one with a confused look. The discussion on the specialties of the prefecture helped me prepare an answer for the next time I have the above conversation and gave me an insight on the subject of development. 

Overall, I enjoyed the week-long experience and know that it will be useful for my future. 

Working Women in A Foreign Country


Recently foreign working women of the same age with me often come to my office. The same age means in their 30's. They are mostly Chinese ladies. I feel a kind of bond with them and I know that they also feel it.

When I lived in the U.S. five years ago, I saw many single Japanese women in their 30's or 40's. About 10-20 years ago, single women in their 30's felt difficulty to live in Japan because Japanese people had a fantasy about marriage. People believed that women who do not get married until 30 were losers of their life. Moreover, Japanese companies were, probably are still, not willing to hire women who are over 35. So women who were in their 30's, single, and have not a career enough to be independent were oppressed by their societies.

I think that some Chinese working women in Japan are "on-the-border ladies". If she is feminine enough, she is probably a wife already. If she is smart enough, she would have a good career in her country. I was also an on-the-border Japanese lady in the U.S.

I ended up returning to Japan and trying to build my own career. That is why I cannot help worry about the Chinese ladies. I want to say to them GANBARE!

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