Upon hearing about KCJS’ CIP requirement, I found myself struggling with 2 possible choices. The first was to pursue my interests and seek some kind of personal project; examples being to learn a form of Japanese craft such as an instrument or Karate or something along those lines, and the other being to pursue an opportunity that would be help me in finding a job after college. I decided upon the latter, participating in Impact HUB Kyoto. What initially drew me to HUB was the laid-back environment and overall emphasis on being a self-starter. This did not change throughout the semester, as the laid-back environment and encouragement of pursuing individual interests and projects did not cease to exist. As an example, I initially started on a Facebook/social media project where I would supplement HUB Kyoto’s Facebook page with my own page in English. However, after a period of research, I had second thoughts pertaining to the practicality of such a project, and instead, worked on translating newsletters from Japanese into English. The flexibility and encouragement permeating through HUB was a huge positive for me, as it allowed me to pursue projects related to my interests; social media marketing and translation, whilst volunteering under an entrepreneurship network that could help me out in the future, as far as finding work.
On the topic of the HUB network, another aspect that greatly interested me was the overall atmosphere and manner in which HUB is run. Because its members are so laid-back and emphasize self-starting, HUB stands in firm contrast to my image of a stereotypical Japanese business. One characteristic of culture shock I have experienced is how intense Japanese working ethics and culture is, and after being involved with HUB for a period of time, I am very happy to see that although the Japanese salaryman life is not particularly all fun and games, there are always exceptions, of which is exemplified by HUB. Granted, HUB is a worldwide network of entrepreneurs, however it is encouraging to know that if I were to absolutely want to try and pursue opportunities in Japan in the future, I am not necessarily confined to the never-ending hustle of a typical Japanese corporation.
Overall, I am happy to have been involved with HUB Kyoto. There have certainly been times where it felt like actual work as opposed to a fun way to get involved in the Kyoto community, but in retrospect the opportunities to pursue projects such as social media marketing in a Japanese context and translation work, as well as the experience of feeling the positive community of HUB first-hand are truly an invaluable experience for me. If my time in Kyoto had been longer, and my schedule was not so confined by school and the home-stay, I feel as if HUB would had been exactly the kind of opportunity I was looking for, as far as doing something fun and productive in Japan for an indefinite period of time.
It sounds like you really hit the jackpot! It must have been really cool to get firsthand experience with work pertinent to your post-graduation goals. Did you find it to be a good networking opportunity? I’m glad you had such a positive experience!
I wasn’t expecting to have an opportunity to do career-related stuff here during study-abroad, so it definitely was a pleasant surprise! While I did meet a lot of friendly people, unfortunately most of the HUB events took place later in the evenings, so they were hard for me to attend as a KCJS student living in a homestay. I would have loved to attend more events and network more, and am sad to say I wish I could go back and do more of that.