As we’re rolling through Naka the last week staring out at the small farms and giant power lines that dominate the landscape, I wasn’t sure how to feel. It’s kinda like work/Japan is chewing gum that still has some flavor left. I’ve been here long enough now that the weirdness has settled down, and I no longer hit my head on something everyday (now only on occasion). That said, I’m still looking forward to getting back to Ann Arbor. I’ll have a month off before school starts again which will be full of camping and seeing friends.
Work has taught me a lot about brewing and regular factory operations. I’ve gone from an on-the-surface understanding of beers and fermentation to an intermediate level now. At this point I can walk into almost any bar and annoy both bartenders and servers alike with questions and perspectives about a wide range of brews and the process that created them. One thing I wish was different about my specific internship is that I wish I had a greater in depth knowledge of the ingredients in the beer. Even with the educational shortcomings of the internship, the work experience has been amazing. It helped me to realize what things I want out of a career (working hours, working environment, type of work) and also helped me to greatly diversify my employment experience. I plan on continuing in the beer, wine, and spirits industry next year, although I’m not sure if it will be in a factory. I’m thinking of trying for a merchandising position within a large company. Getting into sales and market analysis.
For anyone considering working in Japan I would give a few pieces of advice. 1. Be prepared to put in long hours and be more serious about the job than in the USA. I found that a jovial attitude is not common among many Japanese I worked with. 2. Know at least some Japanese. I had to learn basic phrases and words for everyday work with my coworkers. If you plan on talking to any girls or random people on the street, English ain’t gonna cut it. 3. Adapt and overcome. So much in Japan will be weird for the average American. The biggest problem I had was not being able to read. Being able to discard comforts of home and seeking out new and different things that become comfortable is a technique that will help you fit into the new environment.
Overall, I’m really happy to do this internship. It provided me with a lot of experience that I think will stand out on my resume going forward. It also helped to focus my interests in my future career. I look forward to where I can take my passion next.