On the 27th of January, 2018, a student from Tokyo University of Foreign Studies (TUFS) interned at an industry seminar held at the Japan Center in St. Petersburg. The seminar featured a talk by guest-speaker Sasao Yosuke entitled Japanese Employed at Russian Companies – How can we Appreciate our Differences? Mr. Sasao is the vice-president of Severstal-SMC-Vsevolozhsk, a company established in 2010 as a joint venture of the Russian company Severstal and Mitsui & Co., Ltd.; They are selling the steel goods in the European part of Russia and also exporting the goods to the Baltic states and northern Europe.
During his talk, Mr. Sasao placed on emphasis on the need for mutual recognition of cultural differences, citing examples of everyday workplace problems that erupted due to cultural misunderstandings. His argument that accepting such differences, and even finding enjoyment in them, is a key to business success met with considerable interest on the part of the audience.
Prior to the seminar, the TUFS student assisted in helping with the seminar facilities and the post-seminar gather, as all as acting as the representative for the Japan Center, and holding a pre-seminar meeting; they also acted as the MC for the seminar itself.
Below are the impressions of the student.
What I felt most strongly as a result of this seminar was just how important studying is in fostering the skills of problem solving and stress control that are so key to my future job-hunting and career plans. As Mr. Sasao noted several times, its no exaggeration to say that living in Russia can be quite stressful from a Japanese perspective given all the kinds of problems which can arise in Russia but never would in Japan. However, I came to feel that it is possible to forge one’s one path if one understands the differences in culture and values, and can come to accept Russia and Russians.
Overview of the Internship
Date: January 27th, 2018
Venue: The Japan Center, St Petersburg (#34-N, 3F, 69-71 A, Marata street, St. Petersburg, 191119, Russia)
Japan Center host:
Matsubara Hitoshi － Head of the St. Petersburg Japan Center
One TUFS student (financially supported)