9 min read
Yuzuki changed her job from a plastic sales position to a cosmetics manufacturer last year. In the interview just before this job change, I was able to ask about the circumstances leading up to this career shift and her enthusiasm for the future. What she taught us current students was the potential of "speaking out."
Name: Yuzuki Watanabe
Graduation year: 2018 Asia Pacific Studies
University Activities: Grand Valley State University (USA) Exchange, overseas exchange preparation program Super Ryugaku Course (SRC), Basic Academic Program for OverSeas Education (BASE), TA (Workshop, Summer School Teaching Assistant), Tropic Salsa Representative, Theater Company 39 Degrees, Student Exchange Advisor (SEA)
Tell us about your current job.
We are a textile company that sells special plastics. For example, the smartphone camera you have is actually made up of 5 to 7 plastic lenses per camera. Recently, triple cameras have become commonplace, so it is this plastic lens that has a larger market growth than the main body of smartphones. It's my job to sell plastics for this special purpose. Most smartphone lens manufacturers are Taiwanese and Chinese, and unfortunately there are only one or two Japanese manufacturers. Therefore, most of my customers are Chinese manufacturers, and I often went on business trips to China before the COVID-19 pandemic. Currently, we are conducting remote sales activities in collaboration with the sales staff of a local subsidiary in China.
Please tell us how you got to your current job.
I did all my job hunting through on-campus recruitment. At that time, I didn't know what I wanted to do or what I wanted to achieve through my work. I thought that if I applied for jobs to companies that expressly wanted APU students, the chance of a mismatch would be less likely. So why did I choose my current company in particular? From the start, I wanted a good work-life balance. I heard from senior employees that the company's philosophy is "improvement of quality of life" and that also applies to employees, so that is one big reason. I also heard good reviews from my friends and senior classmates at APU, so I decided to join the company as soon as I got the job offer.
Please tell us the things you were grateful you got to do in APU.
I spoke into words to the things I wanted to do. Even if there is something you feel in your heart you want to try, there are times when it ends there and you can’t or don’t take action. However, if you try to voice them just a little, you’ll find surprisingly that paths open for you. That’s what I realized at APU.
For example, I went on exchange to Grand Valley State University in the United States to study criminology, which is a discipline not found in APS. I had always liked mystery dramas, and I was interested in criminology because even though there are many crimes in Japan, there are few opportunities to learn about them as an academic discipline. So, I considered studying abroad to learn criminology, and by consulting with my senior classmates, I was able to hear the stories of people who learned studies not found at APS at their study abroad destination. After that, I was able to enter the criminology department at my exchange school, and when I returned to Japan, all credits were approved.
Besides that, I really wanted to get involved in the summer camp that triggered me to enroll in APU. In the spring of my 4th year, I for some reason began to talk about this with office staff and it just so happened they were considering recruiting summer school supporters. I was able to slip in and get involved right before graduation.
There is various advice I could give for each year, but I think the thing that can be said for all students is that, "If you have something you want to try, say it out loud." What do you feel like doing in your heart right now? If there is no one close you can speak to, I can listen, so please speak out.
Please tell us how your activities at APU and studying abroad relate to what you are doing today.
The first is the ability to collaborate with people from different backgrounds. I think the thing everyone experiences, struggles, and overcomes many times at APU is the difficulty of communication between different cultures. I realized that this is not an ability that can only be demonstrated in an environment where people of different nationalities are gathered, but an ability that can be utilized in a wide variety of places. For example, my current workplace is a "science company," so there are many coming from science graduate schools, from technical positions, and men in their 50s. Their common sense for me is not common sense in many situations. Still, I think that I managed to make it because of the ability to collaborate with people from different backgrounds that I cultivated at APU.
Please tell us your vision for the future.
Currently, my career vision, which was unclear at the time I was job hunting, has become a little clearer, and I am about to take a new step. When I chose my current company, I focused only on the corporate philosophy and did not take the content of the job seriously. While working for a business-to-business company, I realized once again that I wanted to be closely involved with the world through the products I was involved in, which I had in my mind since I was at APU. From this summer, I will change jobs to Kose Co., Ltd., a business-to-consumer company, where I can directly interact with consumers. I had an internship experience at Kose when I was in university, and there was someone who remembered me in the company, which landed me the job. After I transfer, I plan to make use of my current experience to work in the Asian region, but after gaining experience, I would like to take on the challenge of product planning using the in-house recruitment system. Cosmetics have traditionally been thought of as women's products, but recently they are becoming more and more for individuals regardless of gender or age to beautify themselves. More than anything, our goal is to create a world where each and every one of us can express ourselves through cosmetics regardless of gender and creed.
Another goal I have for the future is to develop toys that will help children grow. While studying abroad in the United States, I had the opportunity to come into contact with juvenile delinquency while studying criminology. There, I learned how much of an impact connection with parents and locals in childhood has on the rest of one’s life. From this, I have set a big goal to be involved in the creation of toys that will help children’s development. If we can actually develop such toys, we would like to make ones that are suitable for the diverse environment of today that anyone can enjoy regardless of gender.
Please tell us your message for current students.
Looking at SNS etc., I feel that many APU students today are doing a lot of different activities. I think it's an environment where some think I'll do my best by looking at the efforts of those around me, and on the contrary, there are others who see such people online and compare themselves and feel depressed. I often found myself in the latter camp. For example, even if I had short-term goals while in school, I had difficulty finding long-term goals for what I want to do in the future. When I saw someone who knew what they wanted and consistently pursued their future dreams upon entering school, I sometimes worried, “Just what am I doing?” In my case, no matter how many programs I participated in and how much self-analysis I did, I couldn't find out exactly what I wanted to do in the future. But I think it's just that I didn't have enough cards to realize what I wanted to do. If someone is worried about not being able to find what they want to do in the future, it may not be that they have nothing they want to do, but that they do not have enough experience to realize what they want to do. In my case, I'm starting to realize my future dreams little by little because I had experienced the exact opposite working for a BtoB maker. You may feel depressed comparing yourself to those around you, but please use that experience as a basis for accumulating your original experiences with APU and increasing the number of cards in your life! I will support you no matter where on earth I am.
The name says it all: student Organizations Loop.A.S. main goals are to connect APU alumni and the current students and to make chances for APU students through a variety of activities and events. And their activities are for both Alumni and Students. They work with the APU Alumni Association to create opportunities for alumni and students that they can meet, share knowledge, and gain better understanding of life after APU/in APU. The Student Blog reprints interviews with alumni conducted by Loop.A.S.