Interview with Japanese International Businessman, Ty Fukata

Throughout this semester, my classmates and I have been writing group articles, both opinion and news, on specific regions of the world for our International Current Day Observations course.  Asia Pacific has been my region.  For our last regional assignment, we were assigned an individual interview with someone either from our region, or with an interesting story about the region.

Ty Fukata: COO Taiyo America, Japan

Ty Fukata: COO Taiyo America, Japan

I had the pleasure of interviewing Ty Fukata from Japan.  I received Ty’s contact through a family friend who I told about the interview assignment.  She thought that I would enjoy talking to Ty as I am interested in International Business, and he works for an international corporation.  Since I didn’t know Ty before the interview, besides the few emails we exchanged prior to our Skype call, I wanted to get to know a little about his background before asking about his work and his view on current events in Japan.

Ty was born and grew up north of Tokyo in the Saitama prefecture of Japan.  He studied International Studies and learned English at Tokyo International University.  One very interesting thing that I learned about Ty was that Ty is not his real name, and it is common for Asian people to use an alternative name when they move to the United States.  He expected that his birth name, Toru (pronounced toh-ruh), might be difficult for Americans to pronounce.  Ty said that he was given many choices for an English name from one of his colleagues, and chose Ty because it started with a “T”, like Toru, and was very easy to pronounce.

Ty is the Chief Operating Officer for Taiyo America, the daughter company of the Japanese Taiyo Ink Mfg. Co., a technology company that develops, manufactures and sells printed wiring board materials for computers.  He moved to Carson City, Nevada earlier this year to take on his role in Taiyo America of running the company and expanding the business throughout the nation.  Before joining Taiyo Ink in 2007, Ty worked for another Japanese company that manufactures and sells an electrical component.  For this company he also had international business experiences, working at the company’s daughter company in England for three years and in Germany for two.

I asked Ty what some of the biggest differences he’s experienced were, since moving to the US, in regards to how businesses are run and also culturally.  I couldn’t help but laugh a little at his answer in regards to cultural differences.  He described to me an experience he had on a Southwest Airlines flight, where the flight attendant threw a bag of peanuts at a passenger.  He was shocked at the way the cabin crew for this flight interacted with passengers, because in Japan, he said, it would never happen.  Ty thought that “The meaning of politeness and rude to a customer is different than Japan.  Maybe Japanese style is too much polite.”  I assured him that not all Americans are rude and not all flights on Southwest would be like that; he might even get a crew that sings the safety features of the airplane.

In reference to differences with running a business, Ty said that leadership styles in the US are very different to those of Asian countries.  In Japan and on business trips to other Asian countries, Ty experienced a very hierarchical style of leadership that he calls “Top-down,” where management decides a direction or sets a goal and the people below follow, often without question.  The leadership style Ty has experienced in the US is a “flatter” style, where “frequent communication between Management and his people to achieve a goal is needed.”  He said that this is an obstacle he has had to overcome since leading a company in the US, and that he has to be very logical to do anything in the US, whereas in Top-down, sometimes logic is not appropriate because of the hierarchy-type model.  One thing that he prefers about business in Japan is that motivation of employees can be improved by assigning a challenging task.  He stated, “Of course money is one motivation, but it is not a must.”  In the US he has experienced that money is often the only motivator, especially for routine-work employees, which he says is a very difficult issue for running a business in the US.

Toward the end of our interview, I wanted to know how Ty felt about the international news surrounding the Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan.  He told me that more than 300,000 people are still evacuating from their homes due to the nuclear pollution, which is not actually pollution in some of the areas, but the government has suggested the evacuation to minimize risk if the pollution spreads.  He said that he knows some people who evacuated, and the government needs to consider when they can return home.  Ty also mentioned the fact that the Olympics will be held in Tokyo in 2020, and he said scornfully, “Can you imagine how much we spent to invite and promote Tokyo as a candidate?  It’s $83 million (USD).  Part of this cost should have been used to help evacuees!”

I thoroughly enjoyed my interview with Ty, and I enjoyed hearing his experiences from a career path that I may want to pursue, as well as get some local insight on an international hot topic.

 

Casey Woods

Australia: People and Culture-Eduardo Suarez

Australia: People and Culture

 

While I was interviewing Nubia I could realize that she is a really kind person and that was really willing to help me in the interview giving me as much details as she could about everything I asked her, that help me a lot because the interview was interesting, fluid and friendly.image

Nubia and me mainly talked about the situation that Australia lives nowadays specifically the social aspects that are very important for me.

In the interview we talked about the different kind of people that live in Australia and how is the relation with the foreigners, my first question was how does people live in Australia, Nubia told me that in Australia people work harder and the lifestyle is really different than Spain’s lifestyle, for example, they don’t have as much night life as Spain habitants do. A point to remark is that Nubia thinks Australia is a country of opportunities for qualified people and this kind of people could have an amazing life back there. She also mentioned that Australia has great social security for it’s habitants, and economic and social benefits that give them a good living standard.

Then I asked her to describe the different cultures that they have in Australia and she told me that you can find a great diversity of cultures, she explained that the reason of that diversity was that Australia was colonized by immigrants, so you can find people from almost every other continent, but she told me that in the heart of the city there are a lot of multinational companies from Asian countries.photo

After that, we talked about social problems that Australia is facing nowadays, when asking about immigration she told me that she thinks that Australia is a great host country because they treat really good all the immigrants, although undocumented people live under a very difficult situation because in Australia, the have an exhaustive control of population, so it is impossible to get a job without the needed papers. In her opinion the country doesn’t have racial or social problems because everyone who gets into it know that they have to have a certain behavior in order to fit in the Australian society.

I was looking forward to know her opinion about the actual situation of the country. To that point she told me that Australia is having a big and fast development and it is a country of opportunities, it has no crisis, has a permanent evolution and a system that allows people to easily adapt to.

My last question was about her relationship with Australian people

, how is their personality and ho do the treat foreigns. Nubia’s answer was simple “people are open minded and hospitable”, she also told me that people who go to Australia as visitors or to work over there are well received by the locals.

 

 

 

Australia explain by a young traveler.

Alicia Akins is a young women from Sydney, Australia that is traveling around Asia and Europe, she wants to learn a little bit more from the history, the culture, gastronomy, art and the beauty of each country.

Talking with her and making some comparisons between some countries that she visited already, she said that Australia is a “young” country cause that don´t have many architecture or old civilizations there, so he was so amazing about the culture of other countries in Asia about the culture, the life style of the people and the traditions that they have.

For example she said that if you want to life a natural experience with animal and good weather and the sea you can go to Australia, but if you want to see architecture from different periods of human civilization you could go better to Europe.

The population in Australia is very kind, cheerful, and helper, but the things about other countries like Vietnam, India, Malaysia,  is that they also are very host and you can feel part of them easily and all people try to be kind and polite with you, to have stranger and tourism is very good for them and they care the stranger.

Continue with Australia, there is  good education, but they don´t teach to people some languages, cause the English is the must important language in the world, but now that she traveled, she see that Australia should teach some other languages cause for the tourism that they receive can be easier to talk with someone and they can help the stranger better.

Australia is a very kind country, cause like in many countries that have tolerance and gender equality, cause all the people can have a good job and they don’t going to receive aggressions or something like that. Australia also is a very calm country to live and visit, cause that have big attractions with their beaches and wildlife

When we talk about the economic situation Australia is and strong country, cause that have a less rate of puberty and they really care about the education of the people, so is easier to people to find a good job and also a good salary.

Australia is a country where you can’t enter easy, cause you need a visa that is complicated to get, also if you want to life and work there, you have to do a lot of paperwork cause they just need people that is prepare, you have to have a carrier and also you need a recent work offer.

la foto

 

Written By Daniel Mendez.

An American View on Japan

Political scientist John Campbell was kind and considered to say “Yes” to my interview proposal as it was one of the necessities of the course I was taking. I was lucky enough to have a close friend studying in Japan and she set her best lecturer for me; John Campbell. He has done researches about decision making and public policy in Japan and recently, with a colleague of his, he was focused on healthcare policy of Japan. For the last ten or twelve years since Japan has been acting  long term care for older people he has been working on that policy. That’s not the whole story of his. He has published books, edited books, monographs, peer-reviewed articles, book reviews and many other things that have been published involving researches and studies about Japan and other nations. Recently, he has been working in a paper on his own involving six nations such as Japan, Germany, Italy, USA, England and Sweden.  He is a well-known political scientist in Japan.Image

                How he ended up in Japan is a little bit coincidental when we hear about the story. John Campbell has a PhD from Columbia University on Japanese politics mainly and he graduated in 1973. His journey begins to Japan as he decided to quit school and join the army. Mr. Campbell states that “I didn’t have any particular interest in Japan but when I was, after my freshman year at college I didn’t do so well and so I decided to leave school for a while, I went to the army and I was hoping to be posted to Europe but in fact, I was posted to Japan, actually Okinawa. It was in 1960”. After being posted to Japan, his perspective on Japan changed and he decided to study Japanese language when he went back to USA. Near Japanese language, he studied the history, politics, sociology and even literature. Then, before seven years ago he moved to Japan and he says that he is happy to live in Japan.

When I asked him how he feels to live in Japan as an American when we consider the history between them, his answer was quite interesting. He didn’t mention much about the effects of World War II, on the contrary he mentioned how Japan is influenced from American culture. He states that “American culture has always been important in Japan. They watch a lot of American movies, they listen to American music for example rock and roll, certainly enormous and rap, punk, whatever. America has enormous influence in Japan but people still make… Japanese music has been influenced by American music. Jazz is a great big thing in Japan. They are Japanese jazz players but they are more likely American jazz fans. That’s all culturally”. That was surprising to hear for me because personally, I found their culture very different from each other.

As I said, he is a political scientist specialist therefore he knows everything. I asked him Japan’s position in its region and worldwide.  He states that “Japan’s economy was wonderful in 70s and 80s. They grew so fast. Their products were so popular. This popularity made people think that Japan is a rising power”. However, after 1990 things changed due to the economic bust in Japan. Therefore, he thinks that nowadays people don’t see Japan as a huge power but Japanese economy is very important to world. The fact is when we consider Japan in Asia, Japan used to be by far the most powerful actor and now, in many ways it is still the most powerful one but China has made a serious development in Asia, as well. He says that “Over the decades, Asia’s influence increased around the world so if Japan could be aggressive in politics as China, they would have a more strong place in political and economic relations”.

When I asked him about his life in Japan, he said he is very happy to live in Japan but he travels a lot to other places and to his country, USA a lot. I asked if there are any major problems in Japan for citizens, he made a little comparison between Turkey because of the fact that, I’m Turkish. He said that, they don’t have problems like headscarf, Kurds, religion etc. but he said that there will be a huge consumption tax raise because of the debt Japan has. That will affect the citizens clearly. Rather than that, Japan has good standards to live in.Image

At the end of the interview, he told me about his wife who travels a lot to USA and grandchildren that live in America. In fact, one of them is in a rock band and also learning Turkish to go to Turkey. That was a nice coincidence for me to hear. I hope his grandson will do well with his band. Then I thanked him for his time and his answers. He said that it was nice to talk to me, too. I had a good time talking to him as well. I learned lots of things about Japan, Asia and their politics. Then, we hung up but he was very polite and told me that I can contact him whenever I want and right after the interview, he sent me his CV and schedule to help me. It was so nice to meet Mr. John Campbell.

 

SIMGE ICEN

OBSERVATORIO DE ACTUALIDAD

Interview with Jenya Sanjeeva, Russia

la foto kopyaAs we all know, there are many varied cultures in the world but asian part is more different than the others. Thats why, to learn more about asian region, I made an interview with Jenya Sanjeeva. Jenya,34, is from asian part of russia, syberia, republic of buryatia. It is a small republic in russia where asian people live. She is a chinese proffesor. 10 years ago, she studied Chinese and Korean language. Actually she studied philology that includes language, history, culture, literature and everything about china and korea. She chose this major because china is one of the biggest countries in the world and also has a huge population. She chose not only language but also to know everything about china. She emphasize that Its very important to know their behaviors, mentality, culture to deal with the people living there. After she is graduated, she went to china to work as a chinese teacher in the public school.

Education is almost the most important thing in asian region. For many years, education has being affective on people lives and life styles. Asian people have strict point of view about instruction. That’s why I asked to Jenya how she would describe chinese and russian education policy. She said “I can compare china and Russian education system that is quite different from others. Russian educational system is considered the best in the world. Its not just because of the quality of education but also they evaluate it as an obligation. Also, Chinese teachers are too strict about their students. What Chinese teachers were doing in the ancient time, beating students when they make mistakes. They keep doing this right now too. When students don’t do their homework and come to school, they punish them. “ As she said, education is really hard in Asian region. It’s challenging for students and families who try to back them up. Most of the families don’t accept failure so they make extreme pressure on their children. She added  “Chinese are very hard working people and they study a lot. Besides, education is expensive in Asia so parents cannot spend too much money on their children’s education.  That’s why; children have to take it seriously, do their best and pass all the exams in time.  There is no other option.  Moreover, china has a huge population.  There is a big competition between people.  If you don’t study well and be prepared for your job then someone else will take your place easily.” Obviously, education put people in a formidable situation.  Most of the people leave from their region because they don’t want to continue their lives in difficult standarts.  Jenya came here 5 years ago. She thinks that coming to spain was kind of remedy for her.  Jenya said she came here to increase her knowledge about Spain and Spanish. She thinks that languages are very important but the more significant thing is being aware of the mentality, culture and behaviors about that country.  Also, she wanted to teach Chinese and Chinese culture to the European people.  Because it’s quite different from the rest of the world.  She added “If you want to deal with Chinese people you will need to know about the form of the culture.”

As she said before, she speaks many languages which are; Chinese, Russian, Korean, English and Spanish. Being able to know many languages helps us to communicate with people all around the world. It provides  us to understand other people’s point of view.  I asked Jenya’s opinion about that. She said “Obviously, it better to speak another language. That makes everything easier to communicate with people, to understand them.  When you speak somebody else’s language, the person’s attitudes towards you are pretty disparate.  That means that you know about his or her country and culture. People are more interested to talking to you. “

Well she is absolutely right, the more we know about the languages, the better communication facilities we have. Communication and media  are very important. But, in most of the countries, there is media censorship. Therefore, we talked about media in asian region.  Jenya said “ Of course there are some topics forbidden to write about. Chinese are very traditional people. Everything on the televisions or newspapers has connection about the traditions. If something against to their traditions, they don’t allow television channels to broadcast it. In Russia, alcohol is forbidden to publish on televisions or newspapers. Also, there is a corruption in politics in Russia so it is not allowed to broadcast too much information about politics. If people are protesting the government or trying to support the idea that they want, government doesn’t allow the newspapers or televisions to talk about that. Because government has the power and money, it directs the media as it happens all over the world.”

Finally we talked about cultural differences between Asian region and Europe. “Asian culture is really different. People respect their traditions and live according to them.  If you have business with Asian people, it’s better for you to know about the traditions, holidays, what is welcome or not welcome when you meet with them. Otherwise, they are not willing to make business with you.  For example, it’s not appropriate to ask to Chinese people how many kids they have because only one child is allowed in china. Also, if you want to have another kid you have to pay a lot of money. That’s why it’s not proper to talk about that. Besides, Chinese people believe in superstition. Number 4 doesn’t exist in china. Also, unlike Europe, you cannot give alcohol or liquids as a gift. Because it means that, you wish to have fast and bad life for other person. ”  she said.

In conclusion, as a professor, Jenya recommended that except learning languages, reading more about everything, travelling, being open minded  would help us to improve ourselves in our fields.

Emine Topcu

Mt. Sinabung Danger Alert Level at “Caution”

Mt. Sinabung Spewing Smoke and Ash in Karo Regency, North Sumatra, Indonesia (Photo: 25 November 2013 Ulet Infansasti-Getty Images, Global Post)

Mt. Sinabung Spewing Smoke and Ash in Karo Regency, North Sumatra, Indonesia (Photo: 25 November 2013 Ulet Infansasti-Getty Images, Global Post)

It has been three years since Mt. Sinabung, an active volcano in North Sumatra, Indonesia last erupted.  Since its eruption in 2010, which resulted in the death of at least two citizens and the displacement and evacuation of 30,000 others from their towns and homes, the volcano had not shown many signs of action, and prior to 2010 the volcano had not been active in over 400 years (BBC News Asia).  That is, until this past September, when activity was first reported again.  Since the activity in September, the danger alert level of the volcano has been at “stand-by.”  This danger level is just used as a precautionary alert to warn of the possibility of greater activity, but that danger was not imminent.  However, according to BBC News after this weekend when ash and rocks were launched high into the air, the level of alert for the possible danger of Mt. Sinabung was raised from “stand-by” to “caution,” which is the highest alert status for volcano danger.

 

"Ash and rocks have been raining over the area near the volcano's crater" (Photo: Getty Images, BBC News Asia)

“Ash and rocks have been raining over the area near the volcano’s crater” (Photo: Getty Images, BBC News Asia)

 Channel News Asia has reported that the eruption of the Volcano In Sumatra has prompted the National Disaster Agency as well as the Indonesian government to call for all citizens of the surrounding area, within 5 kilometers (3.1 miles) of the volcano, to evacuate their homes.  As of yesterday, over 18,000 people have fled their homes since the volcano’s first signs of activity, with just over 12,000 in government evacuee camps, and many in poor health due to respiratory issues (ABC News).  An Indonesian government official, Robert Peranginangin, said in a statement to Channel News Asia that people are very scared, especially after the severe damage and displacement caused by the volcano’s last activity, three years ago.  He said, “They ran helter-skelter out of their homes and cried for help” after the eruptions this weekend.

According to an article released by the Jakarta Post when Mt. Sinabung showed its first signs of activity this year, volcanologists monitoring Mt. Sinabung’s activity were reporting that it would be very difficult to predict the severity and consistency of the volcano’s imminent future eruptions.  A member of the North Sumatra branch of the Indonesian Geologists Association, Jonathon Tarigan, announced that he feared that the earlier eruptions “might serve as a sign of a looming massive [earth] quake in Karo Regency [of Indonesia],” and this is still a great fear in the area (the Jakarta Post).

Villagers watch as smoke from Mt. Sinabung's eruptions travels through the air. (Photo: Dedy Zulkifli, CTV News)

Villagers watch as smoke from Mt. Sinabung’s eruptions travels through the air. (Photo: Dedy Zulkifli, CTV News)

The recent eruptions are not only affecting the citizens living in the nearby area and towns, but it has also impeded many flight plans from nearby airports.  According to the Jakarta Post planes with routes that normally go through or near the volcano’s surroundings have been warned not to fly over the surrounding area.  One international airport in the nearby regency of Deli Serdang has had a great deal of flights affected by the eruptions from Mt. Sinabung, and one airline has decided to halt all of its operations due the immense amounts of ash in the air and flight paths (the Jakarta Post).

China’s Industrial Mess Pollutes Mount Fuji

"Mercury Rising" at iconic Mt. Fuji  Source: Kyodo, Japan Times

“Mercury Rising” at iconic Mt. Fuji Source: Kyodo, Japan Times

China’s decisions not to take precautions when burning Mercury, and their denial of its effects on the environment are signs of a reckless disregard to the health and environmental dangers of this type of pollution.

Tensions are high between China and Japan over the pollution occurring at Mount Fuji, due to China’s primary role in the mercury levels rising.  China’s high mercury levels and pollution are damaging Mount Fuji in a very bad way.  The polluted air is affecting this UNESCO world heritage site terribly. Burning coal and high mercury levels are considered to be strong causes for the damage.  The higher-than-expected readings are likely due to Chinese factories burning coal, which releases mercury and arsenic, which, according to Taipei Times, also had elevated readings.

China's mercury burning is causing a great deal of pollution the the beautiful Mount Fuji.  Source: UNEP News Center

China’s mercury burning is causing a great deal of pollution the the beautiful Mount Fuji. Source: UNEP News Center

After industry showed a great amount of growth in development in China, it seems like environmental causes don’t matter to them anymore, as they are earning more money. Since they don’t take any of the necessary precautions to prevent these high levels of pollution, we can say that the environment does not seem to be important to China.

A Japanese research shows that most of the pollution in the air has been coming from china’s direction.  “Whenever readings were high, winds were blowing from the continent [China],” said Osamu Nagafuchi, the lead scientist on the study (Taipei Times).  As China continues recklessly ruining one of the world’s heritages, Japan, along with many other countries, has decided to give them a warning by way of United Nations action.

This issue creates quite a bit of tension between the two important Asian powers, China and Japan. Although Japan appears to be of the right mind set on the situation, it seems as if China has no plans of backing down or taking caution of their pollution.  Local media in China was flooded with angry Chinese citizens’ online comments, while Japanese readers registered their protests as well.

As a solution to this pollution problem, the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) designed an agreement to reduce the burning of heavy metals such as mercury to prevent emissions and releases of mercury, which will hopefully reduce its dangerous effects on health and the environment.  According to the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) Reporting Services, 109 countries signed the deal, which has been named the “Minimata Convention on Mercury”.  It seems like China needs to make peace with nature, otherwise tensions between other countries and them will continue to rise over the pollution to this UNESCO World Heritage Site.

In our opinion, China needs to consider a great change in what they are doing.  Strong precautionary measures need to be taken when dealing with strong pollutants, such as mercury.  This type of pollution not only ruins our world’s natural beauties, like Mount Fuji, but it also affects changes in our earth’s climate, which can contribute to natural disasters.  These disasters can happen anywhere, anytime. Therefore, China needs to make strides in cleaning up their pollution levels, because when disaster strikes, their industrial success is not what is going to save them. Love your world; protect it.