Week 7

At work back in Tokyo this week, Michael and I have been going full gear into getting ready for our final presentations next Wednesday. To be honest, things are getting kind of stressful. I think I’ll get where I need to be with my presentation by Wednesday, but I’ve been worrying about it a lot, especially since several important board members will come to watch us. Working with a large amount of broad qualitative data like the interviews has been a new challenge for me, and I’ve found it difficult at times to figure out how to approach the analysis and summarize the most important results. It’s helped so far to talk things out with people and to remember to stick to the basics rather than overthinking things.

 

Conducting this research project has made me realize that the process of figuring out how to do things can be just as crucial and challenging as actually doing them. From the beginnings of deciding what questions to ask and how to ask them, to finding a transcription software for the interviews, to the later stages of analysis, every part of the process has required a lot of consideration of what seems like the best method. Even seemingly-simple parts like the word count analysis involved asking myself questions like, “what should count as a single phrase? Where do I draw the line between similar yet slightly different meanings?” Sometimes there were how-to guides out there, but more often not. I wanted to do everything the right way to get the best data and answers, but sometimes it became necessary to accept the fact that there wasn’t necessarily a perfect method out there, and all I could do was try my best and learn along the way. Looking back, I see a lot of things that I could have done differently for more reliable data, and a lot of resources and methods I could have used to make things easier on myself. But the only way I know those things now is because I learned by struggling through earlier, and next time I’ll know how to do things better.

 

Another thing which has taken up a lot of time and energy this week, although a less crucial matter, was researching and booking hotels for an upcoming trip. My friend Olivia and I are heading to a hot spring town next weekend to celebrate the completion of my internship. We’re really looking forward to trying out the famous Japanese onsen, so despite the stress of things recently, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel that will make the efforts worth it! My coworkers have also helped brighten up this week, from our R&D tutors taking a two hour train ride from Tatebayashi to Tokyo in order to hang out with Michael and I last weekend, to our Garden Club and English Club companions sharing their company and stories, to our desk mates in the Diversity Department room treating us with snacks during the workdays. So many people here are so deeply kind! I’m starting to get a bittersweet ache from the thought that we’ll have to say goodbye to everyone in just a week. I feel ready to go home and see my family, cuddle my pets, cook and eat familiar foods, and so on. But at the same time, there are so many incredible people I’ve met and experiences I’ve had in Japan, and becoming more distant from them will be difficult.

 

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While our R&D tutors were visiting, we went to see Sensōji, apparently the oldest temple in Tokyo.

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For the 4th of July, Michael and I went out for burgers like true Americans, even if the burgers didn’t quite look like the ones at home!

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One of the many snacks our coworkers shared with us, salty lemon candies. I’ve never seen that flavor combo in the states, but it tasted much better than I expected!

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