Week 6

We just spent most of our second and final week in Tatebayashi working in the Kanto production plant, and returned to Tokyo on Friday. We generally spent the first half of each day learning about the workings of the plant, and then the second half working on our individual projects, which mainly involved transcribing more interviews on my part. Also, the results from my survey came in this week and contained a lot of surprises, which I’m excited to delve into more!

[Read more…]

Week 5

This week we shook things up a bit and headed out to work in a small town called Tatebayashi. Since everyone at the Tokyo headquarters is extra busy preparing for a shareholders meeting, they sent Michael and I up here to spend this past week at the company’s Research and Development Center (R&D) and next week at the Kanto Production Plant. The structure of the workdays at R&D involved similar things as our first few weeks in Tokyo: informational tours/presentations, free discussions, the occasional field trip, interviews, and transcribing.

[Read more…]

Week 4

Things recently have honestly been a little hectic with lots going on both at work and in my social life. This week marked the halfway point of the internship, and on Thursday Professor Hamada came to visit the company to participate in a board meeting, review our progress so far, and advise us on our work moving forward. On Tuesday I had one last interview among the headquarters employees, but otherwise I spent most of the week preparing midterm analysis and review to show Professor Hamada. The analysis involved gathering and tidying up data from the nine interviews I had transcribed so far in order to perform word counts and quantitative summaries. Although this part had seemed straightforward, it actually turned out to have some trickier parts and took more time than expected. Also, I had hoped to start doing some thematic analysis this week, but after some pondering and research, I realized that such detailed qualitative work might be a bit out of my league right now. In hindsight it seems obvious that working with such a large amount of broad information might involve some unforeseen challenges, but I suppose that’s just part of the learning process. On the positive side, Professor Hamada helped me realize that there’s still lots to work with even just focusing on the relatively simpler data, and the more deep-dive analysis will serve as good material for future academic research. She also gave me some tips on designing a survey on food habits that will go out among the company employees – I’m looking forward to getting it out there and seeing the results!

[Read more…]

Week 3

This week had a fun mix of things going on in and out of work. At work, I dove into the interviews, talking with at least two employees each day. The variety of people’s lifestyles and opinions really fascinates me, so I feel lucky to have the chance to converse with so many people! On Wednesday afternoon, Michael, Mr. S, and I went on an outing to see one of the company’s cold storage buildings. The inner storage rooms were extremely frigid, but the people there treated us warmly. They explained to us about how the facilities work and did fun demonstrations like blowing bubbles that would instantly freeze and shatter in the air. On Friday, we met for a free discussion with some employees from the customer service department.

[Read more…]

Week 2

This past week has left me feeling more settled into living and working in Tokyo, but has still involved a rapid fire of new experiences. At the beginning of last week at work, we learned and talked about the Marketing, IT, and CSR departments in the last few free discussions. The free discussions let us not only meet new people and get a broad view of how the business works, but also see some of the interesting comparisons and contrasts between Toyo Suisan in Japan and Maruchan Inc. in America. I’ve spent most of the rest of the time during the workdays conducting and transcribing interviews and creating surveys. The company let Michael and I each decide what kind of marketing project we wanted to pursue, so I’ve gotten to focus on researching people’s habits and perceptions related to food and health, meat, and vegetarianism. So far things have gone pretty well – I feel lucky to get to talk with people about such a passion-inspiring subject as food!

[Read more…]