[From February Issue 2015]
“When I wanted to learn a second foreign language, I decided to choose Japanese,” RIO Tina from China says. “Japan was one of the countries I found appealing. I found it interesting that Japan, while being a developed country, properly preserved its old traditions. In addition, Japanese and Chinese businesses are tightly bound together.”
After graduating from Shanghai University, Rio came to Japan in March 2008 and studied Japanese at Aichi International Academy in Nagoya City, Aichi Prefecture for two years. “It was a very productive two years. Not only was I able to study Japanese, but I was very satisfied with the level of support I received in my everyday life, which made my stay in Japan very secure,” says Rio.
By continuing to work a variety of part time jobs while going to school, Rio’s Japanese ability improved greatly. Wanting to further her Japanese studies, Rio enrolled in the junior year of Nanzan University Business Administration Department in 2010 and majored in management environment theory. “The joy of studying a language is that you can easily gauge how much you have advanced,” says Rio.
“I was glad when I was able to give directions around town to a Japanese person. In addition, I became able to properly articulate my thoughts in a sentence. When my composition won Takushoku University’s International Collaboration and International Understanding Award, I was very happy,” says Rio. “I think katakana is very difficult. Even when the word derives from English, I had a hard time as the pronunciation can be completely different. In addition, many names for people and places are read differently, which was puzzling.”
Rio says she loves everything about Japanese food. “I especially like white flesh fish, oyster, and sushi. I often go to the standing sushi restaurants. Also, I always admire Japan’s clean environment and the courtesy of its people.”
Rio now does sales work for a specialist food wholesaler in Tokyo. She is in charge of alcoholic beverages and corresponds with the major Japanese supermarket buyers. She uses Japanese at work and also English when dealing with imports. She says it is pleasant to suggest a product or sales space, while taking buyers’ interests into account.
“I don’t deal well with the crowds in Tokyo. Rush hour here reminds me of my hometown, Shanghai,” Rio says with a smile. To recharge her batteries after a stressful work week and to get away from the crowds, on her days off she drives to the beach or plays golf with friends and colleagues.
“There are many differences between China and Japan. In China it’s important to assert yourself strongly; you’ll lose out if you do not state your intentions in front of others. In contrast, in Japan it’s normal to state your opinion after assessing the situation. As they say in Japan, I feel it’s important to ‘read between the lines.’ At times people can be excessively sensitive to the moods of others, but it’s also a virtue,” Rio says.