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Victoria Watts

Final Report

Preface

During Christmas 2009 I packed my bags and boxes, but the latter into my attic and set out to Japan with a minimal plan: I wanted to study the language and work there for a year.
Now, a little over 12 months later, I am back in Switzerland, sorting my pictures and floating in memories and impressions. The job I found allowed me to spend a lot of time talking with Japanese people of all ages and backgrounds and when I re-read my notes I realise how much they taught me.

As a sociologist I enjoy contemplating and analysing everyday life. This report is a collection of quirks, common sense assumptions and snapshots of Japanese society. It is of little academic value as the collection and interpretation is subjective. Some insights will be shared by short-term visitors. Others, I am sure, require one to have lived and worked within the Japanese society. For that I am very grateful – what an experience it has been!
In this report I will review my year and experiences. I will start with the cornerstones of my year: arriving, studying and finding a job. The main focus of this final report is set on a number of peculiarities which caught my attention and which I find noteworthy.
I am deeply indebted to the Swiss Japanese Chamber of Commerce who supported this year generously, especially Mr Paul Dudler. In Japan I met Mari Miyamura who opened so many sliding doors for me to peek into the Japanese soul and without whom my experience would have not been as wonderful as it was.