Last December 2018, amidst the hustle and bustle of the Yuletide season, 2 employees from Envizion Philippines were sent on a tour that’s definitely one for the books. Let’s read on as Janice Pensan (Operations Team Supervisor) and Maita Encabo (Training Team Supervisor) recount their splendid and unforgettable week in Japan.
December 2018 was indeed a plot twist.
At 4 in the morning, we headed to the airport to catch our connecting flight to Japan and yet the fact that we will be seeing the “Land of the Rising Sun” in a few hours still felt surreal. We thought, “it’s just another flight going somewhere”, but together in this state of disbelief we had the task to get ourselves to Japan.
We arrived around 7:30 in the evening and our tropical outfit proved nothing to the frosty 3 degree temperature in Japan. Narita airport was the first place that I ever felt omotenashi.
Everyone in the airport was polite and helpful to us as we passed through the regular flight protocols. The airport was clean and organized and there were ground staff that directed you where to go. It was a relief considering we only had a handful of Japanese expressions with us.
We were then picked up by a school sales team member and we rode the train to our hotel. We noticed that everyone in the train were quiet. They mostly used their smartphones listening to music or reading something and this was a very peaceful train ride. From where we come from, daily commute is always full of people talking loudly on their phones or talking loudly to a friend riding with them.
Upon arriving at the hotel, we quickly settled in to warm ourselves up. Our throats were dry from breathing in the cold air! We took a good night’s sleep to prepare for the next day.
Giddy for our first day to work, we arrived at RareJob’s office at 8:30 AM! Business hours start at 10 AM but it seemed like we were still attached to the Philippine’s time zone!
Day 1 – Meeting our Counterparts
Monday was very fulfilling; we had several meetings with our counterparts and we learned more about how they do their business in Japan. It also gave us a clearer understanding on how we can support each other. This was also the day where we first had a taste of Japan’s hamburg steak. We didn’t expect the serving to be quite filling that it was difficult to finish!
Also, one thing we noticed that is very common in Japan is the existence of vending machines. This provided us with so much excitement as there were milk tea and coffee products readily available. The only challenge was figuring out how to use it which we of course did as Maita had been buying several milk tea bottles from vending machines during our stay.
We capped the day off with a welcome party in an Izakaya at Harajuku with high spirits for the adventure that awaits us on our second day.
Day 2 – Shibuya-Harajuku Sight-Seeing
It would be an understatement if we would say that we were exhausted during this day.
However, hard work always reaps good rewards, and for this day, the reward had been a trip down culture lane. We were accompanied by 2 intern students from one of our school clients and off we went to Takeshita Dori, Meiji Jingu shrine, Hachiko statue and went around Shibuya. We also visited Donki which Maita had fallen in love with! It felt like being in a cultural exchange program and we visited places that we only saw on travel blogs before. It was very fulfilling to see those famous places in Tokyo, and awe-inspiring at how Japanese people preserve their heritage despite being the home of modern technology. After walking for about 10km worth of distance, we filled our stomachs with tasty food in Hikarie.
Day 3 – School Visit
Wednesday led us to a school client’s doorstep.
Waking up early and leaving the hotel at 8 in the morning, we took the train headed outside Tokyo to visit a school client and observe a school lesson. This was our first time to visit a Japanese school and we were astounded at how they are always well-dressed and how the students are focused on their online lessons! Teachers are even wearing suit-and-tie to work and that’s just even the tip of the iceberg!
If they can dress well to school, can we imagine how dedicated they must be in executing their responsibilities? Seeing their dedication amazed us so much that it inspired us to share this experience once we get back home to enlighten our friends and workmates on how quality is the stronghold of Japanese service.
Day 4 & 5 – Disneyland & Team Lab Visits
During the first 3 days, we were still absorbing the fact that we were actually in Japan! On Thursday, we went to Disneyland and that was when we realized we were indeed in Japan for real. Janice specifically got carried away while watching the finale which was the fireworks display. We were seated on a bench drinking hot choco and Janice was really crying. For her, it was a dream come true. All the hardships she had gone through when she was young flashed back and made her shiver in tears as she could hardly believe she has stepped in Japan at that moment.
On the 5th day, we went to Team Lab in Odaiba and Sensoji Temple in Asakusa. We enjoyed sightseeing and roaming around Asakusa area. After which we joined the RareJob Christmas Party and was able to observe the kind of party they had. It was fun! Remarkably, we had a great time during our last 2 days.
To describe our experience in one word, it was ‘SPLENDID’!