Beyond the Screen: A Week in Japan with Envizion Ambassadors

Crowned with Laurels (1)

Two tutors spent a week in Japan as Envizion Philippines Inc.’s 3rd wave of ambassadors for the annual Envizion Cultural Exchange Program (ECEP) last November.

The ECEP is a company initiative which gives center-based tutors a lifetime opportunity of an all-expense paid trip to Japan. The selected CBTs will visit RareJob headquarters in Tokyo, visit schools to observe school lessons, and of course, experience Japanese omotenashi first hand.

This year’s ambassadors, Jannus Ray Docallos and Dannah Mae Iducos, share all about their wonderful memories in the land of the rising sun.

Dannah

What made you decide to apply for ECEP?
At first, I wanted to try my luck because there are more than 100 CBTs that were interested. So my chances were so slim. But, I was really interested because it would be a great chance to experience Japanese culture and it would be a nice way to connect with students in the future because you can already relate to what they say about Japan. It’s a great conversation topic, haha! So I tried my luck and it was the best decision that I made because I was chosen. Yehey!

What do you enjoy most about working at Envizion?
I enjoy having lessons with my students and developing great camaraderie with my co-workers.

What motivates you to work hard every day?
Growth and contribution to the greater good motivates me to work hard everyday.

How do you conduct “More than Tsada” lessons?
I provide a relaxed environment where students are free to express their thoughts and emotions. I go beyond what is expected and provide the lesson that fits the student’s goals and aspirations not only in learning English but also in life.

What is the biggest difference between Japan and the Philippines?
The biggest difference I’ve noticed so far is definitely the strict observance of time. Time is really important for Japanese people and they utilize it as much as they can. So you can see people running and brisk walking all the time, especially in Tokyo, where all the hustle and bustle happens.

What was your most memorable experience during your stay in Japan?
I think the most memorable experiences I had during my stay in Japan were my arrival and my birthday.

What is your favorite Japanese word? What does it mean?
“Oishi!” It means delicious. I kept saying this because the food in Japan is really good.

If you could take one thing from Japan back to PH, what would it be?
Senbei!!! Lots and lots of senbei!

What was the best spot you visited in Japan?
It’s difficult to choose because I love all the places that I visited in Japan, but Tokyo DisneySea really stood out. When I was a kid, I grew up watching Disney movies and shows and seeing it up close and lifelike is really an amazing experience.

What was the most expensive gift/souvenir you bought for yourself?
Japanese people say “Cosme!”. In English, it means cosmetics. Before going to Japan, I really planned on what items I would buy and so far the cosmetics in Japan are also really good so I decided to buy and try it.

Any advice for other CBTs who want to apply for the ECEP?
For the CBTs, make good metrics for the technical part and on a personal level, I hope you keep on thinking positively and do your best. Eventually, you’ll be able to nail a spot in ECEP.

Jannus

What made you decide to apply for ECEP?
To be honest, I applied for the program without any expectations at all. I applied because the application was open to all and most of my friends here applied to the said program as well.

What do you enjoy most about working at Envizion?
I really enjoy conducting lessons especially with loyal students who always book lessons with me. I also enjoy the different activities that the management organizes for us (parties, food, and more!)

What motivates you to work hard every day?
Aside from the salary, one thing that motivates me to work hard is the drive and passion to prove to myself that I can really do different tasks at work. Also, I’m very excited to have lessons with my loyal and new students.

How do you conduct “More than Tsada” lessons?
I really make it a point that students will really enjoy and smile during and after the lesson. But still, I provide quality lessons and make sure that they really learned a lot.

What is the biggest difference between Japan and the Philippines?
Aside from food and temperature, one of the biggest differences I’ve noticed is that Japanese really are hospitable and they really practice “omotenashi”. We’ve been to many places in Tokyo area and they really are practicing it. From the moment we arrived at the airport, the staff are really welcoming and accommodating.

What was your most memorable experience during your stay in Japan?
The most memorable experience for me was riding a Japanese train. I haven’t ridden any trains here in the Philippines and it was my first time to ride a train in Japan. I was amazed by how organized and disciplined Japanese passengers are — even foreigners as well!

What was your favorite and least favorite food you tried in Japan?
I think all the food that I’ve tried in Japan were really good and delicious. But I’d say the least one would be “natto”. I had the chance to try “natto” in the hotel buffet and the taste was so-so for me. Frankly speaking, the smell was really strong and Dannah can’t handle both the taste and the smell (LOL). But I must say that the best Japanese food I’ve eaten in Japan was the “yakitori” in Ginza. The price was really expensive but it’s really worth it, I can guarantee you that. Go to “Torigin”, it’s one of the best yakitori restaurants you can visit in Ginza. Patience is a must though since you need to wait at least 30-45 minutes for you to be seated.

What is your favorite Japanese word? What does it mean?
The Japanese word I often use and is my new favorite would be “sumimasen”. Of course, I’ve used “arigato”, “konnichiwa”, and other basic Japanese expressions there but I didn’t expect to use “sumimasen” there more often. It means “excuse me” in English and can be used in many ways. I like using the slang version of it, “suimasen”, because it’s easier to pronounce and most Japanese people there often use it.

If you could take one thing from Japan back to PH, what would it be?
I’m a big fan of Black Thunder, a type of chocolate in Japan famous for its cheap price but with a really delicious taste. When I visited a 7/11 convenience store near our hotel, I was able to try Black Thunder ice cream and I hope the 7/11 stores here in the Philippines would have that kind of ice cream as well. Well, I can’t bring them back here in PH cause it will surely melt but I really want to try it and probably eat it once a week (never mind the diet as long as it’s Black Thunder ice cream).

What was the best spot you visited in Japan?
We’ve visited lots of nice and popular sightseeing spots in Japan but I must say that Tokyo DisneySea would be the number one on my list. Going to DisneySea made me think about my childhood since it’s really my childhood dream to visit any Disney attraction. I really enjoyed the fun and exciting rides there. Even though we waited for an hour queueing to those different rides, it really paid off and I was really shouting and smiling.

What was the most expensive gift/souvenir you bought for yourself?
A lot of people say that Japan is an expensive country and when buying things, do not convert. Yup! It really is an expensive country. Many things are sold there but no need to worry since they also offer sales and big discounts too. Probably the most expensive thing that I bought for myself would be the clothes from GU. I didn’t expect the quality of the clothes to be good and comfortable. Of course, I’ll wear them one of these days and flaunt it in the office, haha!

Any advice for other CBTs who want to apply for the ECEP?
The program is a once in a lifetime opportunity and it really is worth it. So my advice to those who are willing to apply and be the next ECEP Ambassadors is be yourself and be confident. Know yourself and what are the things you are capable of doing so that you can use it during the application. And of course, be confident on how you will showcase yourself. You will be needing this confidence all throughout the application process. Good luck to the next ambassadors and enjoy the trip soon!

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