This time I come with something different but fashion.. An old article I wrote a few years ago for a Japanese Magazine about the wonderful experience I had during field research in Tokyo.
It did bring up a lot of great memories, and made me feel again the sweet taste of success.
Hope you will enjoy it too!
“Field-research in JAPAN
Andra Monica Barchi
After graduating my Bachelor in Business Administration in Bucharest, Romania, I decided to continue with a Master program in The Netherlands at the University of Amsterdam. There are a lot of reasons that pushed me to pick up Amsterdam as my home-city for one year. First it was the good reputations of the university, as it took a high rank in the top 100 Best Universities in the World, which attracted me. Secondly the study program, which was opposed to my Bachelor studies much more practice oriented and of course the beauty of the city, with its wonderful canals and extraordinary architecture.
Arriving there, I was surprised about the great amount of opportunities for studying abroad the university offered, but the first one that caught my attention was the Study trip to Japan. It was a field research trip meant to help students gather information for their master thesis. Although already an international student, I submitted my master thesis proposal and I got lucky. The professor, who was choosing the students for this trip, liked the theme of my research: “Green” Sustainability: Company vs. Consumer Approach in the Apparel Industry. I chose this subject as I have been studying the apparel industry also for my Bachelor thesis, so it was a field I knew best and because the greening of companies is a new trend all over the world, so I wanted to compare The Netherlands with Japan in this matter.
On the 13th June the amazing trip to Tokyo, Japan started and we all, the group of 5 Dutch students plus one international (me) from three different Universities in The Netherlands, received our schedule for the following two weeks: interviews, company visits and lectures. There was nothing missing from our folders: time schedule, maps, and business cards. Every single aspect of our stay was carefully taken care of in something that we understood a bit later, was a typical Japanese way of keeping an eye on details. It’s hard to choose a moment or two from the trip that I liked best, because every second of the trip was stunning. Watching the production of Nissan cars, was also a peak moment of the trip, as I could not imagine, that building a car, is more or less a Lego game for the Nissan workers, who are using a very modern technology to manufacture the cars, that are then shipped right away to all over the world. Moreover, I was impressed by the innovation exhibition we visited on our last day TEPIA, where I felt that Asimov is history, as the Japanese technology is so advanced, that talking to a robot, or clapping to switch of a TV is almost part of everyday life. I cannot mention the other visits at Keidanren or at the German-Japanese Institute, where we had researchers lecturing us about Japan, about its markets, current problems and newest trends. Visiting the CANON factory was a learning point for each European in the room, as we found out how Japanese managers are making the production of printers more efficient, while changing the line-productions with the island-production in an attempt to make every step count.
Regarding the interviews I have conducted at JOCA and JAIC, I was pleased by the willingness of my interviewees to help me send out questionnaires to their members in order to collect data for my research. The interview held at FUJI FILM, even though not in the industry I was doing my research in, was an interesting lesson about eco-friendly practices used by a company that operates with a lot of chemicals and substances, which uncontrolled would harm the environment badly.
All the people I have interviewed have been very kind and polite in explaining their activities to me, but visiting Teijin LTD. to find out more about green apparel production, was the most impressive moment for me, as I did not expect such a courtesy from the two gentleman that kindly presented, the company concept, while giving me a clear view on their figures and practices. Moreover, I have been invited to see an exhibition that the company has arranged, for those who where interested in finding out how the innovations of the company work. The interview was pleasantly ended with a meal and a great discussion with Mr. Naoki Arai, whose innovative ideas regarding the green apparel production gave me a lot of great ideas for writing my thesis. I found out that my thesis could be a good start for companies to understand the importance of green production, even in the apparel industry, as the amount of clothes bought and thrown away per day reaches gigantic numbers. This could be controlled by a valuable recycling program, which might help producers reuse the dumped clothes.
Rounding up, the trip was a great success and I won’t be able to thank enough the organizers from JNI, but also the two accompanying professors for this great opportunity and this unforgettable trip, which helped collect data for my master thesis, which I expect to be finished at the end of September 2009. “