Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Interview with Jonas!

Richard here,

Here's a short interview with the current intern, Jonas.

Where are you from exactly?

I'm from a small town called Krylbo in Dalarna county of Sweden. Dalarna is a quiet place with lots of forests and lakes, and with very few big cities.

When and how did you first get interested in Japan?
I got interested in Japan when I was still very young, maybe around 6 or 7 years old? I remember seeing stuff like Starzinger and Tottoro on kids TV in Sweden. Even though the dialogue was dubbed to Swedish, the theme songs were still kept in original Japanese, and I found the sound of the language very beautiful. Some time later I saw The Karate Kid and decided that I wanted to start learning karate. Also I must admit that Nintendo was also a big influence, as 10-something years old I remember thinking that working at Nintendo in Japan must be like the best job ever.

What was your first impression of Japan?

Before coming here I always thought of Japan as a very spiritual and mystical country.

When did you first come to Japan?

I think it was around 2009.

So after your first visit, how has your impression of Japan changed?

It's more noisy and busy than I expected. (both in bad and good ways). Also, after staying here for some time now, things that I used to think of as very strange and foreign has become normal to me and this has made me realize that wherever you go in the world people are still people. "Sekai wa hitotsu"

How many times have you been to Japan now? What have you done each time?

Counting this time, I've been here 4 times already! The first time I came to travel, I bought a 2 week JR Rail Pass and visited lots of different parts of Japan. Second time I stayed at a guesthouse in Ikebukuro and studied Japanese. Third time I went to Sapporo Tokai University as an exchange student through my university in Sweden. And now I'm in Saitama as a karate intern!

After you graduate from your university, what do you hope to do?

I want to live and work in Japan. If possible I hope to get a job working with music, since it is my biggest interest.

How is learning karate again?
It's hard! My body aches and my head hurts from trying to remember everything. But it is really interesting to see how karate is taught in its motherland.

Is there anything similar or different to how you did karate before?

Yes, when I was young I practiced Shotokan karate and I can definitely notice some stylistic differences. Also in Japanese there seems to be more weight on small details when training than I remember in Sweden.

While being an intern, do you have any challenges for yourself?

I was told that if I do my best I might be able to get a to the level of green belt. That would be really sweet!

Every intern so far has tried to add something new or improve on something for the internship position? Do you have anything you would like to do to enhance it?
Hard to say now, since it's only been 2 weeks since I arrived here... but I will do my best!

How are the people at Shiramizu?

Very friendly and helping. I was quiet nervous when I first came here, but as soon as I had met everybody I felt like I was in a very good community.

Any advice you have for other people in the future planning to apply for the internship or just come to Japan on their own?
Be prepared for cultural differences and be open to changes and I think you will have a great time.


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