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Internship Report, 6/24/95

I have continued to spend most of my work time drawing up "sample screens" for the kabeshinbun project I discussed in my last Internship Course report. Most of my work has been solitary, which, unfortunately, doesn't allow for much interaction with the other shains. Most everyone else in the group has been busy working on a very interesting project they refer to as "jizake." It is a multimedia kiosk information system designed to interest customers in sake and educate them about the different types available for sale.

They have had several deadlines come and go for this project, and they have been very "rushed." Not a single one of them went to the big company baseball game, though I noticed that many employees from other departments attended. Another thing I noticed was that more of them started working later. As far as I know, there is no time recording system and therefore probably no way to get compensated for overtime.

One time I stayed an extra couple of hours to see how late other people would stay. Of course, most of the jizake people were there, and anyone who left before someone else always offered excuses for leaving and apologized. It seems here that if an employee is given an assignment, and he doesn't finish it in the amount of time he originally expected, he behaves as if it was his own fault -- perhaps because he didn't work hard enough -- and accepts responsibility to finish it on his own time.

At the same time, I have noticed that the working atmosphere really changes during overtime work. Because they remain at work by their own choice (at least, partially by their own choice), they seem to have more fun. They don't work as hard past 5:30 and take more time to relax, to talk, or joke around. It's as if all of the normal rules of office conduct, except respect, are put on hold and everyone is just having one giant homework party. But they stay until they are done. For many of the unmarried workers or those who live far away, there probably isn't much reason to want to return home, since their coworkers are their family and they enjoy being together.

I find all this to be quite in contrast with most American workers.

I planned to learn the chain of authority and the associated vocabulary, and I did. I'll report on it next time.

It might be interesting to find out how my coworkers feel about all the late night work. I'll ask them if I have a chance to actually talk with any of them and I can do it in a non-intruding way.

Part of our responsibilities as interns is to keep journals. This is not hard for me, since I have been keeping a journal all my life. However, I think it would be fair to be warned in advance whether or not I have to submit my journal for others to read, so that I know how personally I can comfortably write in my journal.