1. Please give us a self-introduction (your company etc.).
My name is Johnny Shields, I am the CTO and Co-founder of KK VESPER, makers of TableSolution, Japan's leading restaurant reservation management platform. We have also recently launched TableCheck, restaurant search portal and reservation booking app. Our clients include many top-ranked restaurants and hotel F&B such as Hilton, ANA Intercontinental, Universal Studios, T.Y. Harbor, Hiramatsu, and more.
2. Have you ever done an internship abroad?
Yes, I did internships in Tokyo, Japan in the summers of 2005 and 2006. In 2005 I worked doing market research for a small US-based energy drink company, and in 2006 I found an internship via the Boston Career Forum for a position in finance at Lehman Brothers Japan. After my 2006 internship I received a full-time offer from Lehman Brothers and I returned to Japan as a full-time employee in 2007, and have been living in Tokyo ever since.
3. How did you form your current company?
I left the finance industry in early 2013 and was explored opportunities to do a web startup. I've always enjoyed the wonderful cuisine in Japan, and thought it might be interesting to work with restaurants. My business partner and I noticed that many restaurants in Japan were managing their reservations with paper and pen, despite the availability of many reservation services (Tabelog, Gurunavi, HotPepper, etc.) We saw an opportunity to introduce a service which would automate restaurant operations and assist merchants in handling online reservations. In the 4 years since then we have grown to 35 full-time staff and several thousand clients.
4. Have you had interns your company? Where did you find them?
Yes, we have sponsored two interns in 2014 and 2015, both working in business development and assisting with market research. One intern was introduced who was the older brother of a high-school student at St. Mary's International School in Tokyo where I gave a lecture. The other intern we placed through a collaboration we did with the Hitotsubashi University's business school, where a class on Consumer Behavior used our business as a case study, and one of the students applied to be an intern for us.
5. What sort of experience will interns have at your company?
Both past interns had a very rewarding experience. Firstly, Tokyo is the culinary capital of the world, with more Michelin stars in Tokyo than any other city, so working with restaurants is a wonderful exposure to Japanese culture for both newcomers and long-time residents of Japan alike. Our company is a very flat structure where myself as CTO, our CEO, and our Heads of Sales, IT, etc. work very closely with all junior employees to develop skills. Everyone's input and opinion is valued, and we work together to build the best product possible. Our interns produced business plans including exploring the possibilities to expand our business to Korea, Taiwan, and China, and also helped with client-facing content such as making a product guide for our system which is still in use today. As we have launched new products including a consumer-facing website, we have even more exciting opportunities for interns to be directly engaged in public-facing content creation.
7. What does the future hold for interns at TableSolution?
We are actively looking for interns primarily in our Marketing and IT teams. Please check our homepage at https://www.kkvesper.jp/jobs.html. There are opportunities for both Japanese and English speakers. Please apply if interested, we are eager to meet you!
Onoe-sama, thank you very much for your help! Due to your support, a great internship experience could be realized for Christiana. Read her success story here.
1. Please give us a self-introduction (Your company etc.).
My name is Tak Onoe, I am the CEO of an IT-company called NISCOM Inc.
NISCOM Inc. offers business transformation outsourcing, system integration, IT outsourcing, business process outsourcing, temporary staffing, and recruitment services. We strive on continuously improving energy conservation processes and automation of operations.
2. How did you find out about Christiana and how did you help her?
I Introduced her to a friend when I spotted her in a LinkedIn group asking for help concerning an internship in sports management. Internship Japan had shared her case in the Tokyo 2020 group, one dealing with topics about the Olympics. I thought that Japanese companies, particularly in the sports management industry, must follow suit with a global approach sooner rather than later. Introducing her to my friend’s company would certainly bring a positive outcome for everyone involved.
3. Why did you help her?
When I was still a student, I had been involved in the Japanese version of AIESEC. I am still volunteering now and then, guiding students in interview preparation and throughout the internship process. I didn’t have to think twice emailing my friend to make the dreams of a young Romanian student come true.
4. Please share your thoughts about internships and our work.
Interning does not originally play a role in Japanese culture. However, I believe it is getting more and more popular nowadays. Since the habit of the Japanese companies is to follow what the Keidanren (Japan Business Federation) is indicating concerning recruitment, the development of an intern-culture is threatened.
5. Will you have interns yourself?
Yes, I think of bringing on interns. Recently, the number of employees capable of speaking English has increased, and we probably will soon be able to have interns soon too. I am very excited to see such plans materializing in the future.
友人を通してLinkedIn にインターンシップのグループがあることを紹介されました。 偶然最初に目に留まったのが、クリスチアーナがスポーツマネージメントのインターンを探しているという記事でした。オリンピックを控える日本にとって、スポーツマネージメントの会社はきっとグローバル対応を急いでいると思い、友人の会社を紹介すれば喜ばれると思いました。
1. Ono-sama, who are you? What is your profession, what are you doing for a living?
I am a video game journalist. I worked as publisher and editor of a small video game magazine for 6 years right after university graduation. In 2000, I quit the job and became a freelancer. I am usually interviewing developers, review games and cover major events in the world like the E3 or the Tokyo Game Show. In addition to that, I became the head of the IGDA (International Game Developers Association) Japan in 2011. It was founded in 2002 and advanced to a nonprofit organization in 2012. It is a voluntary based organization and the mission is to contribute to the society via sharing knowledge and building a real community in the game industry. We are holding seminars every month etc.
2. Have you ever been studying abroad or have you ever done an internship abroad?
3. You are managing a Facebook group called Japanese game industry job hunting supporter's club and a website to support foreigners who are seeking internships or jobs in the Japanese Game Industry. Thank you very much for that! Why did you start this?
I knew many foreign students are burning with the passion to work in the Japanese game industry, since I met them at fairs and events in Japan as well as abroad. I also knew that many middle-sized and small studios want to hire foreign developers. I thought that we need to build up a community they can meet each other. It was the reason I started the community on Facebook and wiki. In addition, IGDA Japan offers a form of internship for the CEDEC and Tokyo Game Show. Every year, 18 students participate this program and about 50% is foreigners.
4. What is the JJSC doing? Could you introduce some other members?
JJSC is the group page I manage on Facebook. The purpose is to provide information for foreign students who want to work in the Japanese game industry. I like to share success stories and self-introductions there.
Michael Penn is the CEO of Shingetsu News Agency, a well known journalist, who also served as vice-president of the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan. He is always on the frontline, when it comes to the hot topics in politics etc. and creates content from the perspective of a scholar with a very knowledgeable background. His latest book is: “Japan and the War on Terror: Military Force and Political Pressure in the US-Japanese Alliance”
1. Mr. Penn, We approached you long before we had a website or a written concept and still you were willing to cooperate with us idealists. In November 2014, you also did us the great favor of being our guest speaker at our founding event. Your interns from us so far have been very pleased with the experiences they could make. Thank you very much. Please tell us a little about who you are, your mission, Shingetsu News Agency and the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan.
I am an American from Los Angeles. My academic background is in Middle Eastern Studies. I've lived in Japan for almost 19 years now. I'm not sure that I have just one mission, since life is complex, but as a journalist I believe what needs to be highlighted is a commitment to the principles of democracy. A true journalist should be searching for instances of unfairness or injustice and bringing them to public attention. The news media, in my view, has an innate responsibility to use its authority to combat abuses of power.
The Shingetsu News Agency, which I founded in December 2010, is just my modest platform for doing my work in journalism. It is my brand, so to speak.
1. What is 99designs? In which markets and countries are you active?
99designs has been founded in 2008 in Australia and is by now active all over the world, with offices in Oakland, Berlin, Rio de Janeiro and Tokyo. We are the biggest online marketplace for graphic design, with an international community of over a million designers. We connect companies and designers around the globe, to make quality, affordable graphic design possible for everyone. We believe that every connection we can make possible, helps a company to go forward, a designer to pursue a career and the ambitious enterprise to be successful. That’s our mission.
2. How do artists come to you? Are they all professionals? Where are they from?
Our designers register themselves from all parts of the world, leading to a colorful and mixed community of creative minds. We work with beginners to improve their skills, as well as industry pros. Besides the various skill-levels, our creative minds cover a diverse expertise, so that we can offer anything to our customers that their hearts desire.
3. What is 99nonprofits and how can you apply as an NPO?
99nonprofits is our initiative to help non-profit organizations. With beautiful designs from our community, we try to improve the communications of NPOs, raising maximum awareness for their cause. With sponsored design contests we help ambitioned organizations to make a positive contribution to our world.
Any registered non-profit organization can apply for the 99nonprofits program on our website. Tell us who you are and what you do. What visions do you have and what is your mission? Then of course we would like to know what type of design you need!
4. Why are you so generous towards NPOs?