99designs is our new member and helped us greatly with finding our mascot designer and Gonishiki LINE stickers. We interviewed Monique Zander from the Berlin office of 99designs. 
Monique Zander

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?

AngloINFO Tokyo is one of our Platinum Members and also provides internships on a regular basis. More about them here.

1. Tell us about your company. What are you doing, about your markets and the countries you deal with the most?

AngloINFO Tokyo provides free content about Japan in English language. We strive to be an easy-to-understand one stop shop for all Foreigner Expats in Tokyo. Our content includes General Living Guide information, current Tokyo Events, Classifieds, Apartments for rent and also a Business Directory of Foreigner-friendly companies in Tokyo. Our global reach includes 91 communities in 42 countries. Our nearest sister locations are Seoul, Taipei, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Singapore, Jakarta, Bali and Bangkok.

2. How did you find your intern and tell us about the process before the internship started.

Mr. Tom Lewis contacted us about a potential internship after reading about AngloINFO on Internship Japan. After his initial email, we spoke directly over Skype and discussed his internship goals and future plans as well as the needs of our company to find a suitable fit.

3. What does an intern do at your company?

Basically, an intern at our company performs specific tasks that will provide a dual benefit of enhancing the intern’s Real World experience as well as provide support for the AngloINFO Community.

4. What kind of person would be the ideal intern? What does your company need?

Our company can place almost any intern; however, our most pressing needs would be Marketing or Journalism.

5. How did your intern do while with you?

Mr. Lewis has done a fantastic job overall. He is an IT intern and I continue to be very impressed with his programming abilities. He has created several programs that have greatly simplified our daily work here at AngloINFO Tokyo.

6. Which language did you use with your intern? Does the intern speak Japanese?

We communicate in English. However, Tom is fluent in Japanese as well.

7. What kind of Value Add does an intern receive from being with AngloInfo Tokyo?

I believe the Value Add that an Intern receives with AngloINFO include:

  1. Experiencing Real World business operations.
  2. Experiencing Japan’s unique culture.
  3. Learning about Business to Business (B2B) relationships.
  4. Learning how Business is conducted in Japan.
  5. Learning social media from a Business Perspective.
  6. Experiencing how a Global Website is maintained via a Back Office access.
  7. Meeting new friends and growing your personal network here in Tokyo.
  8. Train fares for AngloINFO activities are reimbursed by AngloINFO.
  9. All Internship documents required by the University will be completed and submitted as required.
  10. AngloINFO will provide all interns with an important Recommendation Letter for their future careers.

8. How can we as Internship Japan do better?

I think Internship Japan is providing a fantastic service and I don’t have any recommendations at this time.


Dr. Lorenz GranrathI was the representative of Fraunhofer in Japan from 2001 until the end of 2013. Fraunhofer is Europe’s biggest organisation for applied research, more than 23.000 people develop new solutions for the industry and in Japan many of the well known big Japanese companies were customers. The office in Tokyo was small and consisted in the beginning only of the representative and a Japanese secretary.

Between 2005 and 2012 we always had an intern, usually a student, who needed the internship for his studies and wanted to combine this with the experience to stay in an exotic country. The interns usually stayed for 6 months, a shorter duration was not very efficient, as the interns need some time to come to know the organisation before they could assist in some tasks as well as it takes some time to get accustomed to Japan to better enjoy living here.

Our experience was overall very good, especially in the beginning the interns were of big help. Some administrated the internet presentation of Fraunhofer in Japan by themselves, others organised conferences and helped at trade shows. In times, where not much activity was ongoing, I always tried to take the interns with me to company visits. This was appreciated by Japanese companies and was a very valuable experience for the interns. I am still in contact with many of them, some live and work in Japan, some come here on business trips. All gave me a positive feedback of their stay in our office, they had a valuable time to experience Japan and it positively influenced their further career and life.

In 2014 I moved to the Japanese National Institute for Advanced Science and Technology and are now also promoting internships, however for candidates with a scientific background.

Tokyo, June 2015

Dr. Lorenz Granrath

Sandra-sama, Thank you very much for allowing us this interview. We are reading your work on a regular basis and glad to have met with you several times. Your insight on the topic of 'hāfu' is tremendously important to the more and more globalizing Japan as well as the whole world, and the gaikokujin (foreigners) can learn a lot from it as well.Sandra Haefelin

  1. Please introduce yourself as well as your work to our readers.

    こんにちは。サンドラ・ヘフェリン(Sandra Haefelin)と申します。南ドイツ・ミュンヘン出身で日本歴17年です。日本語とドイツ語の両方が母国語です。自身が日独ハーフであることから、「ハーフと日本のいじめ問題」、「ハーフと海外のいじめ問題」、「バイリンガル教育について」など、「多文化共生」をテーマに執筆活動をしております。ホームページ「ハーフを考えよう」も運営しています。著書に「ハーフが美人なんて妄想ですから!!」(中公新書ラクレ)、「満員電車は観光地!?」(流水りんことの共著/KKベストセラーズ) 、「日本人、ここがステキで、ここがちょっとヘン。」(片桐了との共著/大和出版)など!

    Hello, my name is Sandra Haefelin. I come from Munich, in the southern part of Germany. I consider both Japanese and German to be my mothertongue. Since I myself am a Japanese-German hāfu, I have published many works centered on the theme of multiculturalism with examples of, “The issue of bullying for hāfus in Japan”, “Bullying in foreign countries for hāfus” and “Bilingual education”. I also manage a website called “Thinking in the mindsets of hāfus”. Furthermore I have other works titled “Labeling all hāfus as beautiful is a delusion!!”, “A crowded train in Japan is an attraction for tourists!?”, “This is nice and this is a bit weird about Japanese people” and more!

  2. What is a hāfu?

    「ハーフとは何か」は、まさに私がここ数年一生懸命考えてきたテーマです。日本との「ハーフ」の場合、単純に言ってしまうと「ハーフは日本人の親と、外国人の親との間に生まれた人間」ということなのでしょうが(笑) ただ、人生いろいろであるように、人間もいろいろ、そして「ハーフ」もまたいろいろなのです。 「ハーフは何か」について答えを出すのは、「日本人とは何か」について答えを出すのと同じぐらい難しいかもしれません。たとえば、「日本人とは何か」を考えた時、法律上は「日本国籍を持った人が日本人」です。でも実際問題、金髪碧眼の人が日本国籍を持っていても、周囲はその人を「日本人」とは見なさないことが多いです。周囲に「日本人であること」と認めてもらうためには「日本人風の容姿」も求められるわけですが、では、まっすぐな黒髪で日本人風の顔立ちをしていれば、即日本人かというと、もちろんそうではありません。日本に限らずアジア圏には「真っすぐな黒髪」の人は沢山いますが、彼らが全員日本人というわけではないですからね。では、「日本語が話せるから日本人」かと聞かれれば、それだけでもやっぱり日本人ではないわけです。日本風の柔らかな物腰の人が日本人かと言うと、そうかもしれないし、そうではないかもしれない。となると、「何をもって日本人と言うのか」は実は定義が非常に難しいんですよね。同じ事が「ハーフ」にも言えると思います。

    To clearly define the meaning of hāfu, is a theme I have been investing a lot of time on for the last couple of years. For individuals with Japanese parents on one side, perhaps it can be simplified as “someone born from both Japanese and foreign parents”. However, like there is variation to people’s lifestyles and us people, there is variation to those who are hāfus. To define what it means to be a hāfu is likely to be as difficult as evaluating those characteristics which distinguish an individual as japanese. For example, under the law, to be japanese is defined by having japanese citizenship. However, in reality it is often the case that citizenship is not a determining factor, people with blond hair and blue eyes with a japanese nationality are often not identified with other japanese people. To be considered japanese by those around you, it is required to have those looks as a japanese. But then it can be asked, does it then automatically mean that one is japanese when you have straight black hair and have japanese facial features? The answer is clearly a no. Simply because while there are many individuals with straight black hair in Asia, they are not all Japanese. But if you are asked whether being able to speak Japanese identifies one as Japanese, again this is not the only characteristic. Japanese people perhaps could be identified based on the soft and indirect way of speech and the way they present themselves in their attitude. Therefore it can be stated that the baseline to categorise those who are Japanese from those who aren't is very difficult. I think the same conclusion can be applied to the concept of hāfus.

  3. In your book "Labeling all hāfus as beautiful is a delusion!!」 you categorize the hāfu. Could you explain those types please?

    The following explanation is an extract from pages 8 to 10 in the book, “Labeling all hāfus as beautiful is a delusion!! (中公新書ラクレ)

    I. 理想ハーフ

    マトリックスの右上にいるのは、理想のハーフ。語学が堪能で見た目も美しい人たち。代表は滝川クリステル。純ジャパが「ハーフって・・・・・」と妄想するハーフの理想型。もちろん、理想だから、あまり多くはない。モテる。 ママもパパも家柄がよく、金持ちであることが多い。というのも、バイリンガル教育はそれはそれはお金がかかるので。また、お金持ち男は美人の奥さんを選ぶことが多いので、財力だけでなく、美貌も継承。ハーフが遭うはずのいじめにも遭わず大学を卒業し、大学卒業後はその語学能力と両親の人脈を使って、給与も評判もよい企業に入る。もしくは親や本人の華やか人脈を使い、自分でビジネスを立ち上げる。庶民ハーフには純ジャパより縁遠き存在。

      The ideal hāfus

    Christel Takigawa is an example of what is regarded as an ideal hāfu, holding both beauty and outstanding abilities in the field of languages. While popular and favored by opposite sexes, to encounter a hāfu in this category is rare. Usually born from parents of wealthy backgrounds since bilingual education requires money. Ideal hāfus are likely to graduate from universities without becoming the target for bullying which is experienced by majority of the hāfus. They often work for a well known and well paid company using connections from parents and their individual language abilities. Other options include starting up a company of their own using their surrounding connections.

    II. 顔だけハーフ


      Hāfus but only the appearance

    While their looks are gorgeous, because they were raised domestically in Japan, their language abilities are limited to Japanese. Perhaps because the parents could not afford the educational fees for international schools or because the child did not study enough or because they wanted to let their child grow up at ease depends on the individual. Careers advantageous to those who hold beauty, such as models, actors/actress and campaign girls are pursued. The assumptions that others hold of them of being able to speak English simply based on their appearance is bitter. If they had the option, they would like to scream, “Nothing is different between you (Japanese people raised in Japan) and me! There are cases where hāfus only speak Japanese when raised in Japan!”

    III. 語学だけハーフ


      Hāfu with language abilities but...

    The abilities these hāfus have for Japanese and other foreign languages is contradictory to their appearances and they look just like other ordinary Japanese people. These hāfus survive on their skill of language ability which was developed by their parents. Language abilities create greater options for career choices as well as countries and cities to reside in. Hāfus that are multilingual enjoy exploring the world, pursue careers that are rather fixed, with given examples such as translators and researchers. Working as traders is not rare, given that they have additional expertise. While confident in their skills and abilities, the reactions taken by “pure-Japanese” people of being surprised that they have the language abilities of hāfus but do not hold the beauty of stereotypical hāfus makes them want to say, “Leave me alone!”

    IV. 残念なハーフ


      The “unfortunate” hāfu

    As the title implies, these hāfus do not have either the beauty or the bilingualism, characteristics which was assumed to define hāfus. Feeling distressed by being reminded that even though they are hāfus, they cannot speak multiple languages and do not stand out amongst others in appearances and have nothing special. It is common for these unfortunate hāfus to experience difficulty when looking for work especially because society is strict for those individuals with hāfu appearances but lack the ability to speak foreign languages. While it appears that they could go abroad, considering their language abilities… they question, “Why can’t I just become a “pure-Japanese”.”

  4. Concerning finding work in Japan, are many hāfu facing difficulties getting permanent work? How about your own experience for example?

    Yes, clearly there is variation from person to person but it is also true that hāfus often have difficulties when searching for work. This is simply because the examiner is easily influenced by the examinee’s appearance. For example, imagine there was a hāfu with a Japanese mother and a French father. This child’s parents divorced when the child was around 3 years old and therefore the individual was raised in Japan, attended Japanese primary, middle and high school and attended university. Communication at home with her/his mother was in Japanese with minimal English but no French. However, even with a curriculum vitae that has been given prior to the interview clearly describing how this hāfu has been educated in Japan at all education levels, it is very often the case that the examinee’s foreign looks changes the examiner’s expectation of the examinee. Hence, inappropriate questions such as, “Can you read Kanji?” are raised by the examiner. Since examiners base their judgement of hāfus on their appearance rather than what is stated on the resume, while logically, it is very unlikely that an individual who was educated in Japanese schools from primary through high school and graduated from a Japanese university to be unable to read Kanji, such questions are asked. Moreover although the individual’s ability to speak French or English is not written on their curriculum vitae, it also frequently happens that these hāfus are assumed to be multilingual.

    そうですね。人にもよりますが、ハーフの場合、就職活動で苦労する場合も多いです。理由はズバリ面接官が「容姿」に左右されがちだから。たとえば、日本人の母親とフランス人の父親を持つハーフがいたとします。両親は子供(ハーフ)が3歳ぐらいの頃に離婚していて、子供は日本で育ち、日本の小学校・中学校・高校・大学に行った。家(母親)との会話は日本語で、フランス語は話せない、英語は少々。ところが、「小学校から大学までずっと日本の学校を出ている」と書かれた履歴書を事前に企業に提出していても、イザ面接会場に入ると、面接官が、応募者のその「外国人風の容姿」に影響されてしまうことが少なくありません。そのため面接者がハーフに対して「漢字は読めますか?」なんてことを聞いてしまうわけです。日本の小中高、そして大学まで出ていて漢字が読めないなんてことはないはずなのですが、応募書類を読むよりも応募者の「見た目」で判断してしまった結果ですね。また履歴書には書いていないのに、面接官の思い込みから「フランス語ができるはず」「英語ができるはず」と判断されてしまうことも少なくありません。 また日本の教育を受けていて、それ相当の資格を持っていても、たとえば欧米人風の顔立ちのハーフが例えば中学校の国語の先生になろうとしたら、これもまた難しいことが多いです。時には「どうして、英語ではなく国語を教えようと思ったんですか。」なんて質問をされたりもするわけです。その根底には「外国風の容姿をした人は全員外国人のはず。英語を話すはず。」という思い込みがあります。よって、欧米風の容姿をしたハーフが「国語の先生」を志望すると、周りが戸惑うわけですね。そして周りが戸惑う事に、ハーフ本人も戸惑うわけです。・・・色々と難しいですよね。

    Furthermore, hāfus educated in Japan holding qualifications adequate for certain levels hoping to pursue a career as a Japanese linguistic teacher at a middle school are often faced with difficulties due to their western facial features. They are sometimes questioned why they (hāfus) chose to teach Japanese linguistics instead of English. These thoughts are raised because assumptions such as “People who look foreign must be all foreigners. They must speak English” exist. Thus, when hāfus with western appearances apply for positions as Japanese Linguistics Teachers, people around them become puzzled. And hāfus themselves also become confused to see the reaction of others.

  5. By introducing the system of Internships to Japan, we want to help making a new way for all people. Once interning at a company, their true talents and potential will be exposed and we believe that many more of them will get hired because of that. What do you think about that?


    Good question. I believe that it is a better form for both the company and the individual because rather than judging the individual from a single interview, an internship provides an opportunity to observe the individual over a longer period.

  6. Have you ever been an intern yourself? If yes, tell us about your experience.

    私自身はインターンはしたことはございません。 No, I do not have the experience of being an intern myself.

  7. How would you describe to Japanese people what an Internship in the western meaning is and how it is different from Kenshuu?


    It is often the case that what is considered to be an ‘intern’ in the western style is different from the system of ‘kenshuu’ in Japan. Of course, it is different from case to case but in western styles, interns are given the opportunity to engage in various projects and are relatively invited to the core of the company and thus are able to gain practical experience which is not provided at universities when studying from books.

  8. Should Japanese youngsters intern abroad? If so, why?


    Yes, I think it would be a extremely valuable experience for young Japanese people to intern in foreign countries. Not only to develop language skills but because working in an environment where one is surrounded by multicultural people will change how one perceives things. Although it is often said that the world is becoming more global, internships provide the opportunity to experience this sense of ‘becoming global’ with their own experience. I would like Japanese youngsters to engage and make this opportunity valuable.

  9. Do you have any advice for mixed families in Japan, young couples included?


    For those who have an international marriage and children, I think it is important for the parent to recognize that their point of view are very different. Say there was a mixed marriage couple with a Japanese wife and a German husband living in Japan with a child. For the Japanese wife, she is likely to have a local point of view as she is a Japanese individual living in Japan. Contrastingly, the point of view of the German husband would be a foreigner living in Japan as he is living abroad. The child of this mixed marriage couple could be neither. Hāfus are easily seen as ‘foreigners’ by other Japanese people such as the people around them. Though they have difficulty being regarded as Japanese from the people around them, hāfus who are raised in Japan identify themselves more closely as ‘Japanese’ in both cultural and nationality respects rather than as ‘foreigners’. Hāfus often experience this kind of conflict and therefore I think it is important for parents not to assume the child will experience the same conflicts the parents had. Just listen carefully to the troubles their children are having as a "hāfu".

  10. What do you think the young generation, hāfu or not, should do for sure?


    Hmm, perhaps rather than to obsess about looks and appearances, they should emphasize and look over each other’s individual personalities and abilities?

  11. Since you know both worlds, and can translate between them, we would love to ask you many more questions, but instead, just give us your message to both of them. How would we do better in becoming ONE world?


    As one can tell from the example of Ariana Miyamoto, Japanese people are becoming more diverse. Therefore the following step would simply be to accept! Abandoning thoughts such as “Oh wait, it’s supposed to be that” or “It ought to be that” could perhaps be an advice.

  12. How could we as Internship Japan do better, what would you like us to do?

    やはり本人の能力や性格を重視することです! よろしくお願いします!サンドラ

    Definitely to put emphasis on the abilities or personalities of individuals! Best regards! Sandra


Translated into English by Shoko Kuroda (Intern)




Andrew Woolner is the artistic director of Yokohama Theatre Group (from now on YTG). They are taking interns throughout the year and do a great job, as former interns coming from Internship Japan already told us. A lot to learn and an overall great experience, they said. As an artist, you got to get on the stage! Period.

IJ: Please introduce Yokohama Theater to us.

The Yokohama Theatre Group is a 114 year-old company, now operating as a non-profit. Our mission is to bring modern, multilingual and multicultural theatre to Japan, and to take our uniquely Japanese theatre out to the world. To do this, we create original shows and conduct theatre classes. We also want to continue to tour our shows to other cities and other countries.

No one, other than the class instructors, is being paid. All staff positions and ensemble positions are volunteer at the moment. We hope to change that in the future as we continue to evolve into a professional, international theatre company.

IJ: We do promote arts and culture since we believe that the SOFT POWER going with it, can be especially now, in the internet age, more powerful than what the politicians do in the name of nations. The heart of people is shown in culture and arts, and transferred to other nations, loving those very points. Arts and culture are shaping the image of a nation. Do you agree?

AW: Absolutely!

IJ: One quote from your profile at the YTG website:

Andrew believes in the power of theatre to change the world.

Tell us more about the vision behind this.

AW: Any artistic action can change the world, as long as it’s motivated by the artistic impulse and not by commercial interests. Theatre is unique in that it’s a live performance, and is about something larger than any member of the team that put it together. This unique combination of factors makes theatre ideal for spreading new ideas,thoughts, or feelings. And new ideas, thoughts, and feelings are what change the world.

IJ: You started the internship program of YTG. Tell us why you believe in internships and how they are supposed to be.

Since we are essentially a volunteer-run organization, interns are just another type of volunteer. An intern has certain differences from an ordinary volunteer in that an intern is usually committed to a certain period and certain number of hours of work; an intern is generally willing to learn new skills and ways of working. From the intern’s point of view, the value is in the learning (and sometimes in school credit as well, for those who have an internship requirement as part of their studies).

Also, we are such a small organization that nobody’s job will be exclusively “make-work” like getting coffee and fetching things. While all of us do some fetching, most interns who work with us end up being given more responsibilities and real work that at larger organizations

IJ: At our founding event, you spoke about “bad apple-interns”, too. Interns who are not determined and only come to gather the credits they need for graduation. What are the NO GOS from your side, and how is an intern supposed to be?

AW: We strongly believe that interns must be determined and do a great job, too.
I’m not interested in working with someone, intern or not, who is only interested in doing the minimum amount of work to get things done.

I’m also not interested in working with someone who isn’t willing to learn or respect the experience of more permanent YTG members. We value the expertise that some of our interns bring from their previous training, but they need to realize that the other volunteers at YTG have been making theatre (and making theatre in Japan, in particular) for a long time and sometimes we actually do know better. Sometimes. But the respect needs to work both ways.

IJ: We are often asked how a company can benefit from an intern, and some also do not get what benefit an intern has. To make this understandable, we created the Value Add guidelines. Anything we missed?

AW: Nope.

YTGIJ: You are not able pay a salary, but you provide benefits. Tell us about these. We always say that anything can help, be it a train pass, a meal or a sofa to stay on for the time interning.

AW: As a small NPO with limited budgets, most of our ensemble members and volunteers don’t even get their train fare paid, except on special projects with outside funding. This holds true for interns, too.

We will pay transportation that is outside the scope of an intern’s regular duties. For instance, if we were to tour a show to Osaka, train fare would be paid.

Obviously, interns see our shows for free (frequently, interns are in the show, so that kind of goes without saying), but they also can take YTG acting classes at a steep discount (sometimes for free). Sometimes, YTG is given free tickets for other companies’ shows, so interns sometimes get free tickets to other shows or events.

IJ: Especially in the culture and arts-filed, the talents are amazing, but it is hard to make a living, right? What do YOU at YTG need? How can people support you? You are also a Non-Profit Organization, correct?

AW: Yes, YTG is a non-profit. At the moment, nobody on the team makes their living from working for YTG.

IJ: We are planning to offer scholarships for interns in culture and arts. How do you feel about that?

AW: That would be fantastic. Interns should be compensated directly.

IJ: To offer scholarships, we as NPO need to make money. Any ideas on that? Could we cooperate with you for example and have you and the interns play at our events or so?

AW: With the kind of work IJ does, I’d expect sponsorships and grants would be the key to generating operating revenue. It’s not feasible now, but in the future, you could also ask intern “alumni” who got experience through an IJ placement and have now got great jobs to donate to help others. Sadly, the kind of performance work we do doesn’t lend itself to corporate-style events.

IJ: What is your message to internship-prospects, what do you want to tell those youngsters willing to come to Japan?

AW: If you’re serious, and committed to doing good work and being part of something creative, then we’re waiting for you!

IJ: How can WE, Internship Japan, do better? What do you wish us to do in the future?

AW: No complaints.

IJ: Any words of wisdom for the youth that come to Japan hoping to find a career in theatre or other arts-based field?

AW: Don’t do it for the money. This goes for anywhere, but especially in Japan.

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