vol.7 Obi-chan, a woman who has her own style



Milestones in her life


Started working as a nurse while studying at a nursing night school for five years
Graduated from nursing school Age 23
Gained re-employment at a university hospital as a nurse Age 24
Started being aware of lifestyle management Age 29
Marriage Age 31

Would you tell us the reason why you got interested in nursing as your career?


I have an elder brother and a younger brother and am the only girl. My Parents had a thought, “A girl doesn’t need to go to university, she should work after graduating high school.” I somewhat agreed with them. I then took some civil-service examinations without careful consideration and I couldn’t pass them. :’-( One of the reasons I chose nursing as my career was because I failed the examinations. However, I also had a feeling in the bottom of my heart, “I would like to go to college to learn more and decide my future plan whilst enjoying campus life”.

Now I believe that it was s good decision for me to work as a nurse. Nurses always face human life and I am required to study about not only diseases but also mental health. Furthermore, there are more opportunities to develop a career in many varied fields.

We have a saying, “Sickness and health start with the mind.” When we get sick, we become very nervous. I felt frustration and a bit depressed when I returned to work. I suffered from both, and found the importance of a healthy mental condition. Getting a disease is a trial in our life. For my patients, I would like to be a nurse who understands them by the side of mental balance.

That is why I would like to advise them to choose convinced treatments after consideration when people get ill. This position as a nurse taught me that it is important to face and care for myself, and would like to value my lifestyle as well.

What do you do as a nurse?


I am in charge of outpatients at a university hospital. I instruct patients and mainly assist doctors. I am in a team so I have many things to do; staff training, arrangements, activities, operational improvement, in additional to routine works.

You have experience in various diagnosis and treatment department. Would you tell us the reason why you try not to focus on only one expertise but cover more? What do you think about your future career and your life plan?


At first, I hoped to work in intensive care or the emergency room, like seen in a TV drama. I temporarily worked in the emergency treatment department. However it was such a severe condition, especially human relationship. After a while, I was transferred to outpatient department without my will and had to experience in many diagnosis and treatment departments.

For the future, I would like to conduct a broader range of activities for health and mental care to cheer up people, regardless of my profession or place of employment. Furthermore, I would like to learn English and care for guests from foreign countries. I hope to get any opportunities at the Tokyo Olympics!

Do you have any goals and challenges for the future?


I would like to foster a rich humanity, especially a person with broad mind. My ideal person does not blame but understands and accepts different values.

I believe that this real world is the reflection of my mind. I try not to forget humble heart, and I always bear in mind to keep my eyes open for the meaning in an undesirable accident. I also love to read books and join activities for cultivating humanness. Changing my mindset leads to change and betters my own and even the life of people around me.

It is important to take work life balance. Do you usually make a conscious effort to live your daily life?


・I concentrate on what I’m doing now.
・I ask someone to do what I can’t do.
・I have a meditation time to do yoga three to five times in a week.

Yoga gets rid of my tiredness and makes my body feel refreshed. Taking slow breaths on a yoga mat, I can be aware of many things such as my weakness or pressures through yoga. Awareness provides a clue to consider in other way and change myself. So yoga time is important for me to reflect on myself.

You have many hobbies. How do you spend your private time? Would you tell us your recent interests and hobbies?



I am interested in adventure tours, health, mountains and nature, reading. I don’t have enough time to do those, so for now I try to appreciate fun of daily life, cleaning my room and cooking (laugh). I would like to entertain my guests with hospitality.

You love bamboo, this gives us the impression of a person with a strong belief, like bamboo. Are you usually conscious of a sense of yourself?


I love bamboo’s characteristics, standing straight and silence, with nodes as our life has some milestones. It might be a good way to have such milestones or goals, step by step in my life. Being myself is to believe my intuition and decide things and take action. It is important that you listen to your inner voice and make time to reflect on what is inside your heart.

Have you been making a conscious life plan and management?


No, I wasn’t conscious of it in my twenties. However, I had started thinking about what I wanted to be in the future. I gradually became conscious of life management by attending some workshops to reflect on myself and making a dream map once a year since my encounter with yoga at age of 29.


How do you create your lifestyle in the future?


The most important thing for me is to create social connections. I would like to be the one with a lot of people around.

I wish to have a baby in my thirties. Also I would like to mature as a person, manage daily life well, and keep a healthy body. I will have many opportunities to meet various people and learn new things. So I would like to move to action what I want to do with my intuition.

Next, I hope to work beyond places of employment in my forties. Only hospital is not the place. At that moment, I will be happy if I have reliable business partners.

You have great vision and actively spend your life with interests and concerns.Could you give us a message for women who want to build up individuality?


It’s just simple. Follow your heart. You should have the courage to listen to your intuition. Your intuition knows what you want to be. That’s why I recommend you to have time to dialogue with yourself and hear your inner voice.


We feel her strong will through conversation with her, and she is a wonderful woman living up to her beliefs. She creates a picture in her mind and takes action to move forward to the realization of what she wants to be. We should emulate her activeness!

Obi-chan, thank you for sharing your wonderful story!

Vol.3 Promoted to an office manager in China, one of her dreams to work abroad came true in her twenties!


Hiroko Ito

She experienced working in China as an office manager at 28. Became familiar with Chinese culture, got married and had a child there. She now lives in Japan now and is the mother of a 2-year -old son.



Milestones in her life


Graduated from university (major in Chinese language) Age 23
Studied abroad (Beijing for one month) Age 22
Joined a company Age 23
Moved to Shanghai Age 25
Marriage Age 29
Had a child and returned to Japan Age 30



You were majoring in Chinese language at university.


Yes. I received advice from my father, and I thought that Asia, particularly growth in China would be expected in the future. Based on this belief a need for Chinese speakers would be in demand.



After graduating from university, you found a job in Japan. Why did you make up your mind to work in the management consulting industry?


I desired to pursue and strengthen my expertise of service to raise added value to products. At that time, I hoped to work in the service process improvement for B to C companies and customer service.



What made you decide to work abroad?


I wanted to work with foreign languages since I was young. During some short-term study in Beijing, I was surprised at the low level of service in China. I realized the importance of distinguishing our company from the competitors through good service. I decided I was willing to work on reforming the business model for service in China.



Would you tell us how you came to work in China? How your interests and concerns have changed since working abroad?


When I joined a management consulting company that supports management and activation of organization, at the time their only overseas offices were in the U.S. and Korea. For 2 years, I worked as a sales representative in our Saitama branch, and I participated in regular dinner parties with the chairman and executives. During one of these occasions I overheard talk of launching a China office and told them directly, without hesitation, that I wanted to work in China.


I had been drinking Japanese sake (alcohol) and was feeling quite comfortable and didn’t think twice about speaking up (laugh). A half-year later, my dream became reality and I went to Shanghai!


I was 25, with no fear, only curiosity. That’s all I had. Your story on having the opportunity to work in China gives me a very positive attitude toward work.



Were you conscious of advancing yourcareer?


Actually, the word “career” didn’t come to mind at all when I was a university student and looking for a job.



Would you tell us your challenges, happiness and difficulties working in China and adjusting to the customs and culture?


I found my job to be more rewarding in China than it had been when I was in Japan. I was in charge of many companies and there was pressure to achieve results. It was a challenging time but I was up for the challenge and thoroughly enjoyed it.


To increase customer acquisition, I visited many clients in Shanghai, Beijing, Dalian and Shinsen. I took business trips two or three times a week, working from my laptop whilst travelling between cities. I needed to set up everything from the scratch, and all my work was directly reflected on the organization. That’s why I worked so hard. I was required to think and create everything – it was hard work but I was happy for the challenge.


The toughest thing was communicating with some of the Chinese staff. I found that the Chinese culture and way of thinking, was very different from Japanese. I especially had trouble with the culture of concern for personal honor. I made great effort to convey my thoughts and understand their true inner voice. My Chinese colleges and I overcame conflict and managed to build a good relationship of respect and support for each other.



Would you tell us challenges as an office manager and any impression on communication with staff?


I had previously made an effort to achieve “my” targeted benefits, but after I became the office manager, those goals became something to be accomplished as a team. The staff was not interested in target sales at first, but over time we could share delight with each other when our clients accepted our proposals, finally bringing a feeling of unity. They improved their ability within a year and came to get more contracts.



What differences did you feel working in china, compared to Japan?


Initially it was the idea of “carrying out my word”. Chinese people don’t recognize a person’s job title. At first, it is a premise that I can do it before I ask, and it is necessary to explain the reason clearly. The second one is a “give and take” idea. We need to understand and recognize our own strength in each other. Beyond title, without a relationship based on trust, we couldn”t bring about a feeling of unity. Numbers in Chinese, manners and greeting, those are what I learned from them.



Would you tell us your feeling about Chinese women’s lifestyle, working, and private life?


Women have a lot of opportunities for promotion in China, and many return to work just 6 months after childbirth. They have a favorable working situation because of a custom that grandparents take care of children. Chinese people rarely work overtime and most value spending time with family. They conduct their tasks properly in limited time.


That’s the impression I have. In Japan, of course, we value family as they do, but it is difficult to leave at the fixed time and we usually work late.



By touching other cultures and people, do you have any big change in your vision and sense of value?


I might have lost my shyness. My voice became loud too.



What’s a good point that you aimed to achieve in your twenties?


In my twenties, I had the physical strength and learned anything new very quickly, and it was good that I had something to devote my effort and various experiences to at that time. After I married and had my son, it was difficult to work under the same conditions as before, but I believe those experiences were useful to make a good relationship with my son.



You are required to prepare mentally to do what you love. How did you step ahead towards your dream?


I didn’t feel that I needed courage (laugh). Basically, my life is built by myself, and it depends on my actions.



Do you usually make a conscious effort to live your daily life?


I imagine what kind of life I want to spend, what kind of person I want to be, and make plans to make the goal realistic. I also pay attention to utilizing time effectively.




You have a son now, and do you think your experience of working abroad may influence on your child rearing? Any change in your mind or thoughts?


I hope my son can learn and speak English without trouble. In China, children are taught, “Never lose and become No.1” in education. I can’t say unconditionally, but Japanese have a great regard for cooperativeness and their thoughts on education are extremely different compared with those of Chinese. I think both are important and don’t think either are wrong. The most important thing is to have one’s own opinion and tell it simply.



Do you have any beliefs in bringing up your child?


I would like to teach my son to think and make decisions for himself.


You attained goals in your twenties and reached a woman’s turning point, which are marriage and child-birth around your thirties. It is one of the ideal lifestyles in a woman’s life planning.



After your son has grown up and you have enough time, you can go ahead towards another step, would you like to work in the same field or challenge a new area?


I would like to utilize my career, but actually I’m still thinking now what I should do next. It must first balance my husband’s future job relocations and take care of my son.



If you have an opportunity in the future, do you wish to work abroad and with local people again?


Yes, absolutely!




Hiroko-san has a soft personality and is a mother of one child. She is powerful with energy in her heart and is a charming woman.


Hiroko-san, thank you for sharing your wonderful story!