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Simulating an indoor ventilation unit in the backdrop, I’ll try my best to do justice with words to describe the great experience this journey has been. I currently work as an intern in Daikin Industries, Japan. Allow me to give you an insight into the details on the internship, thrilling lifestyle and corporate work culture and the experience of living amongst the most respectful and the kindest people on this planet!
About the company
Daikin Industries, Ltd is a Japanese multinational air conditioner manufacturing company headquartered in Osaka. Daikin is the inventor of variable refrigerant volume systems and an innovator in the Split System Air Conditioning Market. With these core technologies and many other innovations, Daikin is a leading HVAC(Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning) manufacturer in the global market.
Every year Daikin offers internships to students from IIT Bombay and Delhi in its research and development department which provides a great deal of exposure to the industrial and cutting edge research going on in the company. DISCO, a human resource management company, in collaboration with Daikin organises an annual seminar in September to announce its following year’s internship profiles. This is followed by an interactive session with the previous interns. It was after attending this seminar that I realised that one of the profiles was in high conformance with my research interests and some of the projects I had undertaken previously. After picking the brains of some of the seniors who were interns for the previous year, I was prepared for the selection stages. The shortlisting is done based mainly on your resume (more weightage given to CPI) and the cover letter you submit along with it. The cover letter has great importance as it helps them in judging the candidate suitable for their work culture style and if he is a potential employee in the future. Once the shortlist is announced, the personal interview consists of varied proportions of technical and HR stuff. Their main objective is to make sure that you have a sound technical background for the profile you applied for and if you will be able to adjust to the Japanese way of life. Daikin never comes for placements so this internship is basically a selection procedure for offering a Pre Placement Offer in disguise.
My past experience in Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) from a previous summer research project in and from an overseas collaboration project with a university in Taiwan came in extremely handy for the technical interviews.
Tips for the interview –
- Slow English speaking with clear pronunciation
- A basic idea about the collectivistic and high context nature of Japanese culture
- Basic greetings have a huge impact- A simple Konbanwa (good evening) or Yoroshiku onegaishimasu (nice to meet you) have a huge impact.
- Love for anything related to Japan (food, history, anime, manga etc.) proves to be a plus point for sure.
At Daikin: Everything’s simply awesome: D
Well it’s only been four weeks, yet, this internship has given me memories for life. After selection, unlike some other companies, nothing was disclosed to us about the work profile details. However on reaching Japan you realize that the entire internship program has been planned thoroughly and panned out systematically over your 7 week stay. The first 2 days comprised of language and work culture training program which was basically to teach us some survival level Japanese and the manners and ethics of the Japanese. As the program took place from morning to evening, we had plenty time to explore Osaka nightlife coupled with lavish dinner treats from our HR correspondent. The following Sunday we shifted to our accommodations and they were far better than one would hope for. Each room was furnished with an air conditioner, washing machine, oven, kitchen, washroom, a comfy bed for two, a balcony overlooking the skyscrapers and 10 min walking distance from Osaka centre-we couldn’t ask for more! After relocating we had our visit to the Kanaoka plant where we were given a tour of the plant and an introduction about the detailed internship plan and were later respectively taken to our respective workplaces.
Speaking of the workplace – Technology and Innovation Centre, or as they call it TIC, is located within the Yodogawa chemical plant nestled between the Shinkansen tracks on one side and a breath-taking view of the sparkling Yodo river from the desk. There we were introduced to our group members and our mentors. I was a part of the Digital Engineering group dealing mainly with simulations related to structural failure testing, indoor ventilation and refrigeration cooling etc.. Also a few words about TIC, as this blog would be incomplete without describing its awesomeness – Advanced environmental technologies, primarily in the field of air conditioning, are used in TIC equipment which serve as a model for solutions that achieve both – unrivalled energy efficiency and comfortable indoor environments. In fact, their plan is to achieving the status of net zero energy building by 2020. Engineers and technicians from all over the world have been roped in to work at TIC and their brainstorming is the reason Daikin has been dominating the HVAC market with its kickass tech. Along with a Daikin Discovery Hall featuring Daikin’s badass technologies, TIC has an extremely comfortable workspace, messing facility with cheap and delicious food which greatly helps in raising the productivity exponentially! In fact, I had the opportunity to tour the restricted state of the art experimental material testing lab thanks to one of my colleagues and some basic Japanese.
Coming back to work now, my main objective was to build the model for the cross flow fan used for various industrial and commercial applications and to compare them with the experimental results to achieve a particular level of accuracy later followed by optimizing its performance using STAR CCM+. My mentors were extremely helpful and approachable though there is a slight problem of the language barrier. But then basic survival Japanese and Google Translate always come to the rescue.
Being a high context society, the Japanese prefer to use lesser words while speaking and these fewer words or actions communicate a complex meaning. Being collectivistic and a close knit society, within office, the success of the entire group is considered important rather than the success of an individual. This is the reason why the co employees and your mentors will be extremely helpful during your intern. However an important point to note – please hammer down the things you learn in the first two days for your training in Japanese manners, basic greetings and politeness. These key factors will create a long lasting impressions of yours among your colleagues, mentors and doing it the right way may even help you in bagging that job offer if you wish to.
Being an extremely well planned intern, we had to make weekly report submissions to the HR staff. To sum it up so far, working here has been an enriching experience, and yeah, my Japanese also seems to be getting better! Hardly had we settled down for work, we were treated by the group welcoming us to a fun filled evening in an ‘izakaya’ (informal Japanese gastropub – a place where working people hang out for drinks). Working in your field of interest, with a decent stipend (one of the highest in Japan) and also transportation and air tickets, I couldn’t dream of a better core intern.
Life in Japan: Facts and Fundae
The work schedule here is what you would say “chill max” in our slang given our working hours being from 8:30 am to 5:00 pm with an hour long lunch break. Given that the Japanese usually overwork (and get paid too for that), Daikin doesn’t usually allow you to stay back beyond 5 pm as we have a fixed stipend. The latest I have ever left TIC would be 5:30 pm. Given that an accommodation was provided in the central part of the city (where I used to get lost almost everyday :p), weekdays were also used to explore Osaka’s nightlife. Compared to other countries, Japan is known for its diversity in animals (owls, reptiles, rabbits, cats, dogs, etc), cafes, maid cafes, anime streets, etc., something I’d recommend everyone to try out. Lastly if you love those chilly, rainy nights during June, Osaka is the perfect place to be!
About the people in Japan, I have been to a lot of countries till now but I haven’t met more dedicated, kind, respectful, helpful, fun loving and punctual people than the Japanese! The language barrier being a major problem is rather a misconception and basic Japanese to ask directions and food places, greetings, and a data pack would get you smoothly through anywhere. Besides the Japanese being a high context culture, right choices for words coupled with manners (bowing, saying “itadakimasu” before eating, saying “otskaresamadesu” to the tired ones after working) play an important part in really communicating with the Japanese heart to heart.
Regarding travelling around on weekends, the stipend is enough to travel to all the awesome places. Major cities like Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya have an extensive train system making it easier for you to travel around these cities using local trains (I suggest taking a weekend pass at such times). The experience of travelling using a Shinkansen is totally worth the money while if you wish to save money, night buses and Willer bus passes are recommended.
Besides this, Japan has a lot of natural scenic beauty and trekking at places like Alpine Route, Mt, Fuji, and Nikko while the beaches of Okinawa are not to be missed. However a small note – keep a track of your expenditure.
Regarding food I was amazed by the variety of the dishes available here. For the vegetarians again could be a slight problem but for non-vegetarians who are excited to taste different exotic dishes of different regions, you are in the right country mate. Less spicy compared to Indian food, the food here coupled with sake (Japanese traditional wine) is a wonderful experience and the speciality changes with the prefecture too. Some of my favourite dishes are okonomiyaki, takoyaki (both specialities of Osaka) and obviously the Coco’s curry from Okinawa. For daily needs, buying food outside is way too expensive and hence buying a bento box (packed meal) or cup noodles from convenience stores is recommended or even better to save money on cooking by yourself. For the vegetarians I guess cooking is the best and most economical option.
Regarding shopping, there is lots of weird and rare stuff that can be purchased here. Some of the examples being the exotic flavours of Kit Kat found only in Japan and the Pokey sticks which are a fun snack to munch on. Other than these the weird flavour cookies, sweets and souvenirs and specifically cheap electronic goods are the ones to look out for.
For all the anime and manga followers and fans, Japan is like a paradise! Manga shops, anime streets, cosplay streets, merchandise shops and entire museums, cafes dedicated to individual animes like Pokémon, Naruto, Dragon ball Z, One Piece, Detective Conan, Shin Chan, Gundam, Death Note and what not. The feature most standing out would be the Pokémon Centres in all the important cities like Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya and the different rare Pokémon merchandise that would be available only in these shops in the world.
If you have read up till this point, I am sure I would have been able to convince you why this intern in the land of the rising sun can be best thing to happen for any core enthusiast! With this I bid adieu and I’ll get packing for the weekend in the Japanese Alps!