Staff Interview: Kazue NAKAHARA (Accounting Division)

[Original by Haruka SHIMIZU, 2015 Public Relations Intern (July 21, 2016); Translated by M. Kanai/R. Florea/A. Senkoff]

“Are you interviewing me?” Ms. Nakahara feeling shy. She looks adorable!

Hello everyone! My name is Haruka Shimizu, 2015 Public Relations Intern for JVC. This is already the final installment of staff interview blog, which started in October 2015! Through these interviews, I came to learn the specific reasons why those interviewed staff members have become involved in international cooperation activities as well as surprising aspects of the individuals which you may not have known otherwise. I decided to launch the blog to share with as many people as possible what we were privileged to gain through these interviews. I hope you have enjoyed the series. I would be very happy if, through reading these interviews, you could feel closer to these interesting JVC members and become more familiar with them than before.

The person who marks the finale of this series of staff interviews is Ms. Nakahara who has been in charge of accounting since September 2015. Ms. Nakahara had worked in accounting division of a private company for many years after graduating from high school. Thereafter she joined JVC as an accounting volunteer and was subsequently assigned to the present task. In this article, I will give you full and thorough description of what an attractive person she is!

I heard that you have many years of experience in accounting at a private company. How did you come to get involved in accounting?

After graduating from high school, I started working at an ordinary company. There were two posting options, sales or accounting. I had no stomach for accounting because I did not have any knowledge of the job. Then, it turned out as a big hit and I was assigned to accounting division! (laugh) This was my first encounter with accounting. At that time, I never imagined that I would continue working in the accounting area for such a long time. However, once I started, I found the accounting work quite interesting. Besides, the company attentively listened to the opinions of a new recruit fresh from high school like me. Therefore, I lived enjoyable and fruitful life until one day I was struck by an idea after completing a usual day’s work. I thought, “I have just kept on working after leaving high school. I wonder if I will not regret getting old this way.” It suddenly occurred to me that this is the time to quit the job and start anew. I resigned from the company where I had worked for five years and made up my mind to go to the Ogasawara (Bonin) Islands.

What a bold decision you made! But why it had to be the Ogasawara Islands?

For scuba diving, which is my hobby! (laugh) Even when I was working at the company, I used to go to the islands, Hachijo-Jima or Izu-Oshima, twice a month or so. I went there with diving apparatus on Friday nights and enjoyed diving. I came back home on Sunday and went to work on Monday. As I recall, I lived a very active life at that time. I obtained a scuba diving license simply because a friend of mine influenced me, not because of any specific reason. But I was completely fascinated by diving, and even today I continue to go on scuba diving trips, although it is only once in a few years now. While I stayed in the Ogasawara Islands, I worked at a seaside clubhouse as a live-in part-timer and was fully absorbed in diving. Having been a frequent visitor to the islands, I had several local friends. I became acquaintances with the staff of a diving center, who always took me to diving spots with their boat. By nature, I am prone to become seasick once I set my leg on a boat. But strangely enough, in the Ogasawara Islands, I had never suffered from seasickness so that I could fully enjoy scuba diving.

She seems to have been particular about diving apparatus making complete collection of equipment.

The sea around the Ogasawara Islands is her favorite diving spot. She used to scuba dive there even before the Islands were designated as UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site in 2011.

How was your life after coming back to Tokyo from the Ogasawara Islands?

When I was looking at various notices for jobs, I found a job offer from an accounting office, which attracted my attention. Although I had a little accounting experience from my previous employment, I did not possess any qualification related to the work. But luckily enough, the accounting office hired me. On that occasion, for the first time in my vocational life, I felt like taking an official license examination for bookkeeping. Fortunately, I succeeded in the exam for level three and two on my first attempt! I was further motivated to take on the challenge of the exam for level one. However, the exam of the level one covered some theoretical aspects, and I was worried whether I could pass the examination only by self-studying. I told my boss that I wished to study accounting at a specialized school while working in the office. Then, my boss asked me “Do you simply want to have a qualification or study accounting?” I had never asked the question to myself before, and his question made me aware of my aspiration to study accounting. I took an entrance examination of evening course for business administration at a two-year junior college and was accepted.

You are really a person of prompt action! How was your student life?

The class started at 18:00. Due to traffic problems, I was always late. But my motivation for learning remained always very high since I had a strong belief that “I am going to this college because I want to study.” Even though I arrived late, I would take a seat left available closest to the front row. I kept taking notes of lectures with the upmost concentration in order not to miss even one word. I got married before graduating from the college. After graduation, I became a mother and I continue to strive to become a certified tax accountant while raising children. I was able to succeed in bookkeeping theory, one of the required subjects of the exam. But regrettably, I could not attain my goal because I was too busy with the office work, housework and childcare to find time to prepare for the exam. However, in those days I was very happy and enjoyed every single day, thinking that I was born to take care of my children.

Then, what made you interested in international cooperation?

A photo taken while cycling around the Lake Biwa. Once she is addicted to anything, she would make an all-out attempt.

When I reached a stage where I could take a rest from raising children, I took up badminton, which I used to play in my school days, but I got injured. As a means of rehabilitation, I started cycling and I became hooked on the sport. I would make a cycling plan by myself to visit various places such as the Lake Biwa (making a round of approximately 200 kilometers in circumference), the Okinawa Islands, Kyoto, and Fukushima to name a few. It was very pleasant to run at a leisurely pace enjoying the scenery along the way without being tempted by the speed. One day, I was cycling on the Setouchi Shimanami Kaido, a highway known as a sacred place among cyclists, which connects the main island of Japan and the Shikoku Island by multiple bridges across the Seto Inland Sea. I had so much fun and I told myself, “The first half of my life has already gone. I will live the remaining half of my life in such a way that I would never regret. I will not let myself be pressed for time.”

About one year after the Great East Japan Earthquake, I went on cycling heading southward along the coast of the Fukushima Prefecture. I was shocked to see those places where houses were all swept away by tsunami, leaving nothing but the foundations. While I was pedaling my bicycle, I thought very seriously “I have enough energy and even some to spare for cycling like this, shouldn’t I rather use it to make some positive contribution to the society?” Consequently, I started doing volunteer activities at JVC, which I found through the Internet. Although I was not necessarily brought up in a well-to-do environment myself, my heart ached when I saw the photos and pictures of children suffering from malnutrition. Questions about issues such as inequality and justice have never left my mind. However, I did not take any actions nor did I get myself involved in the activities of international cooperation. Then when I came to know that there is an accounting volunteer team at JVC, I thought I might be able to utilize my accounting experience acquired in my previous jobs. I almost heard a voice calling me “Come and join us.”

While I was working as a volunteer, I found out that JVC was offering an accounting position to which I applied. I was accepted as if I were meant for the job! At the time of changing status from a volunteer to a paid staff, I was worried whether I was competent enough to carry out the job. Then, I was determined to accept the offer hoping that my experiences in accounting could be used for world peace or for the creation of the society where all the people can live without fear and anxiety, if I may be allowed to exaggerate a little. I was engaged in an accounting job by chance at the first company I worked for and that experience has led me to where I am now. It is wonderful that any experience eventually proves to be worthwhile.

Although I have been in the present position less than one year, I have already received a lot of incentives I never experienced before. Some of them even changed my personal values. Every day and everything is new and exciting. However, the outlook for the world is bleak with incessant violence as the world finds itself in a chaotic situation. There are many people who are treated in an unreasonable and unjustifiable manner. The nature is not properly conserved. What could have caused these happen to us? I will continue to do my utmost as a behind-the-scenes-supporter at JVC in order to help solve these issues and to get ourselves closer to the goal of world peace.

[My impression after interview]

Ms. Nakahara came to the interview wearing the pierced earrings now sold by South Africa Project Team to support the persons with HIV infection.

She looks like a cool person at a glance but I found out that she is a very active lady with an attractive personality. She is also an energetic sportswoman beyond our imagination. She was assigned to accounting job by chance and continued to upgrade her abilities in the job by studying at school while working and raising children at the same time. Now she is making use of her accounting experiences for international cooperation. It is great the way she commits herself to whatever she set her mind on.

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