[Original by Yuka WATANABE, 2015 Public Relations Intern (November 18, 2015); Translated by S. Thapa/Y. Nakamura]
Hello everyone, I am the public relations intern Yuka Watanabe. In our third installment of staff interviews, we have Mr. Junya Hosono, Deputy General Manager. Mr. Hosono is in charge of various range of things at the office, including general affairs and labor. To be honest, Mr. Hosono is a little bit unusual in an NGO setting. He is a Systems Engineer (SE), a ‘techie’. How did a systems engineer get into the path of international cooperation? Let’s ask and find out.
What led you to participate in the field of international cooperation?
Initially, I did not have any interest in volunteering for international cooperation. Ever since I was little I was interested in computers, and I did programming as a junior high school student. I had declared that this would be the path and life I would live at a pretty early age. I think I was very lucky to know what I wanted to do with my life. Figuring out your calling and being able to achieve it is different for each person; however, once you figure out your calling, the future paths will become smoother and clear. When I was graduating from university, I was job hunting to get into a computer company.
My wish came true. I began working as a SE at a private company. My job was to “create systems”. In 2001, a Japanese car company was constructing a new factory in US, and they needed an engineer, so I took a business trip to North America. Looking back at it now, I thought I did a lot of work. But, during that time I worked from 2 pm to 4 am, a total of 14 hours of hard work, every day.
One day, I was sleeping after work as usual. I suddenly received a phone call from Japan. The person asked me, “Are you guys okay?” I was not sure why they were asking me that so I asked them “what happened?” They responded “watch TV!” When I turned on the TV, it was streaming buildings in NY getting hit by airplanes. This day was “9/11”.
The events of “9/11” are what got me engaged in the work of international cooperation. With the loss of over 3,000 lives at once, this was an event having happened by my side that would be largely printed in textbooks of world history. A moment that felt very familiar and led to many changes in America. In my experience I saw the way the lives of my Muslim co-workers were changed, as they were subject to immense pressure and discrimination. As far as I am concerned, this was a huge incident. Because of this, I became interested in learning about international cooperation. As I researched I learned that this was something that a private organization did. I came to learn it was called an “NGO”. If I did not leave my life as an office worker, I would not have known about this world.
After researching, the organization with which I participated in study sessions was JVC. After hearing talks at JVC, I found out that it was possible to work in the field of “International Cooperation”. I wanted to challenge myself and work somewhere where I could fully utilize my strength in hand and tackle the issues of the world. So I decided to quit the job I had and loved for 7 years and become a one-year intern at JVC. Towards the end of my time as an intern, I learned that a staff member in charge of editing periodical bulletins was retiring. Thus, I became the successor and starting working at JVC. After this, I became engaged and in charge of things like membership and general affairs. Since last year I have been Deputy General Manager, mainly dealing with improvement of labor conditions besides general affairs.
Is there anything that connects your former job to your current one?
The skills from the past place of employment can be applied to a lot of my responsibilities. For example, things like the members and supporters management system and website administration are in relation to my previous experiences. (Mr. Hosono is also in charge of JVC’s website management.)
Because the system is not a visible thing, when you try to construct it you must incorporate things the eyes can’t see but are necessary to include. This is all the more true when on a team. It becomes necessary to have a common understanding of unseen things. If I remember now, the skill necessary to draw a figure was improved in those days and is now applicable to the skill required to write a proposal.
Having worked for 10 years as a JVC Staff member, please tell me about JVC’s challenges and strengths.
In order for JVC to achieve the social image that we aim for, we need to have “a power to get more people involved”. Of course it’s great to have involvement of people from the metropolitan area, but wouldn’t it be great if we could get people from rural areas and around the world to be involved? People from rural areas always complained that we would very likely limit involvement to the metropolitan area. There must be a way to get members outside of the metropolitan area. I will do my best.
I think JVC’s strength is conveyed through “its history”, even more so with “the trust that have earned”. This year is JVC’s 35th anniversary. When you think about the NGO’s mission, I don’t think it’s particularly a good thing to be a long lasting organization, but having the continued support and trust of so many people is a great strength in my opinion.
After starting work, is there anything that you have to be conscious of?
First thing that comes to mind is that working at a NGO entails that my paycheck comes from everyone’s donations or the membership fees collected from JVC members. This is something I am constantly aware of. I try very hard not to be conceited by thinking “I am doing great things by working at a NGO for International Cooperation”.
Second is that “among all the things that humans do there is not a single thing that is 100% right”. The safety of nuclear power plants is as such. To start with, because humans are not computers there is always going to be mistakes. I don’t think there can be anything someone says or writes that is 100 % true. Including myself, I do not think my way of thinking can ever be 100 % right either.
Saying “This is!” I write down words and helpful things in memos in my personal twitter account. As for job and life, I easily take notes about all small facts, tricks, proverbs noticed by chance, and thoughts that cross my mind.
I write to myself so that I do not forget but recollect. I pass every day with the awareness that I am an engineer, and “as an engineer I will spend all my life learning until death”.
In your personal twitter account there are many soccer topics (laughing). In your case Mr. Hosono, can you describe soccer in one word?
It is my specialty to watch, but “it induces the highest level of human emotions without interest in profit and loss”. I support both my local team in Chiba, where I had lived many years, and the Japanese national team – about 20 years history of my support. I also personally look up to Mr. Ivica Osim, Japanese team’s former manager, as “a role model”.
Suppose there was a JVC Eleven, who would you assign to each position?
That’s a tough one. The readers probably don’t know the members of the staff, so they may not understand? But since you asked, I will tell you!
Formation is to be basic 4-4-2.
Goal Keeper: Ms. Ishikawa, secretary office of concert
Center Back: Mr. Sabir, local staff in Afghanistan office, and Mr. Shimoda, Thai projects
Side Back: Mr. Yokoyama, Kesennuma office, and Mr. Hashimoto, secretary office of calendars
Defensive Midfielder: Mr. Onoyama, Afghanistan projects, and Ms. Teranishi, Korea projects
Side Half: Ms. Kato, Afghanistan projects, and Mr. Ikeda, Iraqi projects
Forward: Ms. Tomita, resident staff in South Africa, and Ms. Kaneko, resident staff in Palestine
Coach: Mr. Taniyama, President
Assistant coach: Ms. Inami, accountant
Stadium DJ: Mr. Yamazaki, Cambodian projects
I hope this does not offend anybody. And I am sorry for the staff members I have not listed.
Watanabe: I see that both the forwards are women and overseas resident staff. (laughing) The Goal Keeper is a woman too! It’s as if the women control and orchestrate both the offense and the defense. (laughing) Mr. Yamazaki is a perfect fit to be the stadium DJ as he is the one that speaks the most in the office.
Lastly, can you show us one extraordinary picture?
Watching the team I support, “JEF Chiba” avoid relegation from J1 was probably the happiest moment for me. (His eyes sparkle recalling it, and he is flooded with love for soccer.)
[My impression after the interview]
Mr. Hosono is always calm. It is very nice to have heard his circumstances until now in detail. It made me feel his strength and passion that he could transfer what he had thought at the incident of 9/11 to action. (Watanabe)
He has an excellent knowledge about personal computers. He is straight and serious towards everything. I could know the incident, which had induced him, through interview. I feel it very nice that he had found what he liked to do in junior school days. (Shimizu)
[Notice for the next interview!]
Next time, the fourth staff member for our interview is that person! As Mr. Hosono says, he is closely associated with Cambodia and a wife lover talking about her at least three times a day. Isn’t it difficult to guess him with a portrait nicely drawn by Mr. Hosono? Please expect the next!
* The order of uploading the English version of “Staff Interview” is random and hence different from the order of the original Japanese version. We are sorry, but the person coming next may be different from the “next person to be interviewed” mentioned in the text.Share This: