Training for overseas staff is held at Hakuhodo Headquarters (HQ) every year. This year, staff from Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, and Taiwan participated in the training. Among them, Lucy Jiang (Senior Copywriter) and Nana Chen (Associate Art Director) from Taiwan Hakuhodo came to participate in the eight-week training, and report their experiences in Tokyo here. The OJT aims to provide trainees with opportunities to work at Hakuhodo Tokyo, handle global advertising business, and hone their skills in their respective sectors.
Where did you stay?
We stayed in apartments between Akasaka and Roppongi, so it was quite convenient for us to walk to the company. This reduced the commuting time and other concerns, which helped us as newcomers to Tokyo. Besides, we had not stayed here when we traveled to Tokyo before. This was a special experience for us to enjoy the city where business intersects with pop culture. Every day began with observing pedestrians, whether mothers pushing strollers, dog-walkers, or office workers walking hurriedly, which was always interesting and fun.
How did you spend your days off?
We both love exhibitions and visited various art museums together. Tokyo especially has various art museums near our apartments. One day we visited TeamLab in Odaiba with trainees from Malaysia. We spent the whole afternoon there and had a great time. We also sometimes went for walks to seek other aspects of Japanese culture different from Akasaka. Whether it was Kamakura and Lake Kawaguchi with their natural landscapes, or fashionable Shibuya and Omotesando, they left us with deep impressions.
We tasted various types of Japanese food and enjoyed unique cultures that do not exist in Taiwan. It was our first time to eat horse meat and venison, and to have sushi at a restaurant without seats. We also experienced Japanese hairdressing, horse racing, and outdoor bathing. These fresh and interesting activities brought us closer to Japanese life.
Although the cultural differences between Taiwan and Japan are not that large at first glance, we could feel the meticulousness in Japanese service. For instance, when a clerk dropped a copper coin by accident when giving change, another clerk stepped in immediately. As another example, after our haircuts, the stylist not only handed us cotton pads and cleaned the hair from our faces, but also escorted us to the door, bowed sincerely, and handed us their business card, which made us feel extremely flattered.
How about your feeling after participating in the OJT?
We were free to think here without limitations. Especially in the insight stage, we were not frustrated by a lack of time or budget, but actively made better proposals for clients. All of us made efforts to come up with better ideas, and allowed detailed modification of the storyboard even at the shooting location. We thought that that deep consideration was also one of the powerful strengths at Hakuhodo. Besides the innovative insight of the proposal stage, it was also a great experience for us to participate in on-site shooting during our OJT.
Lucy: What left a deep impression on me was “the power of the team.” There were no divisions, titles, or ranks, and every one of us worked together, tossed around ideas, and enjoyed fascinating discussions.
Nana: As an Associate Art Director, I am responsible principally for web advertising in Taiwan. So, it was new for me to join in these discussions to come up with ideas for below-the-line events.
What did you think of the Sei-katsu-sha Insight philosophy at Hakuhodo?
Before coming to Tokyo, we took sei-katsu-sha insight as a relatively abstract concept. For example, when selecting targets, in Taiwan there is often too much similarity between those for underwear brands and for makeup brands. But we can truly feel the depth of this philosophy now. Everyone can be taken as a sei-katsu-sha, rather than a consumer.