Japan 22.08.2009 - 05.09.2009

日本の革新 Innovation in Japan!

Introduction by Paul Dudler, Chairman of the SJCC Scholarship Fund

The IFIL.CH Japan Trip is more than its theme “Innovation” promises. For those willing to open their minds and hearts it can become an initiation into what the organizers describe as “the process of intercultural learning”. To be sure, however, no traveller visiting Japan for 2 weeks will return as a Japan expert. Yet, the program being designed to provide unique insights into a fascinating culture, inspiring social and work practices as well as into an environment with a high propensity for innovation and continuous learning – not generally experienced by tourists – will challenge the intellectual and emotional curiosity of the IFIL participants.

Indeed, whether by design or not, the interaction with today’s (and yesterday’s) Japan, its people, their work and achievements may provide enough food for thought, ideas and motivation to dig deeper and perhaps even plan a sabbatical in Japan. From personal experience as a former business executive in Japan I know how essential Japan competence, i.e. a thorough familiarity with the cultural, economic and social uniqueness of the Japanese, is for the success of foreign business manager in this country. Hence, acquiring such competence as part of your career planning can be an attractive proposition considering the demand for such experts.  

I personally know two of the 3 organizing team members who – as scholarship recipients of the Swiss-Japanese Chamber of Commerce (SJCC) – have participated for over one year in a training program consisting of intensive Japanese study and an internship in a local company. Their experience and network not only guarantees interesting encounters and experiences on the IFIL trip but can also become a source of ideas should you plan an extended language and practical training  in Japan.

As one of the grantees has put it: “. . . It takes time and patience to really understand the Japanese culture. Most importantly, one must have an open mind towards the new and different, must abstract from western concepts and make continuous efforts to understand . . .”  If you share these conclusions at the end of the IFIL trip to Japan, do not be discouraged, you have made the first step from having a dream to perhaps realizing it!

Happy landings!

日本の革新 Innovation in Japan!

The aim of this trip is to let you experience how Japan deals with the current set of challenges in its economy, political system as well as its society.

Although it is widely known that Japan is one of the world’s top innovators in the field of technology, we will go far beyond that limited area: We will look at the challenges related to the structure and the practice of the Japanese political system as well as the increasing disparities in a society marked by social change and demographic imbalances. Since these are areas where Japan is facing an increased need to come up with new concepts and ideas this trip will be a timely and very interesting opportunity to observe, experience and understand the country as a whole.

As we would like to give you a  a multi-faceted insight into the the country we will cover many different spots which requires some travelling, for instance, with super-fast train called ‘Shinkansen’. First, we will stay in the older, eastern part of Tokyo. Then, after a few days, we head westwards to Kyoto, the former capital of Japan, from where we will make short trips to explore the Kansai area. Subsequently, on our way back to the starting point we will stop a few times along the coast before coming back to Tokyo, however this time in the newer western part of this fascinating and vibrant city.

Japan is a country that requires a very open-minded attitude from its visitors if they intend to understand how this country is functioning. This trip is an excellent opportunity to test your intercultural skills  and hopefully opens your eyes about your own cultural background.