Eyes, JAPAN Blog > Eyes, JAPAN Employee Interview [Vol. 17]

Eyes, JAPAN Employee Interview [Vol. 17]



The special series to put a spotlight on our international staff, “Eyes, JAPAN employee interview” is back! Our 5th interviewee this year is Fraser Robb from Australia.

He worked for about 5 weeks during his short internship in Eyes, JAPAN, from February-March 2023. We wanted to ask Fraser about his life in Japan, why he came to Japan and what does he think about working in Eyes, JAPAN.

(Interviewer: Angie)

Loves Practicing Japanese!

What is your favorite thing about your home country / home town?

Fraser: My hometown is Perth in Western Australia. I love a lot of things about Australia, and Perth in particular, but most of all it’s that we certainly have the best beaches in Australia (and maybe even the world)! I also think that Perth has a very friendly, welcoming, and relaxed atmosphere, which, combined with its stunning coastline, makes it a fantastic place to live.

Why did you come to Japan and what do you like about Japan?

Fraser: I’ve always been interested in Japan, so I chose to study Japanese at school in Australia, during which I developed a great appreciation for the Japanese language and culture. In 2016, I had the most amazing experience when I visited Japan for the first time while on a Study Tour with my high school – I knew since then that I wanted to experience living in Japan. This prompted me to apply for the Australian Government’s New Colombo Plan Scholarship when I became an undergraduate university student.

Fraser: The New Colombo Plan (NCP) is an initiative by the Australian Government’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade to lift knowledge of the Indo Pacific by supporting Australian undergraduates to study and undertake internships in the region, deepening Australia’s people-to-people and institutional relationships. I am currently in Japan completing an 18-month NCP program with the goal of strengthening the Australia-Japan relationship by establishing new connections and contributing to bilateral collaboration in the technology sector. My NCP program commenced with a study component at the University of Aizu, which brought me to Aizuwakamatsu!

What do you think about life in Aizu and what is your favorite way of spending the weekend or holidays in Aizu?

Fraser: I think that Aizu is a very pleasant place to live. It’s a quiet and very comfortable city with an abundance of history and culture, not to mention friendly and inviting people! I really enjoyed my time living in Aizu and made many unforgettable memories and great friendships there. I actively try to explore as much as I can while living abroad, so most weekends involved visiting somewhere historical, strolling around a different part of the city, or trying one of Aizu’s restaurants and izakayas – of which there are plenty! When not trying somewhere new, I would often be enjoying the evening with friends at my favourite izakaya, Tenryu.

What is your hobby and how do you usually spend your free time?

Fraser: Practicing Japanese has definitely been my favourite hobby as of late! Learning languages and participating in cultural exchange is something that gives me great joy; conversing with native Japanese speakers and actively using the language every day is something that I very much enjoy. I also tried snowboarding for the first time in Aizu and quickly fell in love with it, so hitting the slopes in winter has become one of my favourite hobbies, along with playing soccer and volleyball.

Fraser: When not practicing my Japanese conversation skills, playing sports or spending time with friends, I often take long walks to explore my surroundings as I’m a firm believer that strolling around is the best way to get to know a city! I really enjoy taking a stroll to soak in my environment and find interesting features that are perhaps often overlooked when riding a bike or driving.

What is your academic background and what kind of research are you doing or have you done before?

Fraser: I’m currently a fourth-year undergraduate student of Curtin University studying a Double Degree in Electrical and Electronics Engineering and Computer Science (BEng (Hons)/BSc). Although I am yet to conduct research during my studies, I will be completing research next year for Engineering Honours thesis once I return to Australia to complete my degree.

What do you think is the current hottest technology-related topic?

Fraser: Generative Artificial Intelligence, such as ChatGPT and Midjourney AI, is most certainly the hottest topic in technology at the moment. The capabilities of such AI have rapidly increased recently, so much so that even over the last few months we’ve witnessed these AI being applied in unprecedented ways. The accelerated development of such technologies is surely set to continue, so this will be a fascinating space to keep watching!

Impressed by Eyes, JAPAN’s Projects and Innovative Products.

How did you know about Eyes, JAPAN, and why did you decide to join?

Fraser: After arriving in Aizu in October 2022, I was fortunate to have the chance to meet and become friends with many Eyes, JAPAN employees, from whom I learned about the company and its Founder and CEO, Yamadera-San. After learning about Eyes, JAPAN I became very interested in the company’s work and looked into the company’s previous projects. I was impressed by the variety of projects which Eyes, JAPAN was involved in as well as the company’s extensive university collaborations and innovative products. For these reasons, in addition to hearing great things from Eyes, JAPAN employees, I contacted Yamadera-San to express my interest in contributing to the company through an internship.

What is your role and what kind of projects have you been working on in Eyes Japan?

Fraser: During my time at Eyes, JAPAN I worked as an intern, contributing to the SupermarketAI project. My role entailed the application of data processing, analysis and mining techniques in the development of software for a retail client.

Could you let us know about your most memorable project in Eyes, JAPAN?

Fraser: The most memorable part of my project was successfully performing Frequent Pattern Mining techniques to gain insights into consumer purchasing behaviours. There’s something quite special about extracting real-world insights and drawing useful conclusions from raw data. Achieving this was not only rewarding from a technical standpoint, but it was also a major step in fulfilling the requirements of the project’s initial stage, so it was great to feel that I had made a meaningful contribution to the project outcomes.

Which customs in Eyes, JAPAN do you like the most?

Fraser: Sharing a morning coffee (expertly made by my fellow intern, Tom!) together with everyone in the office was a great company tradition which I very much enjoyed. Furthermore, Yamadera-San’s generosity, inside the office and out, was most certainly a highlight during my time at the Eyes, JAPAN. I am extremely grateful to Yamadera-San for being so welcoming and hospitably sharing Aizu’s unique culture and cuisine. It’s clear that promoting an inviting atmosphere is just one of the many great customs he has instilled into the company.

What do you think about your colleagues and the working environment in Eyes, JAPAN?

Fraser: My colleagues at Eyes, JAPAN were great to work with and get to know. The Eyes, JAPAN’s team consists of very talented individuals with diverse backgrounds and skillsets, and all with a tremendous work ethic. I feel privileged to have had the opportunity to learn first-hand from the experience of my colleagues during my internship. In particular, I worked very closely with Victor, who supervised me during my internship. I very much appreciated Victor’s willingness to support and provide guidance based on his extensive experience, while also allowing for me to work independently, make decisions and solve problems on my own.

Fraser: I found the working environment at Eyes, JAPAN to be supportive and relaxed, while also being focussed and conducive to collaboration. The office space is very inclusive, which made it very easy to reach out to colleagues for assistance and I found the daily morning meetings to be a great way to keep up to date with everyone’s progress on the many different company projects.

What do you think about working at the company and working at home?

Fraser: As my internship was entirely in-person, I’m not able to comment on the remote working experience at Eyes, JAPAN, however I can say that I very much enjoyed working at the company office. In general, I personally prefer to work on-site, rather than at home; this has always been my preference during my studies. I think it’s important to establish a clear work-life balance, and I personally find that working and studying outside of the home helps me to do so. However, everyone is different, so I think it’s great that Eyes, JAPAN provides the flexibility for employees to work remotely if they desire!

What kind of problems or challenges have you faced while working in Eyes, JAPAN, and how did you solve it?

Fraser: The challenges I encountered during my time at Eyes, JAPAN mostly related to my limited experience with the python programming language. As this was my first-time using python in a practical sense, it took some time for getting used to, especially when familiarising myself with the libraries relating to data processing and analytics. Most of my university-level experience has been using lower-level languages such as C and Java, so I found that I occasionally had to re-frame my thinking to adapt to a more python-centric programming approach, along with researching from online resources and consulting my supervisor, Victor. However, this was a great learning experience which facilitated a vast improvement in my overall programming ability and in-particular my knowledge of python.

Dream: Start an International Business

Can you give some pros and/or cons of working at a Japanese company?

Fraser: I am inclined to think that although Japan may have a distinct working culture, all companies are different. From what I know about typical Japanese working culture, I think that Eyes, JAPAN is perhaps not a typical Japanese company. For that reason, I’m not sure if I’m able to distil the Japanese working experience down to a list of pros and cons! However, one thing that I do appreciate about Japanese working culture is the recognition of one’s hard work at the end of the day with a sincere「お疲れ様です!」.

How do you balance your working and private time?

Fraser: In order to separate my work and study from private time, I try to limit my working hours to the early evening to save time in the evening for doing something that I enjoy. This can sometimes be difficult during busy times in the university semester, but I still do my best to set aside some time to unwind!

What motivates you to keep working and studying?

Fraser: My personal mantra is that “learning is growing”. I think that continuous improvement, whether in an educational pursuit or in a practical work sense, is very important to one’s personal development. I find the ability to grow inherently motivating, so I’m always trying to push myself to experience and learn new things!

Any advice for people who wants to work in Japan?

Fraser: I would suggest doing some research on Japanese working customs, especially those pertaining to dining with your co-workers and boss!

What kind of projects do you want to work on in the future?

Fraser: I am interested in working on projects which involve renewable energy, and in particular projects which I can combine knowledge and experience in both Electrical Engineering and Software Engineering for the creation of sustainable technologies.

Lastly, what is your dream?

Fraser: I dream to one day start and grow my own international business by combining my technical experience, business acumen and cultural knowledge. In doing so, I hope to utilize business and technology to facilitate international collaboration, starting with Australia and Japan!

Thank you!

If you are interested in Eyes, JAPAN and would like to hear other stories, please do not hesitate to contact us at the following contact form.

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