The Importance of Languages: Does Anyone Else Relate?

Photo by Mitsuo Hirata on

Hi everyone! I hope everyone had a great summer, whether it was traveling, relaxing at home, or even participating in summer internships (like some I know who did them in Japan!). I know summer won’t officially end until next month, but my goodness – the air is chilly here in Michigan and it smells like autumn.

The start of a new year usually brings to mind new goals and resolutions, but I think this time of year is another key point in time. Especially for students, you get a reality check and realize that you need to start having serious thoughts about your future, such as finding internships or starting a job search. It might even make it stressful if you think you have to know what you want to be when you grow up… but read this post to know it’s okay to not know!

Things are likewise picking up for Ikigai Connections, and I’m so happy to know that people are relying on me for advice and answers. I myself have been busy planning and creating content over the summer, which I am excited to share in this blog post. If you’re reading this, I would LOVE to get your feedback if you a) agree with any of my ideas, b) have any suggestions, and c) want to be a part of any of this action!

School Tour to “Reignite Japanese”:

I am happy to write that Ikigai Connections is partnering with the Hinoki Foundation to visit K-12 and university Japanese language programs in the state of Michigan! We will speak about the importance of learning Japanese (or any other language, really), promote the Hinoki Cup bilingual quiz game (K-12 only), and explain the continuing demand for bilingual/bicultural employees. 

I love seeing people’s eyes light up when they speak of learning Japanese or being in Japan, and I think it’s wonderful to know that their ikigai (=passion) is Japan. Unfortunately, the number of Japanese language education programs in some areas has been declining, and I think that is unfortunate for the students, parents, and teachers who want them. Not only that, but Michigan’s economy needs the 500+ Japanese companies that invest in the state, and those companies need good bilingual/bicultural employees to work for them. 

I want to help connect the education side and the economy side, and demonstrate how each needs the other. Once the dates get confirmed, I will post on my website for others to see. If you are an alumnus of any of these schools, let me know – perhaps you can stop by to show your support!

就職活動チャレンジ (Japanese Job Search):

I’m creating a free online program where I can help guide you step-by-step on what you need to do to find a job using your Japanese skills. We are going to start with the basics, since many of my followers don’t even think that they can use their language and cultural skills in a career. Then we’ll move onto the preparation (company research, resume), interviewing and working phases. 

Let me know if you have any particular questions that I can incorporate into the program! Also, the title is TBD, so let me know if you have any creative ideas for it and I’ll use it and give you credit 🙂 Job Board:

I’m speaking with Japanese companies about all the people who know Japanese and English, but they need to actually see that you exist. I’ll be putting more requests out for job-seekers to please create a profile on my job board. Even though there are thousands who study Japanese in Michigan (5,759 last year to be exact – according to the Consulate General of Japan), not to mention the rest of the USA and other countries, there is a difference when it comes to a) wanting a job and b) having the skills. 

I’d love your support here, so please tell your bilingual/bicultural friends to check out my website and create a job-seeker profile on There are so many good jobs out there, and I want companies to start sharing them with YOU. Even if you’re not searching for something at this very minute, having your profile and resume will show that you are strategically planning for your future. 

The more profiles I have of eager bilingual/bicultural persons, the better I can convince them to create internship positions for HS/college students, and the better I can convince them to give new grads a chance at applying for a job that they think only “fluent” people can apply for. (I’ll write a blog post about the need for being “fluent” or not soon.)

Going Outside of Michigan:

Even though I am currently based in and focused on Michigan, I feel that my message should be heard in other US states. The goal is to get Michigan set up nicely, and then expand to others. That said, if there is a need in other places that you know about, please let me know! I know for a fact that Tennessee is a booming area, so if anyone is willing to transfer there, let me know!

My Big Ask to You:

If you, or anyone you know, feel as passionately about this Japanese bilingual/bicultural movement, it would mean the world to me if you could share my newsletter and social media postings. I know that this is important to me, but it would be awesome to hear that it’s actually true for others. 

Again, this isn’t just for Michigan folks! I want to be a bridge between job-seekers (high school/college interns, graduate job-seekers, mid-career people) and the great companies that are globally-minded. 

Of course, although I’m focusing on Japanese, this message really could be applied to any global language. All it takes is a little outside-of-the-box thinking to understand what another culture is thinking or doing, and a little sharing of how we can work together, that really will make this world a better place. It all starts with 1 connection between 2 different people, whether that’s in a school or a boardroom. At the end of the day, we are all the same people; we were just brought up differently. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to share each other’s upbringings and mesh the goodness together? This is one of the reasons why I started Ikigai Connections: it is my little way to connect the world one person at a time 🙂

Thanks for reading to the end ❤︎ 

Photo by Mitsuo Hirata on Unsplash

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