U.S.-Japan Council Program Manager Aiko Harris Shares Her Career Journey with the TOMODACHI Community

On September 13, USJC Program Manager Aiko Harris shared her career journey with the TOMODACHI Initiative community as the guest speaker for the September TOMODACHI Career Talks. 

Ms. Harris shared a brief history of her background, tracing her upbringing in a monolingual family in Kobe and the catalyst for her interest in English and foreign cultures, a school trip to New Zealand, which led to her decision to obtain dual degrees during her time studying abroad at Eastern Washington University. Ms. Harris also pursued her master’s degree simultaneously with the assistance of a full scholarship, which enabled her to begin a career as a composition lecturer and career advisor at Eastern Washington University.

Ms. Harris concluded the session by answering questions about how to discover what students want to do and the differences between the Japanese and American job hunting processes respectively. To discover a dream job or “ikigai,” she recommended evaluating interests, skill sets, and core values that would intersect in a triple Venn diagram. Ms. Harris also discussed how to effectively balance the starkly different Japanese and American business cultures.

In response to an audience question about how to build one’s confidence, Ms. Harris advised the audience to “recall the small steps you took, even being able to help someone on the street in a different language…those little things become a bit of a confidence booster. That will help you overcome the next big challenge you face…it’s never a straight line, but make sure you praise yourself [for those things].”

Ms. Harris joined the USJC team earlier this year. Click here to read more about her interest in the work of the Council and the passion she brings to pursuing our mission.