Job shadowing at Camp Zama; student gains communication skills
CAMP ZAMA, Japan (Feb. 20, 2015) -- Haruna Tanbe, an 8th-grader from Sagamihara Junior High School, job shadowed at the Camp Zama Housing Management Office from Feb. 17 to 19 to gain work experience.
Tanbe said she chose Camp Zama as her first choice to get work experience because she is interested in working in an "English" speaking environment.
Natsumi Okamoto, community relations officer for U.S. Army Garrison Japan Public Affairs Office, Community Relations, coordinated the job shadowing program and explained that CRO annually accepts job shadowing requests from local Japanese junior high schools and throughout the neighboring city offices to build better relationships between the local Japanese communities and USAG Japan, and to provide the youth with job experiences.
Okamoto started Tanbe's job shadowing experience by giving her a tour around the Camp Zama installation on Feb. 17. The tour was intended to help Tanbe be familiar with the U.S. military work environment, said Okamoto.
"Wow, it is America," expressed Tanbe, of her first impression of the Camp Zama installation.
Tanbe began working in the customer service department of the Housing Management Office on Feb. 18.
Kimberly Lewis, acting chief for the HMO, said one of the reasons why the HMO aids the job shadowing program is because the program allows for a learning experience outside of the classroom.
"It enhances student's careers and academic goals," said Lewis.
Lewis goal for Tanbe was to grasp how the HMO "builds relationships" between Soldiers, Civilians and other community members.
Tanbe also assisted Natsu Nakamura, stock control clerk in the Camp Zama Family Housing Management Branch, to input data and customer's furniture requests into the HMO computer system.
Nakamura said the HMO is a customer service driven mission. She wanted to show Tanbe that communication skills are very important, "both in English and Japanese."
By observing how the costumer service works, Tanbe said she realized the HMO employees are always considering the customer's point of view when attempting to help the customers that visit the Housing Office.
"I learned that you have to take initiative," said Tanbe. When attempting to help a customer, the employee is responsible for providing the information to meet the customer's needs, Tanbe continued.
Tanbe also assisted Hitomi Nakamura, another stock control clerk in the Family Housing Management Branch, in showing customers who came to the Housing Office, the different furniture displays per their requests.
Hitomi said she wanted to show Tanbe that the HMO employees can't be afraid of making mistakes when communicating in English.
Nakamura and Hitomi both agree that having a student job shadow their office gave them an experience in learning and teaching.
"Teaching is learning," said Nakamura.
Hitomi said when you are required to explain your job and the details of your job; the person teaching is also learning a little bit more about their job in a way.
Tanbe said she has a strong desire to be able to communicate with people in English.
"This experience has motivated me even more," said Tanbe.