Learning how to learn from Japan

I was recently in Tokyo to attend a digital analytics conference organized by Web Analytics Consultants Association (WACA) and was amazed at the mindset and attitude among many of the 400-strong conference attendees.

As a native of Singapore, I have been introduced to Japanese culture at a young age. From TV programs in entertainment to current affairs and developments in the business community.

In fact, after spending some years in my first jobs in Japanese organizations in the 1990s, I picked up skills and also learned about their patient pursuit to make great products.

The first thing that surprised me when I signed up for the conference was that the event would be held over a weekend.

While I am aware of the long-hours work culture in Japan, I was still surprised that individual working adults would pay for conference tickets to sit through a corporate seminar and attend workshops over a weekend.

The second thing that surprised me was the diligence in learning. During the entire conference and workshop, I saw busy head movements as participants constantly shifted from the stage and large screen to their tables as learners took in the information and feverishly jotted down notes on their writing pads or tapped at their device keyboards.

Coming from Singapore, where note-taking skills is a rarity among professional adults these days, I was speechless when I witnessed this in the conference.

I have since shared my observation and experience with my friends and business associates and hope that we could take a leaf or two from the Japanese to equip ourselves in a lifelong learning journey.

GARY TAN
SINGAPORE

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.