FEW Japan: taking care of business
Added In: Living in Japan › Business
There are these moments where you as a foreign women feel stuck in the Chubu region. Nagoya may be booming, but language barriers, homesickness, living outside of Nagoya in a more rural area, a job which does not give you the satisfaction you want, the exhausting work of a mother and housemaker or no job at all – it can make you really desperate. I have experienced that desperation. But luckily, I found FEW.
The acronym FEW stands for Foreign Executive Women. FEW out of the difficulties foreign women in Japan to have in finding their way around, both professionally and socially. FEW provides a platform where foreign women can meet and gain opportunities for professional and personal development. FEW welcomes women from all professional backgrounds and all stages of their careers. Any foreign woman can attend and become a member, whether currently employed or not. Japanese women are always welcome as guests.
You can attend FEW either in Tokyo, where FEW was founded 1981, or in Osaka, where FEW Kansai was established in 1991. The backbone of both organzations is the monthly dinner meeting. For every meeting there is a guest speaker who will address a specific topic. Recent highlights in Osaka were an encounter with the all women theater group Takarazuka and a glance behind the scenes at Australian Entertainment in Japan.
For me, however, it was the evening with the translator Juliet Winters Carpenter which gave me a new kick. After an elegant dinner followed by a melting chocolate mousse, Juliette Carpenter entertained us with the story of her career. She knew that she wanted to become a translator when she was sixteen. And now, here she stands, an award-winning translator of modern Japanese literature into English. “Never give up your dreams!“, she said earnestly. “Believe in your dream, and one day it will become true.“
Such are the things you can look to experience at FEW. “The FEW meeting is my day out“, says Karolien van den Brekel, president of FEW Kansai. “It is a great place for networking, for meeting friends and mind-liked people as well as for meeting people from different backgrounds.“ Karolien van den Brekel became the president of FEW just a few months after her arrival in Japan in 2005 and she thinks that her contribution to FEW has paid off a lot. Apart from the dinner meetings she also enjoys other special events such as workshops or the annual Champagne Spring Brunch.
Whether acting as the president, a board member or as a standard member, FEW offers something for every foreign woman. Yes, you are sitting in the Chubu area and the FEW meetings take place in Kanto and Kansai. But now and then it might be worthwhile to catch the train to Tokyo or Osaka. Why not attend one of the next meetings as guest?
FEW Kansai holds its dinner meetings on the last Thursday of the month at the Hilton Hotel in Osaka. The fee is 4000 Yen for members and 6000 Yen for guests. Annual membership fee is 8000 Yen (membership is for a 12 month period calculated from the date dues are paid.) Information and registration: www.fewkansai.com
FEW in Tokyo holds its dinner meetings on the second Thursday of every month. The fee is 2000 Yen for members and 5000 Yen for guests. Membership fee is 18,000 Yen for one year and 33,000 yen for two years (membership is for 12 or 24 months calculated from the date dues are paid). FEW Tokyo also organizes a biannual job seminar which is open to FEW Kansai members as well. Information and registration: www.fewjapan.com.