Conohana-san of the Month February edition (Part 2)
Organization: the Department of Environmental Science in the Faculty of Life and Environmental Sciences http://www.ev.yamanashi.ac.jp/
Field of study: Physical property theory, complex science system, food physics, sport physics
In the first part of the interview, we talked how it was different here in Yamanashi compared to his previous work place, and wonderful encounters he had so far. His super friendly atmosphere made me feel like asking many questions but I found myself talking even more than he was (oops)
● Your career history says that you had been working in Spain for about a year.
Yes. I moved with my wife and my one and a half year old daughters. People around us worried about taking the children because kids around one year old often become sick. So we took time before departure to learn things such as how to apply for health insurance and what the Spanish words for names of various preventive injections and infectious diseases were. It was a bit tough.
● Oh, there are many things to learn before living abroad. I imagine that the climate was different from Japan. Have you and your family had any health problems?
Actually, we stayed in good health! We got all prepared but my daughters didn’t catch any colds and we didn’t go to hospital at all. Of course it’s best to stay healthy but all that work was for nothing. But they caught a cold many times after coming back to Japan (lol).
● Oh no… maybe your daughters fit for the climate in Spain better (lol). Talking about family, do you do housework? Do you share household tasks with your wife?
I don’t do a lot, rather, almost not at all. Honestly speaking, my wife does everything better than I. I’m not good at cleaning. I used to love to cook when I was single and learned by watching other people but now my wife cooks everything much much better♪ So I take my turn only when my wife is not feeling well. I rely on her as she is an excellent and reliable person to manage the home. I’m really thankful to her.
● Your wife is wonderful (^^) It sounds good to have the right person in the right role taking advantage of the strength of each other. How about taking care of the daughters?
I enjoy spending time with my daughters. On weekends, I often take them out for about a half day. Well, they rather take me out and play with me (lol). I also want to be of a little help for my wife, who is taking care of the home and children everyday on weekdays. The time I spend with my children teaches me how to “forgive another person”.
My job is to teach young people and I used to feel frustrated with them often. For example, I had a prejudice that if I was capable of something, someone else should be able to do that as well, and tend to judge as laziness or lack of effort when someone cannot do it. But nowadays I think that everybody is different and that is a way of thinking that I learned from the time that I spent with my daughters.
Little children make a mess but they are serious (lol). For example, breaking a raw egg with full power, holding plates and cups unbalanced, putting too much glue on handicraft and making the table sticky all over. But if I take a step back to see their efforts, children are feeling, thinking things and taking actions. If I still judge what they do by adult standards, it’s only my self-satisfaction. I think that I learned from my children how to forgive the difference between people around me and myself in the way of thinking and living.
● That’s wonderful! I’m feeling as if I’m reading a book on child rearing or communication skills. Children give you something much more than you expected!
Talking about communication, there is another thing I came to be aware of thanks to my daughters.
“Women talk for being listened to, men talk for getting advice.”
● That’s wonderful, too! Did you reach that conclusion by yourself?! I think I read the same thing in a book on communication skills!
My daughters love chatting. They keep talking and talking irrelevantly while I spend time with them. As I keep listening to them only chiming in, they finish talking in the meantime. One day I noticed that expressing sympathy was more important than carefully listening word by word in case that my daughters are talking, as it’s often called a “sympathizing ability.” On the other hand, when talking with male students or male colleagues, it’s often a case that they are expecting specific opinions and advice. So I listen to them word by word, understand their intention and provide my opinion. For men, receiving logical opinions and advice seem to be more important than winning sympathy, including for myself.
● You have excellent listening skills. As you are such a good listener, I kept talking for a while instead of letting you speak (but not written in this article). I shouldn’t talk this much as an interviewer (lol).
I don’t know (lol). Although I’m talking proudly, I’m not sure if I am a good listener from the view point of my students. But I always try to find their good points and points to praise as many as possible and let them know.
● That’s wonderful once again! Then let me ask a mean question. What would you do when you cannot find any point to praise in a report of your student?
I will praise the courage of turning in such a report with nothing to praise (lol).
● (^0^ laughing hard）I’m jealous for your students in your lab to have a teacher like you! I enjoyed the interview a lot. Thank you very much♪
I was feeling as if I was talking to a teacher of a communication seminar or a leadership training. I became a big fan of Mr. Shima!
● What is your future goal or dream?
One of my dreams is to write a book someday. Not about my job or research but on what I learned from my teachers and senior peers in their precious words about how to live or how to let us to live. I hope to express those learnings and words in some unique way of mine. It’s still a vague idea.
● It seems like you can already write a few books from the ideas that you told me today!
When is it going to be published? I’m your fan and want to read it as soon as possible!