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Yehlen Sanchez


“Teamwork is a crucial factor in our functions at the Firm and working with a diverse group of people from various backgrounds has taught me to be adaptable and flexible in my dealings with others.”

What were the most difficult aspects of adjusting to life in Japan initially?

The language barrier is a big challenge when interacting with non-English speakers. It can be frustrating when you are caught in the moment of confusion, but there is nothing that can't be straightened out by a smile and an online translation app or a trusty Japanese phrasebook. It is important to learn basic phrases and polite Japanese greetings as these will go a long way in any situation. Also, it pays to enjoy the experience of being lost in translation because for all you know it's going to be a marvelous anecdote in the making.

What were your fondest leisure experiences in Japan?

Where do I start? The food is fantastic wherever you go, from the tourist meccas to the little gems hidden down alleyways that only the locals know about. The travel is great; you can see so much in so little time. Weekend getaways are easy and fun. For me, summer was all about outdoor dining and festivals and winter was all about snowboarding and onsens. And once I knew where to go and what to see, I enjoyed showing visiting associates, friends and family around as well.

How was Japan in reality to what you had imagined before you arrived?

Japan is much more compelling and multifaceted than I imagined. The country has managed to advance by leaps and bounds in modernity without sacrificing its cultural heritage and historic monuments. There is no lack of things to do regardless of one's interest. One can easily enjoy the excitement of a modern metropolis, the old-world charms of a traditional Japanese onsen town or an invigorating retreat with nature, all within easy train access.

How would you describe your co-workers during your initial time at work?

When I started, everyone at the firm was very helpful and always willing to render assistance. I appreciate the close guidance and mentoring provided by my seniors, which made my transition period at work easier. My colleagues also shared valuable information about living in Japan as well as tips for fun activities and weekend trips around the area.

What work skills and habits have you learned or improved from your time here thus far?

Since IP practice is very detail-oriented, my attention to detail has improved tremendously. I have also learned to better manage my time to cope with the varying work load that we receive on a daily basis. Moreover, teamwork is a crucial factor in our functions at the Firm and working with a diverse group of people from various backgrounds has taught me to be adaptable and flexible in my dealings with others.

What are the challenging or difficult aspects of your work?

The most difficult aspect of work was not being able to personally research the primary and original sources for relevant jurisprudence which can be very challenging in view of Japanese language skills. However, this deficiency is offset by English language legal materials as well as the cooperation and collaboration with my fellow Japanese legal professionals that I work with at the Firm.

What have been your fondest experiences in Japan?

Autumn in Japan is breathtaking and remains to be my fondest experience in the country. Picture-perfect photos are easily captured with the glorious display of fiery autumn colors at the background. It is also a big bonus that we are situated in the Kansai region, where some of the country's best autumn destinations are located.

What is the most important thing that working at the Firm has taught you about yourself?

The most important thing that I learned working at the Firm is that there is no task that cannot be accomplished and no challenge that cannot be conquered. As Mr. Yamamoto previously advised, the only way to get to your destination is to take the first step and to keep going, one step after another.

What advice would you give to entry level recruits?

Perseverance is key. The learning curve during the initial 4 months at the Firm is steep. Hence, it is crucial to study the work materials and learn as much as possible about the details of one's tasks and responsibilities in the Firm. Soon enough, capable new hires will find themselves fitting easily in the rhythm of the Firm's day-to-day operation.

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