As a Dutch media student, I hoped to find an internship relevant to my studies – and even better, in Japan. While on an exchange program in Fukuoka, I fell in love with the city. So much so, that I didn’t want to go back to the Netherlands after school ended, so I looked for an internship. My Japanese wasn’t good, and to this day it is still elementary, but I luckily found an internship at Fukuoka Now. As most of the magazine and the website’s content is in English, and all the staff speaks English, my Japanese level wasn’t a problem. I mainly worked on updating the English content for the Fukuoka Now website and social network channels. Even so, I still learned a lot of valuable Japanese words and had chances to learn expressions.
A photo of myself with the publisher of Fukuoka Now as we reported on the opening of the Golden Brown Fukuoka, a new burger shop.
The first part of my internship was fascinating! I got to see many places and went to events to take photos and write reports. Here are some of them: Good Coffee Fest, City Hall, GuruGuru Kebab, Hakata Sugaya. Besides going out and seeing more of the city and Japanese culture, there was also office work. Office work sounds boring, but the Fukuoka Now office was certainly not dull. In the first month, I was trained on using WordPress; the software used to update the website. Also, I learned to use a software called Buffer to schedule the posts on Facebook and Twitter, and I created content for the website and the printed magazine.
One of the most exciting things was joining a report on Nakasu Kawabata Kirin, a ramen shop in Hakata. I went with a writer/photographer and his assistant. They spoke only a little English, but it was enough to teach me about the reporting process. I saw how the writer interviewed the restaurant owner and how he took photos of the dishes. It looked a bit messy, but I’m sure he knew how to find everything because the next day we received the written report. As someone interested in photography, I was able to learn so much. All the food looked delicious, and I was allowed to taste the tonkotsu ramen!
Taking photos at a ramen shop for a report.
Since I wanted to learn more about video editing, Fukuoka Now allowed me to work on that too. We restarted the People series in the magazine, but this time, not only with photos and texts but also with short videos. I learned a lot about interviewing people, I transcribed the text and edited the videos. After our first two interviews with a golf course superintendent Andrew McDaniel and scientist Melisa Acosta Ramirez, we interviewed two foreign national players on the Softbank Hawks team, Rick van den Hurk and Carter Stewart Jr. Next, we talked with a Canadian food truck owner Travis Mactier, a Chikuzen biwa artisan Doriano Sulis, and Black Lives Matter march organizers Athena and Bako.
Unfortunately, halfway through the internship, the new coronavirus forced us to all work from our homes. There were no events to report on, and it didn’t feel right to inform about restaurants or nightlife in Fukuoka. One of the essential contents of Fukuoka Now is their daily posts of local area news, shared on our website and social media. We even started a new channel, Fukuoka News Instagram. I worked on several Instagram plans for Fukuoka Now; the news was one of them. I did the graphic design for the Instagram profile and found ways to share the news on Instagram. Our readers well received the site.
I took a selfie to show off a fan that was a topic of local news that we reported on.
During the outbreak of the new coronavirus, we didn’t just sit still. Everything went a little bit slower, but we worked on other projects. One of the projects was the mail magazine, which helped create a new design and workflow. If you want to keep up with what is happening in Fukuoka, you should subscribe to it here – for free!
The Fukuoka Now team and I shared pizza and beer inside the office.
Once the coronavirus settled down a bit, we had some new projects that I could help with. One of the projects was reporting on Handa Sukajan, a Fukuoka Now advertiser. This was an extraordinary experience, and one of the best of my time in Japan. We went to the shop to interview the owner, take photos and shoot a video. This time I was not behind the camera, but a model! I felt uncomfortable, but as the shoot progressed, I became looser and enjoyed the role. And the result was great! It was also bizarre to edit a video and see myself in it, but I’m thrilled that I got to see the whole process from start to finish.
One of my most favorite photo of the Handa Sukajan report
The final big project that I worked on was for a new entertainment complex in Momochi. BOSS E-ZO opened its doors on July 22nd, but we went inside a few days earlier to experience the attractions and prepare a report. Usually, I’m a bit scared of roller coasters, but I also love new experiences. We shot a video here too, and again I appeared as one of the models. It was another excellent experience of editing myself and easier than the last time. It was a fun place, and I’d recommend it to anyone visiting Fukuoka.
Posing in front of the E-ZO building together with Tarq, a former Fukuoka Now intern.
With this report, my internship also came to an end. I had an amazing time at Fukuoka Now. Even during the new coronavirus time, I was able to work on many things and improve my skills. Fukuoka is now still restructuring due to the impact of the coronavirus but it looks like there are some exciting things on the horizon. I hope future interns will have just as amazing of an experience as I did!
Do you want to have similar experiences in Fukuoka, meeting new people, going to shops, or learning more about Japanese real-life Japanese culture? Apply to be an intern at Fukuoka Now! Signup with this form now. If you don’t have the time for an internship, but still want to collaborate with us, use this form.