Eyes, JAPAN Blog > Eyes, JAPAN Employee Interview [Vol. 23]

Eyes, JAPAN Employee Interview [Vol. 23]


The special series to put a spotlight on our international staff, “Eyes, JAPAN Employee Interview” is back! Our 11th interviewee of this year is Maneesha Senaviratne from Sri Lanka.

He has been working in Eyes, JAPAN for about 9 months, and we would like to ask him about his experience in living in Japan and working in Eyes, JAPAN!

(Interviewer: Angie)

Living in Aizu: One of the Best Experiences One Could Have

What is your favorite thing about your home country or home town?

Maneesha: If I just had to pick one it’s my family and friends. Even though Japan is beginning to feel like home, for me where ever family and friends are, that’s my real home. Additionally, I like the serenity that my country has it being an island, it has everything I need.

Why did you come to Japan and what do you like about Japan?

Maneesha: The main reason was that my mother & I had a liking for the country for multiple reasons. While I was about to end my school career, I was searching for a local institution to continue my computer science career which provided transferring to an overseas university to complete the degree. Coincidentally, I came across an institution which did exactly that and that too only to a Japanese University. So, I began my studies in it and got transferred to the University of Aizu for the last two years to complete my degree program. That’s how now I’m here in this wonderful country.

Maneesha: The top two in my list for the things I like here in Japan are the people, followed by the convenience in almost everything, be it navigating to a place, purchasing things at shops or online, visits to the government organizations and such compared to some countries I’ve experienced. The people here are positive in a way that it’s a pleasure for me each time I interact with them.

What do you think about life in Aizu?

Maneesha: It’s one of the best experiences a person could get. I’ve travelled to large cities within Japan and I’m not a fan of it in terms of settling. The large cities are good for a change and in enjoying a lot of places within a short distance of travel, but in general, Aizuwakamatsu has made a special and ever lasting impact in my life. I’m more than happy on what this city has offered me so far and I’m sure many people would agree.

What is your favorite way of spending the weekend or holidays in Aizu?

Maneesha: I don’t have one or two favorite ways of doing things, it depends on the weekend mood and the season. If it is spring or summer, I’ll be outside for a good portion of the day, either exercising or swimming. But most of the time I prefer to relax and watch movies or some tv series.

Do you have any things or skills that you are proud of?

Maneesha: I wouldn’t say I’m proud about my skills, but I do have several skills which has been useful in multiple occasions. One main skill I believe I do possess is that I talk what is necessary and listen more, which has given me the opportunity to make well-thought and good decisions throughout my life. Another would be problem solving and decision making. I mentioned it as one because I think they work almost always together, since making the right decision now would always lead to a current or future problem being solved.

What is your academic background or what kind of research have you done before?

Maneesha: My academic background is in the field of computer science and engineering. The last research I did during my degree program was related to gaming with AI.

What do you think is the current most trending topic in the field of technology?

Maneesha: The answer for this still would be AI. It is already being used in a wide variety of applications, such as self-driving cars, facial recognition, and medical diagnosis. Companies are trying to get into the AI train and therefore developing their own plugin or version of AI as an add-on to their existing products. I think this is a smart move because rather than creating an AI application from scratch, they are adding AI-aided components to make their products even better.

Study Session: Weekly Dose of Knowledge from Staffs

How did you know about Eyes, JAPAN?

Maneesha: During my study period at the University of Aizu, I came across several people who either knew about or worked at EJ (Eyes, JAPAN). They spoke about the CEO, the staff and how things happen at EJ. I got so many positive responses which ultimately made me join the company.

Why did you decide to join Eyes, JAPAN?

Maneesha: Over the last few months in my education period, I was looking for workable places within or outside Japan to expand my skillset and apply my acquired knowledge in the real world. I was searching for small to medium sized companies which also welcomed foreign staff. Since I knew a bit about EJ at that time, I turned to a few of my friends who were working at EJ and asked several questions. At the end I joined EJ for two main reasons. The first is the wonderful CEO, and second is the working environment.

Do you have any job experiences before joining Eyes, JAPAN?

Maneesha: I would say my internship was one of the best job experiences I had. It was for a startup in Sri Lanka and for the position of “Business Analyst”. Even though it was for an internship, I was almost working similar to a full-timer. As a Business Analyst intern, I performed several tasks such as: understanding, questioning, documenting, analyzing & communicating with product stakeholders and owners across a wide variety of sectors in agriculture, insurance and supply chain. Additionally, I got the opportunity to expand my skills in UI/UX as well because I got the task of completely redesigning the whole website for the company and managing the project.

What is your role and what kind of projects have you been working on in Eyes, JAPAN?

Maneesha: I work at EJ as a UI/UX Designer and Researcher, but I do handle web design and development projects as well. The majority of the projects I’ve worked on are related to biomedical and artificial intelligence.

Could you let us know your most memorable project in Eyes, JAPAN?

Maneesha: So far, I think it is the project for which I designed a mobile app using Figma. The app is supposed to encourage Parkinson’s disease patients to exercise and be active so that they could reduce the rate of progression of the disease. This was a new experience for me due to the unique requirements and the type of industry because it needed much more precise research due to it being a health application. It was one of the most fun projects I’ve come across and it’s an honor to create a product which directly helps people in improving their health.

What customs in Eyes, JAPAN that you like the most?

Maneesha: That would be the weekly study session. Every week at the end of Thursday, we would gather in the meeting room to have a study session where we share knowledge while presenting. This custom is the weekly dose of knowledge you get from different staff members which I happen to like a lot.

What do you think about your colleagues and the working environment in Eyes, JAPAN?

Maneesha: EJ is a collection of kind hearted and extremely smart people from multiple countries. I’ve never been this happy working in a place with a bunch of people. Everyone in EJ makes it a comfortable place to work and never forgets to help one another whenever needed. I believe all these good qualities are passed onto everyone working by our CEO who is one of the best examples a person could look up to.

What do you think about working at the company and working at home?

Maneesha: I prefer working at the company whenever possible and working at home only when its unable to travel or some other important reason. Working at the company helps me to work with the staff members together and speak face-to-face when there are any problems or things to figure out during a project. Additionally, when working at the office, it connects people in a way that remote working can hardly achieve.

What kind of problems or challenges have you faced while working in Eyes, JAPAN, and how did you solve it?

Maneesha: The only challenge was proper communication. Since the company consists of staff members from multiple countries, during the very beginning there were instances where it was difficult to make another staff member understand what I’m saying or for me to understand what they actually meant, but, with time, communication became easier because people adapt quickly to understand different accents and get used to them.

Always Happy to Learn Something New

Have you experienced any culture shock while working in Japan?

Maneesha: No, I’ve had experience with several Japanese nationals who were my teachers back in Sri Lanka. They and some Sri Lankan lecturers who taught Japanese made sure we were familiar with at least some of the Japanese ways.

Can you give some pros and/or cons of working at a Japanese company?

Maneesha: Working at a Japanese company, specifically a one like EJ is incredibly rewarding in most of the cases because we get exposed to many areas during projects. Not to forget the diverse team that gives everyone the opportunity to work with individuals from multiple countries.

How do you balance your working and private time?

Maneesha: Managing time is pretty easy while working at EJ, I would say mainly because of the flexible working hours and also with a great boss. The company has made it as flexible as it could and the next important part is our own discipline with time management. Turns out, that when you plan at least a week ahead by organizing the highest priority tasks, its possible to manage between work and private time.

What kind of project do you want to work on in the future?

Maneesha: I’m up for any project or challenge which involves sophisticated UI/UX designing and research. Right now, I’m kind of interested in AR/VR more than other areas and that could be because of the recent announcements of several companies related to it such as the vision Pro by apple and MetaQuest 3.

Any advice for people who wants to work in Japan?

Maneesha: First, be prepared and open-minded for what this unique country has to offer. Second, learn the language at least a little bit so that you could get through the daily activities as well as face an interview for a job opportunity. Unlike EJ, a majority of companies ask for high Japanese level requirements. Other than that, you can grasp the things you need to know pretty quickly, once you are in Japan.

What motivates you to keep working or studying?

Maneesha: I always like the happiness I gain whenever I learn something new. Be it through a book, website, device, person or software, I believe the satisfaction you gain when you know you have leveled up in some way is something everyone enjoys. In terms of working, I believe the main reason is the “social impact” design has and the number of people a good design reaches.

Lastly, what is your dream?

Maneesha: Personally, to me “dreams” does not hold any significance. But my goal with each opportunity is to make a positive impact on the society through the power of design.

Thank you!

If you are interested in Eyes, JAPAN and would like to hear other stories, please do not hesitate to contact us at the following contact form.

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Everyone welcome.

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