In January 2017, 25 MIT students attended IDJ'17.
Feedback from participants
<Take away from IDJ'17 & view to Japanese technology>
"Two things were very surprising to me during this trip. Firstly, many of the companies we visited during the trip had meaningful societal impact on Japan. Secondly, I was under a utopic impression that Japanese companies do not face the same financial or technological constraints that companies face here in North America. The surprise, however, is that they keep working hard and innovating regardless of these odds. So I finally came to the conclusion that the differentiating factor is the Japanese people. They are hard-working, innovative and modest people who deeply love their country and fellow citizens."
"I use many Japanese products in my day to day life, but the visit to Japan helped me to understand the effort and dedication that goes into building great products. Before the trip, I always considered that Japanese companies could produce quality products consistently but they are not on the forefront of the technology. I realized in the trip that Japanese companies are thinking extreme and they are developing cutting edge technologies from robotics to virtual reality. I learnt a lot by visiting the companies and I am inspired by vision of the Japanese businesses."
"The research areas and product designs that Japan companies are pursuing are very innovative and daring. I have often heard that the Japanese are very conservative individuals, therefore I was blown away by the ingenuity and daring-ness of many of the business ideas and research areas that different people were pursuing throughout the community. Furthermore, this trip also made me more interested in business opportunities in Japan because I admire the meticulousness and organization of all the Japanese companies."
*Some modifications due to company's specific information
<Comments for future IDJ attendees from IDJ'17 participants>
"IDJ is a wonderful way of really immersing in Japanese culture and learning about the nation from the inside. During the day, we learned about Japanese work life by visiting companies or research facilities and by and observing what they do in person. At night, we explored many cultural sites in Japan by going to parks and museums and restaurants and shrines and temples and by interacting with the people there face-to-face. When we traveled, we traveled the way Japanese citizens do: by train or taxi or foot. This kind of insider experience in Japan is very difficult to access as an English-speaking foreigner and it's very different from other more-typical cultural exchanges in which large groups of people travel by charter bus between popular tourist sites. IDJ's unique insider glimpse at Japanese society and work innovation is precisely what makes this program so groundbreaking."
"This was a great experience to learn about Japanese culture and learn about companies in Japan. I would encourage anyone interested in Japan or the business/start up environment in other cultures to apply. Learn at least some basic Japanese words and learn about the culture from the organizers. For instance, I was unaware that people don’t walk around with coffee cups like people do in the US and there are very few trash or recycle cans in public spaces to throw items away. While most of the companies had speakers that spoke English, some of the English was limited. Be sure to ask questions simply and concisely."
"Innovation Discovery Japan will directly connect you to Japan’s amazing tech industry. You will have opportunities to meet industry leaders, learn about recent breakthroughs, and interact with new technologies. IDJ changed my life, and it could change yours."
"If you are interested in experiencing Japan with a group of nerdy, passionate, and driven MIT intellectuals - this is the trip for you. While on IDJ2017, I made a boat load of business connections and found lasting friendships. This, all while exploring a new and fascinating culture. Verified!"
"This was an absolutely amazing experience. It was well organized, well executed, and inspirational. The companies we visited, the Japanese culture, and the people in the group made this one of my most memorable experiences at MIT."