Wednesday, January 21, 2009

A "new player" on the streets of Japanese Subcluture haven Akihabara, A singaporean lady "leads" the way in globalising the anime subculture.

Posted By: han siang "Speedknight" wong - Wednesday, January 21, 2009
I was surfing around the web when i stumble across the post made by
Gordonator
featuring a article in lian he zhao bao.

A translated summary of the article can be found at Gordonator
while the original article can be found @ Lian he zhaobao online.

While below is my attempt to translated the whole article,
Pardon my not-so accurate translation:


Original Chinese article by lian he zhaobao
Credits to gordonator
translated by speedknight

Recently,A multi-lingual tour guide dressed in meido,
appeared on the streets of Akihabara,
providing friendly tour-guiding to all,local and tourist alike.
This is the brain-child of a 26-year old Singaporean lady,Feng Shi Wen,
Driven by her passion for Japanese anime and gaming,she started her biz on the streets of akihabara.

Shi wen who is 26 this year,was wearing meido when she was interviewed few days back.
meido came from the sub-culture world of the otakus(someone who is really passionate about animes),
here,on the streets of Akihabara, meido cafes are a common sight,it has become a icon
of this anime haven.

She said:"From young,i enjoy watching the anime sailor moon,
the anime culture was picking up back then.
After i enter the Nstional University of Singapore, i pick Japanese cultural studies as my elective module,
I went to Tokyo university during one of exchange programme,during that year,i often went to akihabara,
and became a regular visitor.
when i had the chance to visit japan 2-years back,i decied to start up my biz here.

For someone who adores anime,akihabara is simply the haven.But in order to understand the rules of the game,you have to understand the culture as a whole.This is where Shi wen found a lot of biz opportunities.
on top of her tour-guiding,she has set up a web portal that discuss about akihabara.
Another feature of her web portal, is that she introduce anime-related merchandise and the latest happenings

She pointed out that during the course of her overseas studies, there was once i help a Japanese Creative school to
guide foreigners around and help to set up a exibition on the culture of akihabara.
This made me wanting to stratify the everlasting needs of anime fans.
More on the fact that, japan's shrinking population,has prompted the need to globalisation of japanese products,this applies to the subculture too,there are lots of anime fan in other parts of the world,who wants to purchase the anime-related merchandise,besides watching them.

shi wen recalls that the reason behind setting her biz,has something to do with her thinking,
when she still wass a student in singapore,her family was not doing quite well,
thus there is a need to be sucessful in her carrer and her life.
During her life as a student,she like to learn the art of promoting her products.
After graduating from the U,she works as a promoter at a 2nd-hand car dealer, in a short time of 2 weeks she sold a total of 15 cars.

When she came to tokyo for her oversea studies,she had never give up on her aspiration in setting up her own biz,
during her first week for her studies,she made a great decison of her life,and that is to give up
her studies and start her own biz instead.

"During that time i had nothing,but lucky for me,i know of a few entrepreneur, and when i told them about the idea,they agreed that it will workout,thus providing me with the start-up funds."

***But it was not all-smooth sailing for her. During the course of entrepreneurship, she is faced with issues like gender, seniority and nationality. To counter these shortcomings, she hired older men with experiences hoping it will solve the problem. Unfortunately it turns out to be the opposite. Customers refused to acknowledge her presence and male employees decline to listen to their younger female boss. Having learnt from this lesson she decided to hire females instead.

Shi Wen does have her advantage though. Having grown up in multiracial Singapore, she pointed out her biggest selling point is she gets along well with foreigners. She also understands the needs of the retailers and through her understanding of numerous languages, knows what the foreigners are after as well.

Recently she even encourages stores in Akiba to speak English. Store clerks who are able to speak Britannia were given a badge designed by her.

The young businesswoman added that although she can’t wear her meido uniform on the streets of Singapore, she is able to do so in Akiba. She learnt a lot in her 2 years of entrepreneurship and understands that doing business is like playing a game, there are up and downs and the outcome depends on the strategies used.

***Extracted from gordonator

About han siang "Speedknight" wong

Japanese subculture blogger, Photography Hobbyist, Vehicular Enthusiast, Tech Geek and a Communication Systems Assistant Engineer in rail industry IRL Capturing the photographic memories of Singapore Japanese Subculture events and more~ Speedknight.com

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