For this global cooperative, the pandemic struck a chord
Japan is experiencing a new wave of coronavirus infections and a emergency state was recently declared in several regions of the country. The Summer Olympics, in just two months, could be called off.
Luckily for Hana Kabira, a sophomore student pursuing a communications and media studies degree at Northeastern, Japan’s restrictive preventive measures have not dampened creativity, a key part of her dual co-ops in the Tokyo offices of Universal music, the multinational music company behind singers such Ariana Grande and The weekend, and SPINEAR, a podcasting company.
After a tough fall semester with Tokyo locked out, Kabira was tired of sticking around in his small quarters and spending countless hours in front of a computer without a break. Evening curfews precluded socializing with others after a certain time. And the 13-hour time difference between Boston and Tokyo disrupted her sleep schedule.
“I felt pretty stuck and hit a real wall,” she said in an interview online from her home in the Japanese capital, where it was approaching midnight. Kabira was still bustling and energized, despite the time, as she remembered what the pandemic was doing to her.
“It caused a lot of stress, and I didn’t understand that stress was a drag on creativity.”
The spring semester marked a turning point.
An online cognition course taught by Allison baker, an assistant professor of psychology at Northeastern, helped her see the consequences of pressure and isolation, which prompted Kabira – who is pursuing a minor in psychology – to do something about it.
First, she was inspired to write a research article, “The Effect of Forest Therapy on Creativity”. Swimming in the forest –Shinrin-yoku—Is the traditional Japanese rejuvenation practice of walking through a forest to absorb soothing sounds, smells, and sights.
Then Kabira applied for six internships in his home country and was accepted for two of them.
“It was a big turning point in my life,” she recalls. “It taught me the importance of letting go and not always being in control, which sparked creativity.”
Although her two co-ops are far apart, the simultaneous roles allow her imagination to flourish while remaining safely away from others.
At Universal Music, Kabira’s cooperative within the digital media team involves online meetings to discuss new music projects with record companies and collaborate with colleagues from other countries. “It was really nice to work with such innovative and forward-thinking professionals who always ask me for my frank opinion,” she says.
Universal Music was the last of six internships she applied for. It was an ad for a Korean boy band Tomorrow X Together, one of the label’s artists on YouTube who piqued his interest. “Guess I’m applying then,” she recalls thinking.
At SPINEAR, Kabira narrates podcasts aimed at Generation Z, which typically refers to people born between 1997 and 2015. Topics focus on issues that are likely to capture their attention and the most effective marketing and social media channels. to reach them.
“To be creative in both areas, the music and podcasting has been quite unique and interesting,” Kabira says. “There is a lot of freedom in both companies.”
Japan got off to a slow start with COVID-19 vaccinations for reasons that include a long mistrust vaccines. The country administered more than six million doses, or about 2% of the country’s population, making Japan one of the least vaccinated countries in the world against the coronavirus per capita.
The Japanese government recently created a website that allows people 65 and over to reserve their photos. 93-year-old Kabira’s grandfather got one of the slots. “We are happy that at least one family member can get the vaccine,” she says.
Decades earlier, it was his grandfather’s desire to start the first radio station in US-occupied Okinawa that fueled the family’s relationship with the arts and media. He left the island to successfully pursue a master’s degree in the United States before returning home to start the station. Kabira’s parents were also involved in radio, while an uncle researched the lure of the theater.
“I didn’t expect to get into the music industry like my parents did, but I guess something got me there,” she says.
That random something may have been the same guiding hand that drew Kabira to the northeast. She was already admitted to some of the best schools in Japan, but decided to visit a few universities in the United States.
After California, it was New York, where the experience did not go very well. The family therefore went to Boston, the last stop on their itinerary in the United States.
“At the last moment, I decided to apply for Northeastern because we toured the campus and the co-op program really hit me and my family,” Kabira says. “I decided to make a list of pros and cons, and under coop I put three stars,” she laughs. “I guess I had to be there.”
Kabira assigns several faculty members, including a professor of communication studies Tom nakayama, keynote speaker Bill Lancaster, cooperative advisor Jacqui Sweeney, Maggie Loscuito, deputy director of the peer tutoring program, and some of Northeastern’s most influential faculty.
“I just started my minor in marketing last fall, so I didn’t really have a lot of knowledge, but Northeastern is building a really solid foundation,” Kabira says. “Having lots of diverse students also gives you the opportunity to be exposed to different perspectives and ideas.”
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