Introduction: Now that you’ve met the interns who will be featured this summer, let’s jump right in to see what they’ve been up to. Erika will kick things off and give us a sneak peek into her first few weeks as an intern in the Google Tokyo office.

Hey everyone,

This week marks the end of my first month as an associate product management (APM) intern on the Geo team in the Google Tokyo office. So much has happened over the past few weeks and I can’t believe things have been moving along so fast. At the beginning of May, I packed up two suitcases and moved from Colorado to Japan for the next three and a half months. I was a little overwhelmed to be moving to a foreign city, but looking back on my first month with Google, there’s no doubt that it was a worthwhile move.

Erika hanging out at the kotatsu in the webmaster corner
After my plane landed at Narita International Airport in Tokyo, I moved into my new apartment and the next day—despite my jetlag—I got right to work at my new internship. The Google Tokyo office is located in the 54-story Mori Tower building. Besides the incredible view, working in the city’s fifth tallest building has other perks as well—whenever I get lost walking to work (which I still do, even one month in), it’s incredibly convenient to be able to look up, spot Mori Tower hovering over the other buildings and easily find my way to the office.

Since I am the first ever APM intern in the Tokyo office, getting settled in entailed a lot of trial and error, as well as a lot of hand-waving and charades to overcome the language barrier. I also got used to being greeted with a quizzical, “We have interns?”, since the idea of an internship is still a relatively new concept in Japanese society. The most exciting part of my first few days was meeting and going out to dinner with the Geo team. Bonding with the team early on helped me get familiar with not just my fellow Geo colleagues, but also the wide range of Geo projects going on here in the office.

I am working with the Maps Personalization team to create an individualized Google Maps experience for every user. Recently, we launched My Places which allows users to easily re-find and organize locations that are important to them. It was a really awesome to be able to dive into a project from the get-go and see the product launch within one month of my internship! Another really cool thing about my project is that the Maps team is spread out across several offices worldwide. It’s incredible to see people from different time zones working and communicating so well on a daily basis.

Outside of work, there is still more fun to be had. There are a lot of after-work clubs in the Tokyo office, including the ramen club, juggling club and ping pong club. I recently joined the climbing club and we go rock climbing or bouldering once a week at various gyms scattered throughout the city. It’s a great way to meet fun people from around the office while exploring new areas of Tokyo.


Fun Google Fact: Google offers many ways to bring employees closer together. On Tuesdays, we have a Mystery Lunch event where people from all over the office meet outside the cafeteria and draw a random card from a deck. We then find the other three people with the same card number and all enjoy lunch together. It’s a great opportunity to step out of your usual lunch circle, meet Googlers outside of your department and enjoy interesting conversation over lunch. Google’s Mystery Lunch tradition is a tasty way to make friends and was even aired on NHK TV, Japan’s national broadcasting company.

Posted by Jessica Safir, University Programs Coordinator