Poole Expo – Event Review

Poole is gaining notoriety as

one of the most honest digital media related job websites in Japan. The main reason they are becoming so popular is because they are creating a solid network of startups within Tokyo`s IT ecosystem.

Poole’s vision is innovative compared with traditional job websites that are limited to showcasing vacant positions. Poole`s strength is showing the people working in those places and giving them a voice to describe the company’s environment and the brand`s beliefs.

Poole Expo has been the very first event organized by Poole (and LIG).
According to Poole this was the first time in Tokyo to have an event committed to recruiting designers, engineers/developers and project directors. Gathering almost all the startups with job ads on the website together, into an open space with stands for each company, and staff ready to have an informal chat with anyone who was interested.

At the entrance there was a registration desk where guests were given a sticker blue for engineers/developers, red for designers and yellow for project directors..

TGD sent Chris Yamayo to Poole Expo to review the event from the perspective of a non native Japanese speaker.

I attended Poole Expo on June 2nd in Shibuya Mark City West, a job fair for creatives where job hunters can meet prospective employers and find out more about their company. About 20 companies took part, each with their own tables and a variety of brochures and work to show the attendees. Roughly one hundred people attended and most of them were Japanese.

Most of the exhibitors did not speak English

In Japan, it’s not common to get the chance to talk with and ask questions of prospective employers before applying for a job, so events like this, in an open environment are a very interesting opportunity.
Poole Expo imposed quite a challenge. Most of the exhibitors did not speak English, and I was a little intimidated because of my limited Japanese language skills. They politely apologized, but didn’t have many solutions at hand whenever I asked for an English conversation with them. So given there weren’t other options, I tried my best with Japanese.

Although Poole Expo’s concept was to be able to speak with and get to know the people working at the companies participating, a language barrier did not render the event totally useless for me. But, it did limit my ability to participate and take total advantage of it.
Some of the exhibitors were quick to explain the main aspects of their companies. They presented pamphlets or projects they had worked on with a lot of enthusiasm. On the other hand, other exhibitors basically waited for the attendees to ask the questions, like a reverse job interview. In these cases I quickly found myself unable to continue after asking a few basic questions.

Even with my limitations, I was able to communicate with quite a few companies.

One of them was Whomor – an illustration and 3D modeling production company who work in the games industry. They presented me very nice pamphlets showing a couple of the clients they’d worked for and projects they’d worked on. On top of this they informed me about other events where similar companies present their works, which I appreciated a lot.

The people of TeamLab showed me a range of projects they’ve worked on where they mixed technology and creativity to create multimedia art installations. Among other questions I asked them how many international staff they had in their company. Although they answered there are a couple of international staff (mostly from China), they communicate in Japanese.
With TeamLab I found it very easy to make conversation because their portfolio was very varied. I was shown a flyer with a couple of their works and I was genuinely interested and driven to ask questions about them, not only for the sake of prolonging conversation, but because I wanted to know more. As i pointed out the pictures in their flyer and asked questions like how many people were involved, how long it took, how it was made, for what kind of client was it made, the staff enthusiastically answered while taking into account my language limitations.

In contrast, I also spoke with Pixta, an image hosting web service, but as they didn’t have a portfolio to show, my curiosity and ability to ask was lower.

Another company was Esspride, a branding company who had also prepared many products to show interested attendees, from candy and snacks packaging, to magazines and logo design portfolios.
The staff member of Esspride was showing the products to me and to another attendee who was also at the table, so I had no time to explain I was a foreigner. For that reason, the Japanese speed was quite fast, and although I understood those products were clients they had worked for, I’ll never know the information that I missed.

In all these cases I was able to ask what kind of companies they were, how big the company was and what kind of people they were looking for. Most of the companies were in the IT/web field, some in branding and design. Company size varied greatly; some of them were around forty-employee companies, while others were in the hundreds.

“the level of Japanese language required for a job is relative to the job itself”

One of the staff from TeamLab said something to me that I consider to be very true: “the level of Japanese language required for a job is relative to the job itself”. Nevertheless, it never hurts to know the language. Especially in an event where being able to ask questions and chat with potential employers is the main activity.

I appreciate the fact that these kind of events are trying to break the communication barrier between employers and job hunters, but for a non native level Japanese speaker I don’t think it’s ideal. Also, I could see well how some companies were very eager to speak and show their work while others took a more passive approach, which was a little confusing.
In retrospect, I wish I had prepared myself better by studying the attending companies’ backgrounds before going and it really would have helped to have a better Japanese level.

TGD staff is curious to know similar experiences from people who joined events like the Poole Expo. Send us an email or just post a comment below!


Illustrator/Graphic Designer/Japanese language Student/Cultural Dysmorphia. Born in Buenos Aires , Argentina with japanese roots. After growing up and pursuing several studies and interests in Argentina such as Visual communication , Performing arts, creative writing and the craft of cooking and eating, he moved to Japan in the year 2014 with no knowledge of japanese language.

Be first to comment