Interning at Maine’s Iconic Store — In Japan

Greg Stasiw ’15 has a paid internship this summer with L.L.Bean, working for its inventory team. This seems a normal enough job for a college student in Maine — until you learn that he’s based in Tokyo.

L.L. Bean, which has had its headquarters in Freeport, Maine, for 102 years, expanded into Japan in 1992 and now has 19 stores throughout the country. This is the first summer the outdoor retailer has hired a Bowdoin intern to work in one of its Japanese branches.

Photos by Anna Aridome 

Hiroo Aridome, a senior lecturer in Japanese at Bowdoin, collaborated with L.L.Bean’s Kate Van Savage ’88 and Todd Herrmann in Bowdoin’s Career Planning office to set up the new internship program. Aridome said he and colleague Vyjayanthi Selinger, associate professor of Asian Studies, had been seeking new ways to send Bowdoin Japanese language students to Japan, particularly when the students missed the chance to study abroad in Japan their junior year.

“We wanted to find an opportunity for students to explore the culture and language of Japan,” Aridome said. He added, “It’s exciting to connect the Japanese language program with a locally and globally respected company.” In future summers, Bowdoin hopes to send several Japanese language students for internships at L.L. Bean Japan.

Stasiw, who is based at the L.L.Bean outfit in Tokyo, has been working on a number of business projects, including analyzing inventory life cycles and competitive pricing. “We hope that the projects have been both interesting and fun,” Stasiw’s supervisor Masafumi Noto said in a news release, “and that he will gain business and strategic skills from working with us, as well as take home many stories of his learnings and experiences in Japan.”

Undoubtedly, Stasis will. Though he said he’s mainly busy with inventory work, he has appreciated the variety of things he’s done for the retailer, including a stint as a “mystery shopper.” He also has been exploring Tokyo — its parks, bustling shopping areas and everything in between — and said he’s amazed at how such a large population “manages itself so smoothly.”

Even before the Japan opportunity arose, Stasiw said he wanted to work for L.L.Bean. As an anthropology and Japanese major, the rising senior has dreamed of living and working abroad. “I was ecstatic to hear that I could do so in Japan, at one of my favorite companies of all time,” he said.

To see what other Bowdoin students are up to this summer, check out this interactive map by Nina Underman ’15.

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