Sophians Talk about Japan and the World

Flexibility: The Key to Turning the Unexpected into Opportunity

Misato Nagano
(Television News Presenter)

The Practical English Program at Sophia Lived up to My Expectations

Misato Nagano Television News Presenter

I was born and raised in Miyoshi Town (today's Miyoshi City) in Aichi Prefecture. It is a wonderful place known for its delicious fruit, but it was not a place with much information about Tokyo, let alone about its universities. To be honest, Sophia was my first choice in large part simply because of the vague hope and desire I had to attend. Compared to other universities, Sophia had smaller classes and, with its emphasis on English education, the university had ties with overseas institutions. And, I thought it would be cool and fun to be a university student in Tokyo.

I had studied English conversation since I was a child so I was interested in foreign countries. I had very high hopes for the English education at Sophia, and it met my expectations. We even had debates in English in many of our specialized courses, as well. Moreover, I had the opportunity to participate in three short-term exchange programs to New Zealand, London, and Los Angeles. Because the environment for English study was so good, I found myself increasingly wanting to learn English more and gain greater fluency.

Mathematics was my forte; however, so I majored in economics, a discipline where I could use those skills. My studies focused on theoretical economics, a field which analyzes economic phenomena using formulas and graphs. In the seminars, I broadened out into the study of real-world business management, including the analysis of financial statements.

What I found most interesting, though, was the class I took on development economics. How can we best support the growth of developing nations? It was mainly theoretical analysis, but what I learned in that class informs my work today in the mass media and I would like to use it more.

Not just development economics but economics as well is linked to every news story in some way. I don't have enough expertise to be able to have my own opinions yet, but I know how to think abstractly about the background and structure of events that arise and consider why or how they have arisen. I would like to learn more about economics and use it to good advantage in my work.

I originally thought I would get a job in consulting or another field where I could directly apply my knowledge of economics. But something happened that greatly altered my path.

Following My Other Passion

Misato Nagano Television News Presenter

That something was winning the Miss Sophia contest.

As I mentioned at the beginning, one of the reasons I wanted to attend Sophia was the student life, and Sophia lived up to my expectations in this area as well. In particular, the female students were all really spectacular. They were up on the latest fashions, and many of them were trendsetters themselves. It is often said that the women at Sophia are cute and strong, and it really is true. I think that is one of Sophia best features. Since none of the other graduates in this series are likely to mention this, I would like to make the point here.

Not in my wildest dreams had I thought that a person like me would win the Miss Sophia contest at a university as stylish as this. I was a member of the Sophia Broadcasting Club (SBC), and the SBC had a tradition of asking one of its members to enter the Miss Sophia contest every year. In my sophomore year, I was the one put forward. And, by a stroke of luck, I won! I was so thankful and at the same time so surprised.

Someone at the talent agency I am with now contacted me at that time. In other words, before I had started seriously looking for a job, a path different from what I had envisioned opened up for me in a very concrete way. In fact, though, being a news presenter was something I had long secretly been attracted to.

This is linked to an unusual habit I have. When I am reading a book in the bath, I find myself reading it aloud before I know it. Actually, I notice that I read aloud when I read alone, even if I am not in the bath! In my younger grades at school too, I used to look forward to my turn to read aloud in class even though I was not particularly good at Japanese.

I seem somehow to have a desire to communicate things to others by saying words aloud using my voice. Come to think of it, I bet that is also the reason I decided to join the SBC.

When I graduated from Sophia, I was hired as a weather presenter on a television morning show. Then something else unexpected happened this April.

Throwing Yourself into Life while Going with the Flow

Misato Nagano Television News Presenter

This spring, I was selected to be the main news presenter twice a week for the morning show where I was a weather presenter. Needless to say, I was the person most surprised by this sudden promotion. I am in training every day now.

It was my passion to be a news presenter, as I said earlier. Now that I have actually done it, though, I realize it is really difficult. I was so nervous in the early days that it seemed like my head and my mouth would not cooperate! If I wrote notes on the manuscript to try to guide myself so I could be less nervous, I found I had made the manuscript hard to read! I have finally gotten used to the new position, and I am now in intensive special training to read the news in a way that makes it easier for viewers to understand as well as more impactful and easier to remember.

That is not all, though. Unlike the days when I was in charge of only the weather, now I need to keep up on news in all kinds of fields, even those that I have not had much connection to, like sports. The morning show is a live program so you never know what is going to happen. I need to be mindful of the overall flow of the program, as well. In addition, I have set the goal of improving my English so that I can understand overseas news programs myself and interview non-Japanese people myself.

What come in handy here are the connections that I made at Sophia. Many of my SBC friends also have positions in this same field, and I can consult them. Some of my friends from the Faculty of Economics are working in the field I had originally wanted to pursue, and talking with them is very stimulating. Sophia is a place where all kinds of people gather-people from throughout Japan and the world as well as people with diverse interests. The wide variety of connections that I made there during my university days will no doubt continue to help me in the future as well.

If designing a career means figuring out what your strengths and weaknesses are, selecting the path you want to take, and then improving your skills and pursuing your path, then I may not be doing things right. Many things in life do not go as you imagined, though, and the unexpected sometimes results in good things. If you limit yourself to doing only what you have planned, you may miss a big opportunity, I think. My life is a classic example of the unexpected resulting in the positive.

That is why I am going to let circumstances guide me for a while, grab the opportunities that come my way, and do my very best with them. For that reason as well, I want to gain more breadth and flexibility so I can handle anything.

Then I can look forward to who I will be one year from now, five years from now, ten years from now. Not a bad way to live, I think.

Misato Nagano Television News Presenter
Misato Nagano
Television News Presenter

Misato Nagano graduated from Sophia University's Faculty of Economics in 2009. She was voted Miss Sophia in 2006. She was a weather presenter for Fuji Television Network's Mezamashi TV morning show from March 2009. From April 2014, she has been a main news presenter for Mezamashi TV aqua on Fridays and for Mezamashi TV doyobi on Saturdays. A photo collection of Ms. Nagano titled Que,Sera,Sera: 2009-2013 was released by Shogakukan Inc. in 2013.

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