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Saori NISHIIKE (Weathercaster, Mainichi Broadcasting System/Weather Forecaster, Minami Forecasters Agency)

A TV Weather forecaster

When Ms. Nishiike arrives at her desk at 10 am, she first takes a look at the latest weather information. “I predict changes in the day’s weather from technical weather data, but in addition, I also make it a rule to look at people’s clothes on the train on my way to work."

Ms. Nishiike always tries to exercise her ability to scientifically analyze data as well as her ability to keenly observe daily life, both of which are essential for TV weather forecasters.

Attracted to a speaking profession, she became a newscaster

Ms. Nishiike learned piano from a young age, and even considered entering an arts university. But, she says, "I became interested in English in high school. Through learning English, I found Japanese to be quite interesting, so I chose to enter Osaka University of Foreign Studies (now the School of Foreign Studies, Osaka University).”

During her first year at university, she found a newspaper article about recruiting for Kobe Goodwill Ambassadors. A Kobe native, Ms. Nishiike wanted to express the charm of the city to many people, so she applied and was chosen. Over the course of a year, she visited various locations around Japan. “I started to think about how to best express the appeal of Kobe in a limited amount of time, which led to me to think that getting a speaking profession would be great.”

It was hard to get a job in broadcasting industry, but she ended up becoming a reporter, and later a newscaster at NHK (Japan Broadcasting Corporation) Takamatsu.

 “I went out for interviews with a video camera, and shot and edited the film. It was tough, but as I met with and listened to individuals who were proficient in their areas of expertise, I started to think that I’d like to become an expert in something, too.”

Passing the difficult examination, she became a certified weather forecaster

“I’ve always loved to look at the sky. The blue sky and shape-shifting clouds make for a special scene that that one only can view in that very moment. At the broadcast station, I was frequently exposed to news regarding natural disasters, which gave me the idea of becoming a weather forecaster.”

However, it was difficult to attempt to take the examination, with its 5% pass rate, while working, so she quit her job at the broadcast station to concentrate on studying for a year. Even after taking a new position as a reporter at NHK Kyoto, she kept on studying. Around that time, she met Toshiyuki MINAMI, head of the Minami Forecasters Office, to which Ms. Nishiike currently belongs. “After taking Mr. Minami’s course, I thought to myself, 'He is the person I should take lessons from!' and started attending his courses regularly.” In herb first attempt, she failed in the final stage, but she passed on her 3rd attempt, achieving her goal of becoming a weather forecaster.

Successor to a veteran weather forecaster

Even after becoming a weather forecaster, very few can speak as professional weather presenters in broadcasting. But, Ms. Nishiike had luck on her side. She became a successor to Toji IMADE, who had been a weather forecaster for MBS for 44 years until March 2015.

“I never thought I’d end up working at MBS.” Although she felt the pressure of working as a successor to the veteran weather forecaster, she had to fulfill her responsibility in her own way. “I’m always thinking about how I can deliver the weather forecast so that it's easy for viewers to understand.”

She also provides a personal touch to her commentary about the weather.

“I also try to mention what I felt when I stepped outside. Thinking about how to convey the weather in Kansai in a single phrase is the kind of enjoyment that only a local Kansai TV program can provide."

A variety of hobbies

Ms. Nishiike began running marathons during her time as a goodwill ambassador, running a full marathon in a quick 4 hours.

Now she’s taken up with flower arrangement. “Ever since I started at this position, I’ve been more drawn to changes in season. I particularly love flowers, and I enjoy flower arrangement with preserved flowers on the weekends.”

Give things a try and expand your horizons

Ms. Nishiike was involved in various things while in college.

She encourages current students, saying, “I occasionally suffered setbacks, but I was able to land my dream job. If you enjoy each moment and are unafraid to try, I think things will turn out good.”

“I sometimes feel down for a moment, but lately, I try to laugh more to attract good fortune.”

Her partly cloudy days have turned mostly sunny.

• Saori NISHIIKE

A 2009 graduate of the Department of International Studies, School of Foreign Studies, Osaka University, Saori NISHIIKE became a reporter at NHK Takamatsu in 2009, a newscaster for “Hirumae Kagawa” at NHK Takamatsu in 2011, and a reporter for NHK Kyoto in 2014. She passed the certified weather forecaster examination in October 2014, and joined Mainichi Broadcasting System’s “Chichin Puipui” and “VOICE” as a weather forecaster in April 2015. She currently belongs to the Minami Forecasters Office.

Note: This is a reprint of the article posted in the Osaka University NewsLetter No. 70 (Winter 2015).

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