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Happy New Year 2013!!

5 Jan

Happy New Year!

I can’t believe today has come without having updated any posts on TKE! I’ve been on holiday since 22nd of December…so that means I’ve been free for nearly half a month! I was planning to do this and that but why anything has not done yet at this moment???? @____@

I know why, because I have been busy with social life; meeting up with friends, attending a seminar, visiting my grandmother in Osaka (haven’t posted about it either!) drinking, inviting friends, shopping, negotiating with my bank in the U.S (my bank account was regarded as unclaimed property due to its inactive state), replying to emails and greeting cards and etc. Now I have only today and tomorrow before I restart working on Monday. BTW, I will go drinking with my friends tonight…-___- oops…

midori sushi

This is a sushi plate I had at Midori sushi restaurant. I’ve never seen the restaurant without people waiting in a long line. It’s that popular in Tokyo. It was raining and very cold when I visited there with my father in December. While we were waiting outside of the restaurant (we went the one in Ginza) one of the waiters kindly handed each of us a disposable kairo to warm up. How nice!! ๐Ÿ˜€

The sushi plate was priced 2600 or so and it was very good! I think the price was reasonable considering the quality, and I am convinced that’s why people line up! ๐Ÿ˜€

I’ve got to go….
I have no idea if I can really continue on blogging in 2013. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ
But even if I have to stop it, you can feel free to email me!

I wish you all the best for 2013!!! ^__^


My working experience at a Japanese company

20 Dec

===*advance notice*===
Iโ€™ll go visit my grandma in Osaka next week and will blog about my shopping, eat-outs, and general experiences when I return to Tokyo! ๐Ÿ˜€

I still wonder what the best balance is between life and work. But anyway, I’ll write up freely like a diary.
I’ve worked for a domestic company (that means Japanese company) for the pastโ€ฆnearly 6 months or so, and unexpectedly it was such a FUN experience to me. ๐Ÿ™‚ I made a few good friends from work, which was not easy when I was working as a freelancer (as a house renovation planner). Those days, my ‘friends’ were more likely to be friends for benefit. We met for exchanging useful information for work or to share knowledge or experience of work. That was fun while I was engaged in the work, but our friendship was over when I quit that job. I noticed then that there was no reason to meet up with them when I have no more renovation work to share with them. Also I clearly noticed the friendship was based on benefit and without the topics about work, there has not been any particular topics that I feel like talking about with those friends. That was not a genuine friendship, after all…

Although I was shocked to see how company employees are working, it was yet, a fun experience as a whole. ๐Ÿ˜€ Japanese firms are unique in some ways, especially when they are compared with American or even European ones. There are pros and cons for every aspect, but one of the good points about Japanese companies in general is that a whole company is just like a family. Employees are like one big family. Thatโ€™s why senior workers will try to educate junior workers. They are willing to help the followers to learn, grow up and contribute to the company, even if they sacrifice their own time or work.

Unlike western companies, Japanese companies are still having difficulties in dismissing their employees, no matter how the western culture has affected our society in some ways. Long time ago, we had no idea of dismissal in Japan, thanks to life-time employment system. Itโ€™s been said that life-time employment has been dead and we also have to be prepared for layoff, but as a matter of fact, regular employees are relatively protected from dismissal except for some special cases in Japan. If an employee does not do something really stupid, he will probably keep employed till his retiring age.

I believe that such culture and climate of Japanese firm definitely help generate family-like and friendly atmosphere in the office, especially when itโ€™s relatively a big corporation like I’ve been working for. I really felt comfortable interacting with almost every co-worker in the office. (The bad aspect of such company is that people still think working long hours is greater than working efficiently or complete the work before the fixed hour.)

My job contact with this company is to be terminated, and my next job contact will start from January and it’s a Japanese venture capital company. I think their culture is very different from the current one. My working hour is shorter because I wish to stay more time with Pi-chan and do something for myself at home.

Now I’m thankful to the company for what I experienced in the past 6 months. 10 years ago when I was working as a company employee, I really hated that. That’s the main reason I started to work as a freelancer. But now I find myself more flexible, generous, and thankful, which is why think I no longer feel hatred, anger or irritation. I even feel a bit sad for leaving the company in a few days. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

It was because I changed that irritation could have become appreciation? ๐Ÿ™‚ Have you experienced something like this?

Shocked to see how co-workers are working!

2 Dec

I’ve been working as a translator for a Japanese IT (information technology) company since June this year, even though I’m such a computer-illiterate person. lol Anyway, it just happened and my translation work doesn’t really require something technical so much, and even if it does, I can always ask around the engineers to get the exact image.

So my point here is that I’ve got a chance to see insideใ€€of a Japanese IT industry.
I’ve worked at a few Japanese companies so far, but I’ve never ever seen that employees are working day and night almost without sleeping!! In fact, what’s happening in the company I work for now is that delivery deadline is close and employees are staying up (over-time work) till midnight or even till 3 or 4am next morning and then start working from 9am again next day (already the same day!) .

Some male workers are working overnight for 2 days and 2 nights. I’m so shocked to know that. I couldn’t believe what I heard and what’s more, it was even shocking to me that those who are compelled to work like that say it’s how it is and they don’t feel anything about that! I wonder how could such working condition be taken as granted and approved!? (FYI, the company I work for now is a large corporation that every Japanese person from children to the elderly definitely knows its name.) I wouldn’t be able to accept that if I were the worker who had to work like that. I mean, if it’s my own business and my own project and I want to do it overnight with excitement, based on my own will, that would be possible but being kind of forced by a boss and doing this every now and then as a matter or course is just no way to me!! (T___T)

I told this story to some people including my husband and again I was shocked how most of them said that it’d be normal in Japan. I still feel shocked today.

BTW, I found this graph from Expedia Japan how difficult it is for the Japanese to take paid holidays. The graph shows in gray how many paid holidays were given yearly (in 2012) and how many of them were actually taken in red. I remember a German girl told me before that it was normal in Germany to have 30 paid holidays besides some sick leaves. In Japan, we have to use paid holidays for sick leaves. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ I don’t know if sick leaves are given aside from paid holidays in all of the other countries in this graph. If so, that should be also mentioned to illustrate how our working situation is outstandingly miserable!!

As you can imagine, this company is not doing something illegal. The workers working extra hours get paid extra. This is how the Japanese workers defend the deadline to the death. There’s imbalance of employment in our society that such workers are working like a horse while many people are jobless. Work sharing has never worked out in Japan.

I wonder…would it be normal in your country as well to do over-time work till 3 or 4am and start working for the next day from 9am again and do such from time to time when deadline is close? I can’t believe most of Japanese workers think it’s normal, but what do you think about that?

Preached by a stranger?

19 Nov

It’s very rare in Tokyo that a stranger who happens to be seated at next table in a restaurant talks to you. But it just happened to us, my co-worker and I, while we were having lunch together during a lunch break. It was an old man that first talked to me if the dish was good. I answered with smile that it was. There was no problem if he only exchanged a few words like that with us.

But in fact, he kept talking on and on that seemed to be directed to us. We were not interested in having any further conversation with that stranger. So both of us just ignored him, and we continued our own conversation. In the mean time, he stopped talking.

It took a while until our tea/coffee were served after the meal. So we urged a waitress several times to bring them to us asap as we had to go back to the office before lunch break was over. I started to feel irritated as time for drinking tea/coffee would not be left even if they were finally served. My co-worker and I were joking with laughter that I’d rather take away my cup of coffee or I’d ask the waitress to stop serving me coffee and instead I’d ask a cashier to deduct that amount from the total. (I was not serious, not intended but just joking.)

Then the man next to me suddenly started to preach us that it was not nice of us to laugh like that and get irritated with not being served promptly, when the waitresses were doing their best under the circumstances. OK maybe he was right. But my co-worker and I were about to tell him to stop talking to us as he has nothing to do with us or whatever we are talking about. Let alone we were not there to listen to his preach! Yet, at the same time, we knew we had no intention of having a quarrel with him for such a stupid matter. So we kept silent. We ignored him, having only half cup of tea/coffee to return to the office promptly, before it got too late.

It was quite an unpleasant lunch time after all. I guess he would complain that the young people are really rude and inconsiderate today. Or is that our lunch break that is too short (60 minutes)? Have you had such an experience before? As it’s not normal that a stranger speaks so much, he must be weird. What do you think?

Authentic Onsen after work

4 Jul

It doesn’t always mean that you have to travel to an Onsen resort or countryside to go in an Onsen (hot spring). I suppose Ooedo Onsen Monogatari is sometimes introduced as a Higaeri Onsen (Onsen for a day trip) in a guidebook for foreigners who travel to Tokyo. But it’s not the only option. There are several Onsen facilities in residential area that offer authentic Onsen for the local people at a reasonable price and for daily use. Shiraku-no-Yu is a good example. ๐Ÿ˜€

photo credit: Shiraku-no-Yu official website
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Weekday Lunch Pictures 2

24 Jun

Continuing from the last food post, I’ll share with you variety of lunch sample pictures here. The only good thing about eating out around my work is to be able to try various kind of foods and restaurants, although lunch time is limited to 60 minutes. ๐Ÿ˜€

lunch sample 6: Udon from a food court
Cold Udon with grated Japanese radish and 2 small pieces of fried chicken in Japanese style…570yen

I like to eat cold Udon or Soba during summer. But this Udon was too cold for me to taste it well. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ The fried chicken in Japanese style was not so good either.

lunch sample 7: Gonbei onigiri (rice ball)
Chicken mayo onigiri + green perilla and chirimenjako (tiny dried young sardines) onigiri + miso soup…490yen

I like to eat some rice balls and miso soup for a light lunch. It’s not too heavy and I believe it won’t make me feel sleepy at work. ๐Ÿ™‚

lunch sample 8: Antendo breads
Calzone with butter chicken curry sauce inside, pancake bread, and cafe latte…760yen

The calzone bread had a very small filling of curry inside. There was a lot of room inside that was only an air. ^ ^;; I still felt like eating more after finishing all. I may try other kind of breads next time.

lunch sample 9:ใ€€Omurice from a food court
Omurice and iced coffee…690yen

I could put some different kind of vegetables inside the ketchup rice, if I were to cook it by myself at home. After I ate it, I thought I had to eat a lot of vegetables at dinner. Most of the meals taken outside do not have enough vegetables. The rice was seasoned too salty to me. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

lunch sample 10: bento from eashion and etc.
Bento (Fried sliced scad seasoned with sweet/sour sauce and etc.)…600yen

This was good! I found some sliced vegetables underneath of the fried fish. The volume was not too small, not too much, and the bento carried so many different dishes inside the box. I’m now preferring bento to meals like lunch sample 6 or 9.

Bento (vegetable bento, no meat or fish inside the box)…500yen

The upper left fried food is not meat but lotus. I’m a person who likes to eat meat, but surprisingly I was quite satisfied with this vege bento! ๐Ÿ˜€

You may expect that I make a bento by myself to eat for lunch, but unfortunately I don’t like to. I’d love to eat a bento if my husband prepares for me, though. :p

Weekday Lunch Pictures 1

14 Jun

Lunch time at work is 60 minutes from noon. I’ll share with you my weekday lunch pictures so you can roughly find what kind of meals you can have around 600yen. I could go get a bento to eat at the office, even cheaper than 600yen, but I don’t want to stay in the office. I need fresh air and color to comfort myself. Unfortunately there’s no park around the office where I can eat bento, either. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

What’s most important is to return to the office before 1pm. But I also want to look around a book store or some kawaii shops and apparel shops after lunch. Thus, my lunch must be served very promptly. To make the most of this limited time, I should eat alone and hang around alone. I need no company who could waste even 1 minute.

Remember glass of water is free at most of Japanese restaurants. (Refills are also free.) ๐Ÿ˜€

lunch sample 1: Doutor Coffee Shop
shrimp/salmon sandwich and ice cafe latte…670yen

This was not enough for my stomach but it was OK because I didn’t want to feel sleepy around 2-3pm.

lunch sample 2: Spaghetti Dona
spaghetti Bolognese, salad, mini dessert and iced coffee…880yen

They said they use fresh pasta, but I didn’t like their pasta so much. The pasta sauce was also not so good. But the price was very reasonable for what I ate, although it was over budget. ^ ^;;

lunch sample 3: Tenya
Tendon, miso soup and hot tea…500yen

Once in a while I feel like eating Tendon. But I believe many young women would hesitate to go to this kind of fast food restaurant that is full of men. As for myself, I don’t mind. ^ ^;; I ordered a very simple Tendon, without Udon or some extra dishes. However, this Tendon set made me so sleepy after I went back to work. I wouldn’t have it again while I’m working in the company office. (x_x)

lunch sample 4: Ootoya
chicken/vegetables in black vinegar (mini bowl)…570yen

I like Ootoya. It’s good most of set menu come with adequate amount of vegetables. In this bowl, there was thinly sliced cabbage underneath of the chicken, green pepper, egg plant, and etc. But the downside of Ootoya is only that it takes some time until the ordered meal is served. I was unable to have enough time to hang around after I finished my meal.

lunch sample 5: Lotteria
tartar chicken burger, french fry and ice cafe latte…590yen

I’d definitely prefer other burger shops but this time I somehow chose to have my lunch at Lotteria. But just 1 time is enough.

I’ll share with you more different lunch sample pictures later! ๐Ÿ˜€
What do you eat for lunch usually?