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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 inside 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. 😦 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?

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Would you dare to tell your friends this?

3 Feb

Just a quick post to introduce you something very weird. 🙂
I can never think of such a service and also I wonder if there’s any demand for such a thing. But this is it. It’s a nostril hair notification. What??? (*w*)??
It’s called “Chololi” which is I guess from the imitative word in Japanese that illustrates something is hanging out…

This service can finally make you feel easy (?) to let your friend know that the nostril hair is showing from his or her nose. I see. It’s a delicate issue but it’s also difficult to ignore. Sometimes we’re not sure if we should tell it to friends or just keep silence… ^ ^;;


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Donbei pot noodle stand

15 Jan

I didn’t even notice there was a pot noodle stand in Shibuya station until the other day!

Do you know Donbei? It’s a long-selling pot udon and soba noodle made by Nisshin, the famous cup noodle maker in Japan. It’s common to see a soba stand (or a udon stand) in a train station, but I’ve never seen a pot noodle stand ever before. I thought it was new but I was wrong. It’s been there since Nov. 2010, according to their website. It was supposed to be a limited-time shop but they didn’t close the shop because people just loved it so much.

I’d have felt quite embarrassed to take pictures there if there had been more people around. But it was in the daytime and there were not many people around. 🙂

It seems that they serve Donbei that is usually limited to certain areas such as “only available in Hokkaido” for example.

Each Donbei seems to be priced 200yen or so here, served with hot water, while it’s sold at about 100yen at supermarkets. I see.
It’s a Donbei character fox. As always, setting an image character for a certain service or product is quite important in Japan. That’s how the service or the product is spread smoothly in Japanese market. But the point is that the character must be kawaii or cute, as you may notice! ^_^

I must say it represents how our economy situation is bad. Working men may live with instant noodle lunch as cheap as 200yen and they finish their lunch within 10 minutes. The other day I also saw a young working man who bought 2 pastries and 1 yogurt as his lunch and paid 187yen at a supermarket. It looks like a breakfast but he would work until 8 or 9pm. I think I’m eating more than that guy, and I’m already starving before 8. :p

As for myself, I don’t like pot noodle so much, but I believe many people love it. It’s true it’s cheap, easy and handy. A pot noodle station…but I don’t think it will be well-received in Europe, for example. How about other Asian countries or in your country? What do you think??

Ice cream Ramen??

14 Jun

Ramen Kikuya
address: 10-3 Senju Okawacho, Adachi-ku, Tokyo
nearest train station: Kitasenju
phone: 03-3212-0020
open: 11:00am-3:00pm / 6:00pm-8:00pm
close: Monday and Thursday

I just found these very weird combination ramen from Rocket News.

1) ice cream ramen

2) hot chocolate ramen

According to Rocket News reporter, both ramen tasted so good!
Would you like to try them? ^ ^;; Me? No thanks. I’d rather prefer ice cream as a dessert after ramen.

Japanese average income and low birthrate

28 May

This is a sort of true story post about Japanese culture or society that I sometimes write from Japanese perspective.
I happened to find this website to be totally surprised by the difference of income between men and women in Japan.
Average annual income (in JPY) in their 30s (I added English for you.)
Disclaimer…the sauce of information is here.

Average annual income (in JPY) in their 40s (I added English for you.)
Disclaimer…the source of information is here.

My surprise is how average income of female workers is going down as they get old! Of course age is not always the factor to decide how much they should earn. But I know why this happens. That’s because many women become a mother, many of whom has to give up her career in Japan. (It’s said 70% of Japanese women quit their job by the time they give birth to their first kid. This must be very high rate.)

You can see women’s income is decreasing as they become busy raising kids. Japan is a parent-unfriendly society, which is why most Japanese women always have to choose either way: to give up her carrier sorry, misspelling I mean “career” or to give up kids. Of course there are women who can get both, but such people are limited, as long as I look around people in the real life. In other words, most of the Japanese women around me belong to either of the group. A: those who give up their carrier “career” or B: those who give up having kids or even a husband!
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Odd rooms that exist in Japan

6 Jan

The information source is from MSN Japan.
It was my job to create a new floor plan for an old apartment that needed renovation before I started to work from online. It’s always fun for me to see the layouts even after I quit the job. It was too odd and fun to keep these to myself when I happened to find it on MSN Japan some time ago, I’d love to share these with my readers who are more likely to be interested in Japanese lifestyles. :p

File No.1: The room that is parallelogram-shaped. Monthly rent: 65,000yen

How are we supposed to place the furniture? Maybe we should fix parallelogram shaped furniture to fit on the wall?

File No.2: The room that has round-shaped walls. Monthly rent: 75,000yen

The room looked OK if only it were larger. The area is about 10 square meters. We use the unit of “Jo” (畳) for area. 1 Jo means 1 x tatami mat. 1 tatami mat is about 0.9m x 1.8m = 1.62 square meters. (To be exact, the size for 1 Jo is very different between Tokyo and Kyoto-Osaka area. Tokyo size is called “Edo-ma” while Kyoto-Osaka size is called “Kyo-ma”. Edo-ma is smaller than 0.9×1.8m.) Basically most of the Japanese find it easier to have the image of how big the area is when it’s described by “Jo” instead of square meters. For example, we can easily picture from this conversation: “The shop was very small, which was about 8 Jo or so.” Instead of saying “13 square meters”.

Same can be said to another unit called “Tsubo” (坪) that we use as often as “Jo”. 1 Tsubo is basically 2 tatami mats. Thus it’s about 1.8m x 1.8m, about 3.3 square meters.

File No.3 The room with acute angles. Monthly rent: 79,000yen

I don’t know much about feng shui and I really don’t care much about it but I think acute-angled corner is considered bad in terms of feng shui, am I right?

File No.4: The room with long corridor. Monthly rent: 70,000yen

I wonder if the resident can furnish a bed in the room, through the entrance…

File No.5: The room with large loft. Monthly rent: 70,000yen

Hmm…to me this is OK compared with above File No. 1-4. What do you think? :p

File No.6: The room with a balcony as large as 50J. Monthly rent: 70,000yen

When we change the balcony from a plain concrete space to a nice garden, it can be a wonderful place. But I wonder how the resident will place a bed inside the room. In any ways, bed must be placed somewhere on traffic lines. Ah, maybe futon will do! Oh but there’s no storage…:(

File No.7: The room with a balcony as large as 100J. Monthly rent: 78,000yen

100Jo is 162 square meters. What kind of imbalance when we compare with the room that has only 21 square meters! XD

File No.8: 2 rooms connecting each other. Monthly rent: 51,000yen

I wonder if they need 2 Japanese-styled toilets and 2 small entrances. BTW, Japanese-styled toilet is one of the things I want to avoid using in my life.

File No.9: The room surrounded with storage. Monthly rent: 120,000yen

It’s good to have enough storage space, but having no wall is very difficult for a resident to place furniture…

File No.10: The room with nearly octagonal shape with windows all over. Monthly rent: 51,000yen

I think I like this best of all. The room has a loft where the resident can sleep. The room looks great for a party!! 😀

Which room did you like or dislike most? Don’t worry, these are only the sample of rooms with weird floor plan. This is not normal or standard in Japan. lol However, all in all houses in Japan are very small, especially when they are located in the city area.

A shop that has local foods from throughout Japan

30 Sep

Shokoku Gotouchi Plaza
location: Basement floor of JR Tokyo station
phone: 03-3212-0020
open: 9am -8:30pm

Have you been to Gotouchi Plaza in Tokyo-eki Ichibangai? In other words, it’s in the same area as Rilakkuma store and character street. That is to say, you can get yummy or strange local foods that are usually only available at every local city Japan, while you can get your favorite character goods and Japanese foods at one place.

Local chips

Wasabi chips from Shizuoka…wow does it make us cry? ^ ^;

Local curry. They are so tempting. I want to try them as many as I can~ while I cannot visit these local cities. I was brought up and spent my life in around Tokyo. I’ve never lived any other part of Japan but Tokyo area. (I’ve never lived inside Tokyo, to be exact. That’s because it’s expensive to rent an apartment there. I’m originally from Saitama, and I’ve lived in Chiba and Kanagawa. Any of the locations are very close to Tokyo. That’s why I say “Tokyo area”.) I thought I was lucky because I could shop at Harajuku for example since I was a very kid. But now I feel like living more different parts of Japan to explore new life.

Local ramen also look so good! I don’t know anyone who doesn’t like ramen.

But everyone has different tastes, especially when it comes to ramen! This means we do not always like highly rated ramen. For example Kitakata ramen is just OK to me. I don’t love it so much.

Hokkaido is also famous for its ramen. But when I tried some Asahikawa ramen in Asahikawa, I didn’t like its too much oil over ramen. They use much oil to cover ramen so it should not get cold under their cold weather. That makes sense. But I don’t like too oily stuff. If I have to take in extra calories, I do want it from the food I love. ^ ^;

Local furikake. Furikake is a sort of seasoning that we eat to put it over steamed rice.

This year Japanese people went crazy about “ra~yu” or chili oil, that contains some food flakes inside. “Karasoude Karakunai Sukoshikarai Ra~yu” (meaning something like this; Ra~yu that looks spicy but not that spicy in fact but a little bit spicy) by Momoya was a mega hit this year in Japan. It’s always out of stock at any supermarkets or online grocery shops.

Local candies…but some of the flavors are very weird!

Who in the hell likes garlic candy? Potato x butter flavor is good for chips but how is that for candy…?

Or beer candy? …lol Most of candies from this corner looked weird enough.

Anyone who misses Takoyaki from Osaka, here’s Takoyaki flavor snack. As for myself, I don’t like Takoyaki so much, which is because I’m fed up with it. My father is from Osaka. He cooked Takoyaki every weekend and my mom also cooked it often as a snack for us to eat in-between meals when I was a kid. This made me dislike Takoyaki any longer. Same can be said to most of Japanese foods, I guess. :p