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Sunday, 14 June 2015

Welcome back

Though there is a corporate culture of some sort, there is also a regional one. For example, the Tokyo head office is notoriously stressful as one feels that there is always someone keeping an eagle eye on you. The head honchos are also rather too close for comfort. Out in the countryside of Technopark Nara it is relatively slower and more relaxed.

Being the countryside with not much to do or many places to go for a drink after work, chain izakaya's notwithstanding, any excuse to party has become the culture. Call it what you will, a konshinkai (懇親会) or a kangeikai (歓迎会) or a shinbokukai (親睦会), it's a smoky, loud drinking affair with poor quality food that lasts for approximately two and a half to three hours or until the last train home.

My transfer back to the Nara R&D centre, after three years at Tohoku University, meant having to attend three welcome parties. One was organised by the R&D division under the auspices of the union for the four of us who were transferred, the second was organised by the R&D group for the three of us who actually belong to the group and finally, one organised by the team that I belong too. Not being one that bathes in the centre of attention I was happy that the team party didn't go ahead as I had asked the organiser to quietly forget it. He was happy as well as it meant less work even though it was a direct order from the boss.

The beginning of the Viking feast is signalled by a simple opening speech, usually by the appointed organiser, and then towards the end each one of the transferee's has to make a short speech as well. Being Kansai, a humorous speech is the most appreciated. Not long after the last speech the party ends with everybody standing up and closed with an extended gurgle of yoooou! and a synchronised one hand clap called ipponjime (一本締め) . Depending on the occasion or organiser three hand claps might be performed called sanbonjime (三本締め). We slowly empty the establishment and go home while the party animals will carry on to the after-party.

In the beginning I went through the motions of these welcome parties. Over time gaining experience and appreciation of Japanese culture such gatherings now give me a feeling of belonging and being genuinely welcomed even though I am a foreigner. Many still don't know where I am from or have preconceived misconceptions about me.

Sunday, 7 June 2015

Ummm... what to write?

This is not writer's block because I can't write. It's about the main theme of this blog. There are so many blogs about, well, so many things that this one would only be a poor imitation. Could do product shots of the toys I've bought myself with a write up or CD reviews played on my low end hi-fi equipment or I could do something useful that is mundane.

For the lucky insomniacs out there my main theme will be driven by, '... the humdrum life of a foreigner employed at a Japanese company in Japan.' Think of it as my contribution to those who are looking for employment with a Japanese employer and wonder what it's like compared to working for a foreign conglomerate in Japan.

It will chronical the main practices and sometimes there might even be commentary thrown in for free. Nothing like a good bargain for those with short arms and sown pockets. Do remember though, it is only about one company and is not representative of others. Having had opportunities to compare notes, my current employer does fall in the middle somewhere.

The posts of my earlier memories and experiences may not necessarily be in chronological order so, I'll leave that up to you to piece the jigsaw together for some real mental gymnastics practice... take that sudoku...

Sunday, 31 May 2015

New life... redux...

... this blog was actually started some years ago but was abandoned after several job transfers (for the same company within Japan) even a stint at Tohoku University as a 'reseacher' believe it or not. Oh, you know, life time employment and all that and still trying to engineer a better life for myself.

During the years of blog wilderness and neglect, the first posts got deleted or lost by Blogger, just as well, as nobody really read them nor will they this either, so why bother? It's a personal release for... still searching for the answer to that one. Learning to be creative? Perhaps. Surprisingly, they kept my profile and registered name. Can they still make money from a dead blog?

As with the first blog, this will get updated when I get time or remember to write something. In other words, don't hold your breath waiting for the next boring instalment.