Sunday, June 24, 2007

picnic at mizunashi

Spring term is officially over! Just got done and over with my papers, assignments, projects & presentations last week. Ever since then, there's been non-stop gatherings and parties by every group imagineable - 2nd years, IPSP's, Burmese, IDP's, graduating students, GSO, SD3 rooftop, etc.

The transition between spring and summer is marked by tsuyu(梅雨)which means rainy season. I was already missing spring when I noticed that the rains kept coming and the fresh crisp weather got lesser and lesser.

We had a golden window of opportunity last Saturday where it was just perfect weather the whole day. We had initially planned to go to the beach to have bbq, but Japan ain't well known for having beautiful beaches, so we changed to shopping in Nagaoka where they just opened a new mall.

Then things changed last minutes and upon Shinko's recommendation we ended up having picnic near the river. I was just expecting us to have some snacks and drinks at some shady area while chatting and celebrating the end of the term.

But we ended up cycling about 6km from a ski resort (that's what I came to know since that area was where we had the IUJ Ski Day) turned summer inn to a dammed area through windy paths. It was just the type of weather where you want to hang out in the open sun and enjoy nature's best. Plus, the view was just fantastic.

Since I haven't cycled for such a long time, doing that distance was almost enough to kill me, but seeing the waters from the river running parallel with part of the cycling path was tempting enough to make me abandon my bike and jump into the river! Except for the fact that it was too shallow for me to jump into.

It was so deceptive, because as soon as our toes touched the water, we froze. It was that chilling. But some of us didn't care and just went straight to swim in the waters. Some even went as far as to dare each other to take off their undies in the river.

Since I didn't expect us to go cycling and stay out in the sun like that, I went unprepared. No cap, no sunglasses, and worst of all, no sunblock! You can imagine how toasted I came back. And now my skin is looking all funny. It's not the typical peeling that you get with sunburns, but it's like erupting, sorta!

But anyways, it was a really fun trip. We ended it with lunch at the Budo no Hana restaurant which has its own winery and produces their own Echigo-brand wine. Still not feeling satisfied, we headed to Yummy ice cream and got ourselves each some delicious homemade dessert. I wish everyday was like this - what bliss!

Saturday, June 09, 2007


Mid-May, the Japanese Language Programme (JLP) had its annual japanese speech presentation. Students were selected from all the courses which are being offered here at IUJ - basic, elementary, intermediate & advanced. I escaped from being chosen from our class but got picked instead for the MC job, together with Aidong, from China.

We had a draft MC script provided to us the week before, and were given briefing about the agenda for the evening. When I first saw the 4-page script, I thought maybe I should've volunteered myself for the presentation instead.

Later I found out that the rest were the instructions and explanation about what was to happen for the 発表会 presentation. Aidong and I modified the speech and divided the task among ourselves and sent the final copy for amendments by our Jap teacher, 竹内先生.

Just a few hours before the event, we went up to the 3rd floor of the Matsushita Library and Information Center (MLIC) to practice. While going through our script, we somehow added gestures to spice up the speech. We thought it silly at first as it was merely to complement instructions such as to ask the audience to remain seated while instructions were given, and where to stack the chairs after the event.

After everyone had finished giving their presentations, and the audience eager to go on to the next event, Aidong and I walked up to the front and began our roles as MC's for the night. As usual, I get heartbeats double triple the normal speed when I stand in front of an audience. But I managed to smile my way through and that somehow left a good impression.

Everyone seemed to enjoy the rapport we had as MC's and was most willing to cooperate when we asked them to help with setting up the tables for the reception. The JLP coordinator later wrote us an email saying what a wonderful job we did. She even said that never had she seen such cooperation from the audience before, they actually didn't stand up from their seats while the MC's were giving instructions.

What a feeling of satisfaction knowing that we did a good job, and a greater surprise that we got an email of acknowledgement and people coming up to us saying they enjoyed our "performance"! Below is the email, I still had to use the translator to get the meanings of some of the kanji :p






Monday, June 04, 2007

携帯電話 での面接

Just finished 2 phone interviews this afternoon. I'm happy to share with you that they liked me a lot. The first was a headhunter specialising in advertising & consumer goods who wrote back and said she was impressed with my experience and career interests. We talked for about half an hour and she sounded like a really nice lady as she gave me some tips on how to improve my resume and increase my attractiveness as a potential employee.

As soon as we were done with the interview, she sent me an email with some contacts of other opportunities which she thought I would do well in. The clients that she worked with was somehow related to what I was looking for in terms of career field. However, I had to be frank with her about my Japanese language proficiency.

We agreed that while I could still try out some MNC's in Japan, I would also have to be open to job opportunities outside of Tokyo. This was some sort of confirmation to what I initially intended to do as I knew native Jap levels are needed especially in the marketing fields.

As soon as I was done with that, I called up for my 2nd interview. I was somewhat taken aback when I heard Japanese greetings on the other end of the line. I don't know why, but since I didn't catch what it meant, I replied in English and asked to speak to the President (I had emailed him my resume earlier). It was a good thing I maintained my cool as I found out that the person who picked up the call was the President himself!

He sounded quite friendly and was most amicable when describing the company and the work involved for the position I was writing in for. It was a startup company expanding its operations in one of the most interesting field today and someone with both technical and marketing/design skills were needed. He said I was just the type of person he was looking for.

However, it was an immediate position and I would only be graduating end of August. It is therefore natural that he would be interviewing other potentials so he suggested that I come in for a formal interview in Tokyo should I still be interested in the post after my finals this term.

Well, all in all, it's good news to me that my skills and experiences are valued here and that it's not imposible to get a job with my kinda background. It just gave me the motivation to actively continue looking, not just within Japan but other AP countries as well. Ultimately, I just pray that whatever open doors I get, that I have His assurance that it's the one that He wants me to go through.