Thursday, July 26, 2007

do i have a right to be upset?

I don't usually do this, but I'm so upset at this company which interviewed me some time back. The last interview I had with them was early this month, and I still feel like i got cheated or something. Let me relate the story and you tell me if I have the right to feel that way.

It's a relatively new company, start up venture it seems dealing with new media related to IP TV. I would gladly announce the name on my blog so that you won't be treated the way I did, but I'm not sure if this is called defamation/slander. Anyways, it was one of the many companies that advertised through our uni's career services.

Because it was web-related but quite an entry-level job, I decided to give it a try. Not long after that, I got an email from the president of the company asking me to call him. You got that right, I had to call the company to be interviewed. Fine, so I called him and we chatted for about half an hour. Mind you, this is considered long distance since the office is based in Tokyo and I'm staying in rural Niigata.

It went quite well except for the part where he mentioned that even though the job was quite entry-level, and the company was small, he even had to do invoices himself. At that time, I was willing to give any job a try, since I was aiming to learn all I can and gain some foreign exposure.

After that, as a courteous interviewee, I did the courteous thing by emailing him to thank him for interviewing me. Yes, even if I had to call him. So I asked about the next step. He said, to go down to Tokyo for a proper F2F interview. Fine, so during the past trip down for the career fairs, I made my way to his office for the 2nd interview.

It was in a residential apartment area which didn't look one bit like a proper office, but during the interview he told me that they were getting ready to move into a proper place by the end of the year or something like that. He even showed me some rental quotes. I managed to have some more chat with him, and his staff, to whom I was supposed to report to. It went kinda well, and they wanted me to join them immediately as it was an urgent vacancy.

After returning to campus, I thanked them again. Yes, I had to call them, and I had to go down all the way to some place called Tennoz Isle for the interview and talk to his staff while he did his work on his Mac, and I thanked them again for talking to me. He emailed me some time after that to tell me to Skype one of this partners for the 3rd round.

So Skyped I did. I admit that I couldn't make it the initial arranged date, but I apopogised and Skyped his partner the next day. He said he was busy that time, asked me to wait for 30minutes, and I said to message me back when he's ready to talk. I waited and waited and after 45 minutes of no response, I decided I had to eat my dinner.

I had already skipped my dinner to concentrate on that interview, but my stomach was growling and Maslow's law says that hunger is one of the basic need. So I obeyed my hunger and ate, and suddenly after 1 hour, he messaged. By then I was already more than upset. He was late for his Skype interview and disturbing my delayed dinner, so I told him I would message him when I was done with my dinner.

My friends who knew about my impending Skype interview all laughed at me when I told them about what had happened. I guessed they didn't want me in the end because I had to obey my hunger, which was a basic need.

Now, would it be an overreaction on my part to be upset that I had to first call them for my interview, then made my way to their office for the 2nd, and Skype for the 3rd? Have you ever heard of a company who asks their potential candidates to call them for interviews? The best interview I've ever had, and will continue to tell people about is from Shell. They treated us to lunch with their interviewers! Not snacks like curry puff and teh tarik, but proper meals with proper cutleries.

I will never forget that even though I didn't get in Shell, and neither will I forget this call-us-for-your-interview company too.

Monday, July 23, 2007

bless the Lord, o my soul, and all that is within me bless His holy name!

Quick updates :

1) Thanks for all your concern & messages, I'm fine here. There were some aftershocks, but not that serious. Thank God :)

2) Finished draft thesis, handed in for plagiarism check on Friday. Awaiting response/review from supervisor. Hope this goes well.

3) Did a mini web project enhancement project for company I'm interviewing for. Final stage, hopefuly of something positive, submitting this to God.

4) Planning a little break after all the madness. Trying to see as much of Japan as I can just in case I don't get to stay back :p Will try to get Internet connection n update if I can!

5) I miss all of you in Malaysia :) really wan!

Monday, July 16, 2007

an almost surfer

I was about to ride the board, waiting with scores of other people along the edge of the sea. The 2m high wave was just behind us, I knew I had to get the timing right. It was my first time surfing, and I was both nervous and excited. I'd never imagine myself getting on a surfing board and trying to see if I could balance myself on it.

As I turned to ready myself and look forward to soaring in the air, suddenly everything crumbled...

I was rudely awaken by someone vigorously shaking the door. Now who's that idiot who just ruined my dream. As I walked towards the door, I shouted, "Who's that?!" But he wouldn't listen. Is he deaf or what? I got scared, what is he trying to do to my door?!

Then I realised, no one was outside. The door was still shaking, I was still reeling from the after-effects of not completing my dream. I was half-dazed and just wanted him to stop trying to push down my door so that I can go back to complete my dream.

It struck me then, we were being hit by an earthquake! The shaking went on for about a minute, if I remembered correctly. I went under the table and waited till it subsided. I was more confused than frightened.

It felt quite surreal, since I'm quite a heavy sleeper and I didn't even realise the bed was shaking. It was the rocking door that woke me up and I thought someone was trying to push his way in to my room!

Later I googled for the latest news and found out indeed it was an earthquake centred at the Niigata prefecture. Tokyo was affected too. Thank God it wasn't serious here. But I never found out whether I could surf or not.

Japan rocked by major earthquake
Earthquake Hits Central Japan; Two Killed, Kyodo Says
Strong Earthquake Jolts Northwestern Japan

Thursday, July 12, 2007

kermits during the rainy season

During my walkabouts this evening (I usually do something else other than head straight for the laptop after waking up from my nap!), I decided to go up the SD1 roof. I just wanted to look far to the mountains to train my eyes after hours of strain when from the corner of my eye, I saw this.

A little Kermit perched at the ledge of the wall at the roof. How cute. The first shot was blur, cos I didn't have time to think about adjusting the macro mode of my phone camera in case the froggy jumped off in fright. But since I noticed it was still quite calm and not planning to run away anywhere, I tried again.

It really was a tiny creature, about the length of my thumb. Just as I was about to zoom in for a better shot, it decided to commit suicide. Down it went from the roof to the ground. I could barely hear the tiny thud when it landed on the drain gutter. After a few seconds, it jumped away. It didn't die after all.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

unique japanese food

I'm getting a mild headache from trying to get started on my thesis. Or maybe it's just the off-balanced schedule that I'm having now. Since we're done with classes, there is no reason to wake up early. Many of the SD1 people are practically having lunch at 3pm and dinner at 9pm! And I thought it was just me... :D

Anyways, since I've gotten the outline and abstract laid out, I thought of doing this long overdue post which I've always wanted to write - Japanese food. Well, not the traditional sort which one would expect; like soba, ramen, tenpura, sushi, fugu and all those. I'm talking about Japanese version of Pringles or their own chocolates.

One thing I've always found fascinating is their love for packaging. Even the most humble Japanese せんべ(煎餅)rice cracker gets to have its own matt packaging with designs and all that. You can imagine then that luxurious brands such as Mary's get even more elaborate.

This was one of the first purchases I made at the Niigata University Co-op back when I first arrived in April last year. They regularly have cheap items for about Y100, so I would try out different stuff everytime we have a break between classes. Sometimes it would be crackers or biscuits, other times it would be buns and other titbits. For sanity sake, I had to assume that Y100 is like our RM1.

These cute little cup-sized jams was another one of my regular purchases at Uoroku, the nearest supermarket which was within walking distance from where I stayed in Niigata. They have the Y99-day where items such as fishes, meats, vege and a variety of items go on sale for only 99Yen. For that price, the quality is not bad la.

I've always had Milo everyday since I was young. Milo for breakfast, and sometimes Milo for supper too. I think I'll die without Milo. In fact Milo should pay me to be their spokeswoman! Anyways, I find it really strange that they don't stock Milo and milk like how they do in Malaysia. I keep wondering what Japanese schoolchildren drink. This was my Milo substitute when I couldn't find any Milo in the local Uoroku. So much so that I had to ask my Mama to send me packets of Milo over - I'm serious! For about 270g of cocoa powder, I have to pay about Y300 which really is quite expensive considering it only lasts me for a few weeks.

I'm a food fan, so I always relish in trying something new. Coming to Japan only fuelled that obsession interest. This was the first time I saw squeezable butter, I knew I had to take a picture of it, along with the bread for scale. BTW, Meiji is one of the top food brands in Japan. I've seen hard butter, soft butter, margarine, ghee, lard, butter from airplanes, etc but not squeezable butter like this. Of course, it's more expensive than regular tub butter, but no choice since that time I hadn't bought any utensils, so this would have to do.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

back from tokyo

Just got back from Tokyo. Was there for some company interviews and the International CareerCross Forum and Tokyo Summer Career Forum. The interviews I had sounded positive but nothing's confirmed, so I'm hoping for the best. Whereas, being at both career fairs was quite an eye-opener as I was able to see the market for employees, especially foreign grads with bilingual skills.

While at Tokyo I was thinking about the next course in life. Should I stay on in Japan or should I venture elsewhere and of course should I return home?

Many people have been asking me if I would be going back to Malaysia after graduation. It's a tough question, which I'm still praying about. I now know how foreign grads feel around this time, the question to explore oppportunities elsewhere while you're out there lingers, especially when the situation back home ain't that rosy.

But no matter how qualified or experienced one is, there's always the language barrier, especially in a country such as Japan where most of the population do not use English in their daily lives. Even my friends who have advanced level Japanese are still struggling to answer interview questions in the language.

Most of the companies that were represented in the fairs required fluent Japanese and business-level English. Ironically, their interviews and data sheets were only in Japanese. But still, it was a good experience mingling around with Japanese graduates who had just returned from overseas and the few foreigners who want to try it out in this country.

I've already done my part, sending thank you emails to the companies I've talked to, and following up on the necessary. Now I have to concentrate on my thesis, of which the draft is due in 2 weeks' time!