- Loxye on Air again!
- [30th June 2006]
Live from Guanzate (Como) in Italy, here he cooooommmmmmmeeeesssssssss: ZA LOX !!!!
Well, the fact that I am about to be travelling again to Japan (and we are at three times in the past six month), means that I will physically be on air again. The last business trip with this company is going to be quite interesting, a new "side" of the Japanese mentality will unveil for me, the part that deals with telling that I am leaving and why.
Yesterday my boss told me that the big cheese in this company wasn't happy at the prospect of me doing this trip, another proof that these people really don't know anything about how business is done in Asia.
Needless to say that the main dish will be served on Thursday and Friday, when I will be discussing the potentially very interesting offer from this big Japanese multinational, I have been thinking about it more and more, and I came to the conclusion that if the offer is a good one I will definitely jump onboard.
This trip will be the last working week with my present agent (and above all very good friend) Kutsunugi san. There are hopes that we might work together in the future, but as there is nothing fixed the week WILL mark the end of a five years experience that has been simply great, both professionally and under the human point of view.
I owe him a lot.
It's interesting to see that I will be leaving exactly when the results are sky rocketing, we are really getting a lot more of business, and I am happy to see that the hard work paid off (for the cynic ones: going out with ninpho-supermodels in expensive restaurants and hotels and entertaining pointless conversations with gay designers).
Also it's a good "sayonara present" for Kutsunugi san, let's hope that he can do even better without me.
I will be seeing John as well (maybe IF he doesn't fly to Seattle, IF he's not sick, IF I have time)...
At the end of the trip I will most probably have a clear direction on what I will be doing in the next couple of months, workwise! :)
- What would Cicero say?
- [28th June 2006]
This week is proving to be extremely boring at work. Technically speaking I should have been on holiday, therefore I wouldn't have had to endure this boredom, but since I resigned I have to be here, as holidays do not count towards the notice period.
So here I am writing away, browsing the internet, biding my time but doing little else...
Yesterday, in my ordeal of boredom, I have had a tiny argument with a colleague, over a totally work unrelated subject: POLITICS.
I won't go into detail explaining the what, "how"s and "when"s of the mess that at the moment we are living in here in Italy, but the fact is that the approach of certain people to political problems is very often extremely superficial and selfish.
In Pizzaland if you are a tax evader you are "cool", if you take money abroad you are a "finance guru", if you live off law loopholes you are a "genius".
We were discussing about a Referendum that took place recently, it was an abrogative vote on a massive Constitutional reform that the previous government passed at the end of the legislature with a majority vote.
During the debate (in the company canteen, while having lunch), the topic fell on the recent vote for the parliament, and I was surprised (in a bad way) by the lack of preparation and the simplicity of the reasoning that some of my colleagues have when it come to choose what and who to vote. I will begin saying that I am NOBODY regarding politics and understanding of it, but at least I try and I also try to avoid being brainwashed with the millions of demagogic stimuli that are thrown at us consistently.
One person voted a certain coalition because "they are not going to reintroduce inheritance taxes" (not true, they simply denied to talk about it during the campaign) because "my grandparents are going to leave us a big sum"... When asked if that was the only reason the answer was "yes, what else should I care about?"...
Ok, no problem. Maybe it's just one person (though I become Nazi extremely quickly and I would have voided the person's rights to vote forever due to clear brain impediments)...
Another one told us that the present government is going to raise taxes! (the usual populistic-demagogic thing to say). When confronted with the fact that Italy IS walking exactly the same path that Argentina walked some years ago (it ended with the default of all bonds, technically speaking Argentina BANKRUPTED!), that all the economic data has plunged in recent years and little sign of recovery is in sight, well, the answer was "but they are going to raise taxes, why should I pay more?!"... I tried to ask how he thought that the situation could improve, and here a marvellous "There must be other ways..." came out, pretty much the same way you draw a rabbit from the top hat... 'Nuff said...
We are simply not a nation.
We might be one when the football is on, but apart from that there is little community spirit in our country.
Our ancestors are surely sick at looking what the Roman empire has become...
- The Bestest Assets
- [27th June 2006]
"HR is the best asset that companies have, shame that it's often sacrificed to feed management ego and cover their blatant mistakes", Lorenzo Pirisino
Once again a comment made in the previous post is the source of inspiration of this entry.
This time it was Mad Mumsie, who pointed out the fact that I really didn't talk about the fact that Marta resigned from my present company too.
The faithful reader will remember that there was quite a lot of trouble when she left our division, the company promised her a place in sales in another section of this firm, and the chance to go back to Japan.
Quickly, although someone (me) warned her about the problems and the "pitfalls" of the scheme, she realized that the offer was quite crap, the job was by far worse than what she was doing here and therefore decided to ask to be re-integrated in our division, as it was clearly told by our bosses in her first meetings.
As it happens, "Scripta manent, Verba volant" (the written stays, words fly away), and our bosses decided that she could go back to our section, but that would have mean a demotion, a salary cut and of course the "management evil eye" set on her permanently.
Let's say that she had little choice but to keep her new position, being completely unhappy and under pressure. In the end she started looking for new jobs just two months after she was offered the new position.
The good thing this time is that she DID get a job in a company that does final goods, i.e. has its own shop chain and all the rest. She will take care of the Franchise contracts around Europe and the opening of new outlets, all in all a different job, the one that I wished I was offered, with a lot more chances and a bigger challenge!
Way to go!
On the other side there is my case, five years working in the business, managed to get good results in markets that have very little consideration in Italy (strange but true). I resigned and as I wrote my boss didn't take it badly, but we all know that in the first moment of "void" there will be some losses for the company.
I thought that after the emails of the agent and clients, telling the management NOT to let go of me, at least an offer would have come from my superiors, but once again (at least this is for the last time), my ego has been slapped around the face, as they decided that I wasn't worth the effort.
I am a professional and I am doing everything to help them soothe the blow of me leaving as much as possible, but on the other side there is the strong wish of completely ruining the market for them, so that they can see what they are loosing.
Fortunately I am too nice a person to do that, and even if that was to happen they'll probably tell the board of directors and the employees that "...the recent loss on the Japanese market is a result of different factors interlacing with each other. At first the loss of the sales manager, but after reviewing the sales patterns and the quality issues, we have taken the hard decision of letting go some orders that were too risky and too little profitable, in order to increase the quality average, and having to manage less troubles." (i.e. we lost the orders because he left, but I am telling you that I did it on purpose, because otherwise you might think that I am an idiot as I let him go)...
Spot the similitude here?
Only one, little care for your employees, even those who could really make the difference... And then they wonder why things are so bad here in Pizzaland! All the major companies are run this way!
- Farewell to Marta
[23th June 2006]
Today was pretty uneventful, usual work routine, crap weather and so on...
In the evening Marta called her "Farewell Party", even if technically she'd already left the company, it is custom here to throw a sort of party with the closest colleagues and to toast to the future career.
The turnover was not massive, but it seems that this friday a lot of people had to take holidays.
Anyways we moved to this nice restaurant to have a "Giro Pizza" (Pizza Turn) basically they keep bringing pizzas until you tell them to stop.
The atmosphere was really good and the food was allright, Marta received a couple of presents (a bag, a T-Shirt and a cooking book), and all went according to plan.
No tears, no speeches or the like, after all Marta is not leaving the area, just the company.
Points of interests during the dinner featured the presence of what we call here in Italy as "My Mini-Pony" a girlie toy that was massively advertized when we were kids (in my case yesterday).
Carola (Lucia's daughter) had several with her, and you can imagine the reaction of all the girls at the table when she produced them to the audience!
I could not avoid to think about what I'll decide to do, what will happen that night. I am leaving for good, and one of the things that I will dearly miss is the people with whom I shared five years of my life. Though the work might be crap and all, the company is a small one and there is a real family feeling among the several employees.
Marta in the meantime is showing sings of weakness, I still don't know when I am leaving but at earliest it will be on the 14th of July, and with more than three weeks to go she is starting to let go a bit. It's a very hard situation for me to manage, I have so many things on my mind and the fact that I still don't know WHAT I will be doing in two months time doesn't help at all.
Let's hope that things will sort themselves out as easy as possible.
- Double Crossing
- [21-22 June 2006]
Technically speaking I have pulled one of the best theatrical act of my life, having to attend for two days at the presentation of the collection for the new line. The new company is not just eager to have me on board, they cannot wait. I already have a PC station, a mobile that works EVERYWHERE (even in Japan!!) and business cards, all before I even set foot into the premises.
This company is truly a good one, I am amazed at the way the set everything up. Of course it's bound to have a gazzillion problems, but that's another story...
The theatrical act is the fact that I was shaking hands, discussing commercial policies and strategies, commenting on this and that, talking to future agents and directors.... All of this with the strong prospect in the back of my mind that I might have to tell them that I AM NOT GOING because I might get the offer from the Japanese company!
It's a very hard situation to manage, mentally speaking, having my feet in two different shoes, and I am worrying that if the Japanese offer will be good I'll have to explain these people that I am not going, effectively letting them down on this story.
Letting down people that gave you unconditioned trust based on a piece of paper and a couple of talks is something that I really hate, maybe I am too good a person, I don't know, but still it's a very hard thing to do...
Of course if this Japanese offer comes along and it's right I'll have to do it, it's that train that I cannot let go once is there...
So in the end I was driving back during an extremely hot day, thinking that I am a bit of a double crossing bastard...
We'll see, today I'll muster a list of things that I must ask them, I will start the negotiation before we arrive there, it's important that we do that so that some tangible talks can start...
- Pugi Cena and Italy
[17th June 2006]
A little jump back in time... I was in Florence for the weekend, I couldn't stand to be in Vedano by myself for the second weekend in a raw (Marta was away as a matter of fact) so I joined my friends for a PUGI CENA.
Pugi is a famous bakery in Florence, they make the best "schiacciata" that you can find in the city, and we end up buying 4 kilograms of it (usually MORE than enough for 20 people), a lot of sliced ham and meat, lard and stuff like that, a wagon of EVIL spicy sauces and some vegetables just to pretend that it looks healthy (I forgot 20 different types of cheese)...
Then usually you create your own sandwich with the different ingredients, special prize to the most UN-healthy one.
We had also Italy match against the USA, the game was quite shite, Italy played rubbish and I think that I finished my voice screaming at the TV all the blasphemies and swearwords that I could muster.
Any foreigner present would have had 100% of his/her stereotypes confirmed on the spot!!
Anyways it was a good night despite the result, here are very few pictures....
- Easy, Peasy... Japaneasy
- [19th June 2006]
Today I took half day off, as I had to begin what it will probably be the "light motif" of the following month. The interviews and talks with the Japanese company that appears to be interested in employing me directly.
I had to go to Milan to see the head of the Italian subsidiary, for what I consider a typical Japanese interview... Basically this guy is in no position to offer me a job, but I had to meet him and introduce myself and see how the company is structured, let's say that it was more of a PR interview rather than an actual job one.
The whole meeting was held in Japanese, I am quite amazed that I managed to speak ALL the way through the interview in Japanese, I didn't think that I would have been up to this task. We discussed about several things and basically they told me that there was no space at the moment, as far as they are concerned.
Maybe in one year time there could be the possibility of getting a position, but not from Florence in any case...
Hardly a path that I feel like walking at the moment.
As you can understand my mood fell quickly under my feet, I wasn't expecting an actual job offer, but neither I was expecting a ead end scenario... Back home fortunately I got the mail from the person who is making this all possible, Yoshida san.
He's the one who proposed to his bosses my position and who convinced them to take a step further.
Basically he said that he's spoken to his boss and the president of his section and they are VERY much convinced about this plan. So now they have to go to the mother company and get this plan approved so that we can start working on HOW to give it a definite shape.
This have been quite a good mail to receive, as it means that the game is not over yet. More contacts will certainly continue in the near future, both by phone and mail, then of course I have the two days in Japan that I have allotted especially for them, in which my agent told me that I have to discuss my requests (money) and how to proceed (open an office in Florence?)... It might take some time, but there is a chance there to be taken and it could be the way out of textile sales into a new world as a buyer at home and a salesman in Japan...
Sounds interesting let's see how it develops!
- [16th June 2006]
I have spent the day talking to this guy who is going to join our company as a salesman for the European markets.
I realized that I am a great person to speak to new prospects, in barely four hours, when he got to know that I was leaving ('cause my boss told him), he told me several times that he was very sad to hear that I was getting out of the company as he thought I was a very good person to work with...
Oh well, that'll have to wait for another life I believe.
It was interesting to act as a second in command, my boss hardly said anything, I was doing all the talking, explaining this and that, commenting what was good and what is bad in the way we followed the markets that he'll have to do tomorrow.
When we were alone talking about the product I also did tell him who is dangerous and who is a good person to count on, what is the "trend" in this company, how do they work and what to they consider good and bad, plus a lot of other info.
I wish that someone would give me about my new job, but that unfortunately I will not have the luxury of being talked about the company by an experienced employee, but rather the owner who'll tell me how great things are.
I then moved to Florence with my little 106, she' still doing a good job, but there might be the chance that I'll have to change it because it is too old and doesn't have one of those "green gas" exhauster system. In Florence it seems that these cars have been banned, if I get nicked driving one of those they'll take it away (on the top of having to pay an hefty fine).
The ride was good and gave me a good chance to think about this prospected proposal from the Japanese corporation. I started forming a business plan in my head, thinking about all the people that I know that I might contact in the future, dreaming of being awarded "best employee" in front of a storm of people looking up at me while the mega-president of the corporation bows and shakes my hand, all broadcasted on national TV in Japan.
Wow, accident averted... I was day dreaming a bit here! :)
Well, there is nothing wrong about dreaming of course, the wrong part is that I don't have to start thinking too much about this possibility because if it all fails then I'll be disappointed beyond belief. I have sent my ideas to the Japanese contact, they will meet on Monday and something will certainly come out of that, we'll see... Then I have to convince my boss to leave me two more days in Japan to mind my own business possibly on the company's expenses... He called me when I was driving telling me that he REALLY REALLY appreciated all the things I have done with this newcomer, all the time that I gave him, etc etc .. That he's sorry to see me going that I have done a great thing for the company, blah blah blah ... So maybe I have a chance, I'll probably try an insolent gambit to ask him... I have nothing to loose in the end.
So at the moment I am not even mentioning this to my parents, the important thing is that I am going to be back in Florence and I have also to concentrate to find a house here...
- ....and then there were NONE!
- [15th June 2006]
I borrowed this quote from my favourite Aghata Christie's novel (ten Little Indians), but I need to paraphrase it a bit...
".... and then there were TOO MANY!!!"
Yep. In my experience, life tend to give you either too little or too much, there is hardly a way in the middle. I have been craving for a job offer in the past two years, finally something better than bread and butter lands on my table, and what happens?
Let's start the tale from yesterday, my agent calls me and tells me that he's going to write a very strong mail to my boss to avert my future exit from the company. It's all good for me, I think that it's ok to do something like that, after all he has to protect his business as well.
The mail was quite nice for me, it had a lot of good things said about me and the work that we did, and basically it hit square to the point that it wanted to strike... FEAR.
My boss is now scared at loosing me. After showing me the mail (which I had seen before anyways), I told him that maybe it would have been good to make a trip to Japan to do a bit of "PR" and try to smoothen the change as much as possible. He accepted (of course), but he kept telling me that he wanted to discuss me leaving again...
Then today my agent calls me and... SHOCKER!! One of our biggest clients clients (a HUGE well known corporation), said that if I leave they will loose all the business with their clients, so they immediately called the people at their offices here in Italy to try to work out something so that I can go back to Florence and work FOR THEM !!!
Shame that my current wage is too high for what they were thinking, so once again they insisted with my agent to tell my present company to give me the agency for the collections, on the top of which they will give me their mandate to control and arrange all their fabric business in Italy...
So now I have contacted this Japanese guy in Italy, the head of the Italian branch, to go and speak to him to see what he has to tell me...
OH BOY, what can I say?
I shall speak to my bosses soon, about the trip and about this agency idea, I am not sure that they will accept my points though, as if I go and work for my own company I will need some insurances that a normal employee normally has. Well, after all I am the person who has the upper hand in this negotiation, as they should try to keep me here rather than seeing me leave (if they want to keep me here is something that needs to be seen though)...
If my employer refuses then it leaves me little chances to work for the Japanese too, I might be able to ask the new employer to become an agent anyways, but it's going to be a bit of a problem I think...
Did I say I was scared one week ago?
Well imagine me now, considering to start my own business and to work for a Japanese mega-corporation too !!!
- A Letter to a Cherry Tree
- [13th June 2006]
To many people this post might look extremely odd. It has a meaning that maybe you can discover reading the comments of the previous entry. Sakura (Cherry Tree in Japanese) is infact my brand new assistant, well at least almost new assistant (already 4 months old!!).
This one is for her.
[Click here to read more...]
- The long way home - PART II -
- [12th June 2006]
And so it was. I managed to speak to my boss in the end and I have to say that things went better than expected. He completely understood my decision, and although he was terribly sad and upset about me leaving, the company will most certainly suffer from my absence, at least for the fist season, but the fact that the decision is mostly unrelated with the job side made things a lot easier.
The new company will not compete with my present employer, and I am leaving things in a splendid way, market shares and sales rising solidly and a summer season campaing finished with quite good prospects for the future possible productions.
If I had to choose a way to leave that is certainly the best position possible, now it will be up to them to make things right, but they are already on the right path.
I have told all my relatives and parents about me coming back, and I felt that they are happy, so this is already a positive thing. Now the hardest part will come, leaving this place and above all Marta. I will also have to leave formally my Japanese agent, who I said many times is a great friend before being a business partner. Also the colleagues are not going to be easy to leave. Manuela, Paola and Carla but above all Marianna, the new assistant who is a bright one but surely will not take me leaving easily, mostly because things kicked off in a very good way with her, and I am sorry that I will not be able to attend to her professional growth anymore, even if I am sure that she will be able to do well with the little that I have passed on to her.
Practical issues are also pending, we need to "close" the present house situation, Marta has to find a new place, and I have to do the same in Florence (without being there at least at the moment).
The burden anyways is off my shoulders, now I feel that I am ready to look at the future in a better way, it's certainly going to be exciting to start something new again, let's hope that it will be successful and positive as the five years up north have been.
My boss hinted to the fact that they want to make a counter-offer, but I cannot see them being able to put on the plate my return to Florence, the main reason of me leaving. We'll see, maybe I will be completely shocked by what they will do...
All in all a positive day, I have started walking the long way home and after the week that I left it's a good feeling.
- The long way home - PART I -
- [12th June 2006]
Today I woke up from the usual restless sleep, it is the grand day when I will tell my boss about my will to resign from this company. The plan was to tell him first thing in the morning, but as usually these plans are I didn't manage to put it in practice.
Mostly because I had to collect the registered mail that arrived from the other company with the famous official "letter of intention". This means that I had to be at the post office at 8,30 while usually by that time I am 20kms away in the office.
To add hurdles to a shakey situation, a client from Japan called me. I totally forgot about them, they were about to get on the train to go near my company and of course I had to pick them up... This meant a rush to the office, switch of car (using the company car for these menial tasks) and then off to the station (arrived late anyways) to pick them up.
The usual tour of the offices, the usual meeting and so on took more or less 2 hours so that we were already close to lunchtime, and my boss was busy with a huge client (Louis Vitton if you wanna know) and I managed only to tell him that I wanted to speak to him.
He replied in a joking way "It's not bad news are they?!", to which I couldn't reply but "Well, they are...". By doing so I hope that I am preparing him for the worse, he is already sweating about it (so my colleagues say, he's been asking around what it might be that I want to talk about, and that he's fearing for the "WORSE"), it's not nice but I need to get these stones off my back as soon as possible, tension is mounting too much and I need to direct my endeavors and mental powers to the imminent move and all the related practical and mental problems, not these mind wanks (in a way).
A funny note of the day needs to be mentioned. I was interviewed by the usual "head hunter", the scum and cancer of the work enviroment (normalized prospects is what they need, I met one or two real professional people in this industry all the rest are just paper shufflers), one week ago.
He called me to book the second appointment, this time with the client, i.e. the prospect employer.
I politely told him that he arrived too late, that I already decided to go for something else, at this point he started telling me that "you cannot cancel the appointment, you must go, even to show your face only, we have an agreement...".
I told him, still politely, that there wasn't any point in meeting, I was not interested in the position, so it would have been a waste of time only. He kept insisting telling me that "you have to do it as a personal favour to me, please come to the appointment, I need you to be there, do it for me, for the relationship between us"...
When confronted with the fact that we met only ONE WEEK BEFORE for fortyfive minutes his castles kind of crumbled a bit. Still he kept asking to the point of nausea, and I decided to go (as if seemed that he was dying)... He then called me half and hour later to tell me that the deal was off, to which I told him that maybe it was better that way.
Now.... HOW THE FUCK DO THESE PEOPLE EARN THEIR WAGES FOR GOD'S SAKE!?!?!??!?!?!? To say that I am appalled it's to use an euphemism. In any case better that way, but I cannot say no, even to strangers, I am too kind sometimes.
Anyway, back to waiting, tonight I'll have a burden off my chest, let's see the bright side of things.
- Karma before "D-day"
- [11th June 2006]
Maybe it's a little too much, I am sure that there will be more important days in my life, but tomorrow I will be resigning from my present company, a place where I worked for five years, that made me know a lot of interesting people and most importantly travel all around the world.
I feel strange tonight, mostly because I don't know how to convey the news to my boss. He's been the one who employed me, then he left to come back again, and I always feel a sort of moral debt towards him, after all he did picked me just on the sheer value of my CV as I didn't have any experience before.
I know that he will take it badly, that he will feel betrayed, and that it giving me a bit of pressure. I have spent the weekend hoping for Monday to come as soon as possible, it seems as if my life will be able to start only after tomorrow. It's a wierd feeling.
I didn't even tell my parents about it, I kind of hinted to the fact that I MIGHT go back to Florence, but until I am thorugh with the notice thing I don't feel as if I am about to start something new.
Still the whole idea of having to tell him makes me shiver a bit, probably because I know that I will hurt his feelings a lot, and in the end I am a nice person and I'd rather avoid to do something like that.
It's all about karma. If this thing happened 6 months ago, I would have probably gone at his face with my 56 teeth smile, telling something "I am leaving for good you fucko! Gnnaaaaaaaaaaa"... Now, after I ate so much shit to keep quiet and rebuild a good relationship, I don't know how to approach things.
Before I was totally unbalanced with the work environment (bad Karma), now I am at home again (neutral to good Karma), this is why I get the offer only now, so that I can eat my liver thinking that maybe the move might not be ideal anymore (under the work point of view). Life cannot have a better timing sometimes!
When in the past I had to make bold decisions I always went into the new enterprise (going to live in the UK or Japan, or coming up north to do a job that I didn't know anything about) completely not caring of the possible outcomes.
I mean, when I went to England my safety net was the fact that if everything went pear shaped at least "I will learn some English", or when I went to Japan "at least I can say I have been there once" even when I came up north, since the offer was so much better than what I had before I felt I had nothing to loose.
This time I feel a little different. As much discussed before in previous posts, a move to Florence is mostly for what we Economists call "Consumer Utility", i.e. that little something that makes it better to buy a certain service instead of another, but that cannot be accounted for, as it is a personal experience.
This is what is going to make the difference this time, but I cannot materialize it in front of me, so I am a bit more dubious and worried than before... Even this time if things go really bad... well at least I am at home, not much of a consolation but it's better than nothing I guess. Of course it's up to me to make it right.
I have willingly avoided any mention to Marta and the people that I will leave up here. It's a different story, like in the past, who managed to stay are the people that are really worth something to me, if something will fall behind it simply wasn't meant to be.
Last week was strange. I spent three days telling myself that accepting the offer was good. Then two days meaning to tell my boss but blatantly failing to make the first step.
In the meantime we have discussed with Marta our future until we got nauseated of doing it, and we started acting promptly to look for a new apartment and cancel the present one. I still have to start looking for mine in Prato or Florence, then pack and move everything... And then it will be JUST the beginning, I'll have to get down into this new thing, meeting new people, clients, products, problems and so on...
To use a euphemism, I am not at ease...
- BREAKING NEWS !!!
- BREAKING NEWS
[8th June 2006]
Can't keep it in anymore, I need to write about it, I have been ordealing since Monday afternoon and it's time for a bit of "outing".
In short, I am going to quite my job at the present company.
[Click here to read more...]
- (con)Fusion Cuisine
[6th June 2006]
Today the Antichrist is born, at least watching and listening to the news that in a very Christian country like Italy seem to have popped out a bit everywhere. Today is also the anniversary of the first year of this very Blog, so in a way I feel strictly related to this AntiChrist story and I will probably be murdered by the church secret service, or some Opus Dei fanatic.
The day went past quite quickly, there are a lot of things that I cannot write about at the moment, hopefully I will be able to break the news soon, but not now.
In the evening we set up a true effort of Fusion Cuisine. It all started 2 months ago when Cristina, a friend here from Vedano, complained that I never cooked a Japanese curry for her. Of course the trip to Asia served quite well to get all the necessary ingredients, so we decided to call a communal dinner today. Paola, Linda and Bogio, the two Alessandri (Alessandra and Alessandro), Cristina and Little Marta were the guests of choice of what become a true fusion experiment.
We started with a fennel, orange and lard salad, served on typical Japanese plates (rectangular shaped).
We then moved to other two starters, the celery with cheese, chestnuts and paprika and the little courgettes baskets with carrots and tomatoes. Some sliced salami was also served.
Then the main Japanese curry (with compulsory Japanese rice that I bought there!!), served in a Moroccan bowl.
To cap it all off a nice watermelon and typical italian gelato.
The dinner featured one of my finest wines, a bottle that I bought in France almost 1 year ago, a Chateou Prevost (Bordeaux) which proved marvellous for the task. Very mellow, not so strong like other Bordeaux, flowery and destructured, it spoused immensely well with the potatoes, celery and curry taste. The only bottle of the night went down in a second, so I used another classic, a Giordano from the north of Italy, Barbera. This one was a bit disappointing, too spicy, but that's what I had in hand!
Anyways a dinner with Japanese, African, Italian influences cannot be considered normal, it's (con)Fusion all over the way!
- HAPPY BIRTHDAY BLOGENZO!
[6th June 2006]
Today is exactly one year since I started this blog in 2005. I was in Hiroshima then, together with John, who I will thank forever since he allowed me to have my little site, a thing that I really wanted to have going.
The FIRST POST was quite boring but it marks a beginning of something.
After one year many posts have passed, most of them rants and complaints about life, others about my travels and the people I meet.
It's something that I like keeping, a bit like a diary, done with the secret idea that someone might actually like it or that in the future it will be turned into a book.
Future is future, at the moment there is only rejoicing for the blog is one year old, and although it doesn't speak yet it's on its feet already!
Thanks to all the readers, keep coming!
- Florence in June
[2nd - 4th June 2006]
The weather was crap, but me and Marta were quite resolute to travel around the center anyways. City is still quite marvellous, did a spot of shopping and nice eating around the center. In 3 days we never actually stopped at home to eat!
On Saturday we had a very nice birthday party for Gianfranco, now 32, at a quite unknown pizza place that was darn cheap and quite marvellous (they make Napolitan style pizza, they type that I love the most).
The evening saw an attempt to move to a crowded pub in the vicinity, but it was sooooo increadibly crowded that we opted for a quieter place next door called "THE COCKNEY".
This has to be the WORST pub I have ever been into, the crappy lighted room was painted with this puke-like colours, the fake "olde Blighty" furniture looked even more fake than a two dollars bill, and the beer was so shit that two of us had quite a lot of problems the morning after.
It was kind of (un)cool to enter the deserted pub, asking for a stout. The two owners replied almost together that they had none (despite having a gazzillion taps there), they told us that they had "blonde beer". One of us asked for a german malt beer (on the account of it beign "blonde"), but they owners wouldn't have none of it and told us that they HAD BLOND BEER only...(read blonde = larger)... Much choice there huh! Wonder why the pub was so crowded!
On Sunday the usual meeting with my parents to discuss about million things inheritance related, it's quite boring that every time I have to enter a lot of discussions and arguments about things that I have no power to control anyways. Oh well...
My father also decided to split up with his partner. This is a bit more serious and worrying in a way, because he will now need to find a house by himself and live there alone. Let's hope that things work out in a good way and he can get along with the rest of his life happy and tranquil, with women he hasn't been very lucky indeed...
- Pension Scheme
[1st June 2006]
Nothing much to report today, I have been gearing up to go back to Florence at the weekend. In the afternoon I moved to the main factory together with Marianna, the new assistant, to have a detailed view of the factory and a bit of explanation of what we do and how things are passed on.
As ma matter of fact I have become an official "tutor", mostly due to this strange contract that they made to Marianna that basically involve a tutor figure in her apprentice path (that will last 5 years).
During our visit in the main factory we stopped in the old canteen where Giorgio Mondelli (guy in the picture) was having his final retirement party!
YES, after many years of work he managed to get his pension and retire from this nutcases company. I am happy for him, he worked all his life, he's also got an incredible culture, often quoting latin and explaining ethymology of many words and italian sayings...
I cannot avoid but thinking about the fact that I will probably never see my pension in the future, although I am happy to have still quite a lot of time ahead of me.
- Lox, Lorenzo... ME!!
- A little introduction about the author and the blog itself. Plus contacts and CVs... You never know!
- A Selection of the best pictures that I have taken all over the world during the years, all nicely indexed by year and geographical area. Jolly good!
- History of this Blog
- A collection of all the articles that I have wrote so far, divided by month/year.
I have had the bad idea of writing my e-mail address on the board before, so this time I'll try to prevent some spam to get to me by putting this little image.. Let's hope it does the trick!
A reminder to Myself
Left and right
Like day and night
That's what makes the world go round
In and out
Thin and stout
That's what makes the world go round
For every up there is a down
For every square there is a round
For every high there is a low
For every to there is a fro
To and fro
Stop and go
That's what makes the world go round
You must set your sights upon the heights
Don't be a mediocrity
Don't just wait and trust to fate
And say, that's how it's meant to be
It's up to you how far you go
If you don't try you'll never know
And so my lad as I've explained
Nothing ventured, nothing gained
You see my boy it's nature's way
Upon the weak the strong ones prey
The human life it's also true
The strong will try to conquer you
That is what you must expect
Unless you use your intellect
Brains and brawn, weak and strong
That's what makes the world go round