- Storms bring rain..... Are you Surprised?!
- [Wednesday 25th July]
It didn`t quite go as planned... The famous meeting with the big cheese of my actual contractor turned out in the usual quarter sized victory, i.e. a three quarter loss...
To make long things short, in the morning my colleague Tsunemi san told me that it would have been netter to approach the meeting in Japanese, as the boss doesn`t know English all that well. For a starter it was a rather bad one, but I agreed to try my hardest.
The three points that I put forward have been:
1. Pay 20% under what we agreed
2. Problems with the work that I am doing (or rather NOT doing)
3. Internal communication and attitude issues for certain people (actually only 1 person)
Well I managed to get:
1. Write a report before end of September, then we will take into consideration adjusting NEXT contract which will expire in March 2008.
2. I have worked too little with them to do what I want to do, and anyways there is little that he can do because everything is managed by the team director.
3. He`s very aware of that, actually I am not the only victim by the looks of it, but I have to drink the bitter chalice and keep going if I want to stay.
He also added that they are not going to fire me, that they were not expecting results from me in the beginning.
I have given myself some days to ponder the next step because given the answer I gathered really little from this talk.
But then again, what was I expecting?!
- Too quiet before the Storm
- [Wednesday 25th July]
Day completely wasted in the office doing absolutely nothing all day, waiting to go to dinner with the general director and my colleague Tsunemi san to talk about the problems that we have at work.
Far too quiet, far too boring, sometimes I ask myself what the hell am I doing here in Japan...
The strange thing is that it seems that my employers do not ask themselves the same question.
- Kutsunugi san
- [Tuesday 24th July]
In the afternoon (see previous post) things did improve and I managed to help a colleague make some colour photocopies (better than sitting doing absolutely nothing...), then we had a review of the things that we are going to show at the next fair, beginning of next week.
After that it was time to go and meet Kutsunugi san, we are still in touch of course, even if we don`t see each other a lot like before.
We were meant to go to the usual sushi place, but it was full so we went instead to the kushiaghe (fried things on a stick) place in Shinjuku, our favourite restaurant for that kind of food. Must be also noted the fact that they serve the best ume-sawa that I have ever had.
Of course the meal was great, we had a chance to talk about several things, work, life, prospects for the future and so on.
It was nice to see him again, it makes me think how much I miss working with them (Kutsunugi san and his wife Keiko san).
Eating at that place, that was our "last meal" together when I was working in Ratti made me feel really nostalgic, it feels ages ago since I left the company, but it is actually one exact year, more or less. Inevitably the trip back home (a.k.a. cubicle) was spent thinking about the last year and what it has brought me.
Fortunately the train ride was not long, it is not time to make reviews I am afraid, I am still in the thick and thin of many changes...
- [Tuesday 24th July]
At the time of writing it`s a glorious day in Japan, sun is shining and the rainy season seems to have left to let summer come in.
It`s now approaching midday and I have been idle all morning, hardly something that I like, but it seems that the fact that I am not "close" to my colleagues makes me a sort of even more outsider than what I used to be.
I think that if I leave nobody will notice, apart from the nice ladies next to me that are curious about me and my "gaijinness".
It makes me remember how much I like Japan, as you do feel out of things, but you are also looked at in a different way, and that makes you feel special, which of course it`s a good feeling.
Anyways, yesterday I went home relatively early because I had to stop by at the office in Ebisu to sign some papers and then it was time for some Ramen and go back to the room.
WOW, right as I am typing we are having a minor earthquake, nothing serious by the looks of it, but considering that we are on the 8th floor of a rather tall building it`s not exactly what I call a "reassuring" experience.
I hope that the situation improves in the afternoon...
- The Week ahead
- [Monday 23rd July]
Now writing from the office, the seat that they gave me is quite cool because it`s right at a corner of the huge room where 70 people are crammed. This means that I get to see everyone but nobody is overlooking my shoulders, which is something that I hate.
The other positive thing is that my colleagues cannot talk to me unless they come here (the other side of the room), so it means that my boss cannot put me to those nice menial tasks that he makes up for me (like make these photocopies, write this shipping tag, look at this blank paper), so I am free to do my own things (I need to update some excel lists and start making the invoices that I usually send them to get paid...).
Either than that office work in Japan is close to nothingness, so I just bum around the net.
The week ahead it`s going to be tough.
First and foremost, the meeting over dinner next Wednesday to talk about my contract and the problems that I have with this job. The outcome could mean big changes in my life, at least for the work part.
I am resolute to have things going my way, otherwise I am on the lookout for a new job.
Then my colleague and great guy E.san has already told me that he`s organizing dinners out with several people, which means lots of alcohol and late hours.
I managed to avoid them last week on the account that I was tired and jetlagged , this week there is no way to do that I am afraid.
It is not that bad, of course I love being together with other people having a laugh and drinking, it`s just that sometimes we tend to overdo it and I am not as good as him at keeping the hangover at bay the day after, having to work...
On the job side we will have to start arranging the presentation that we will have next week, this time I hope we do not have to come on Saturday to do it...
It`s better this way, because being bored here is quite bad as you can imagine!
- Weekend in Tokyo
- [21st-22nd July]
After a rather heavy end of the week, as detailed in the previous post, I had a whole weekend to recover and try to get the jet lag tamed.
In Japan is now sales season and the exchange rate is quite favourable for us Europeans, so I decided to devote myself to some shopping.
Although the weather is quite crap because of the monsoons, I decided to to get deterred by it and moved to Shinjuku to go to Bic Camera, my favourite technology shop in Japan (of which I am also a proud possessor of their point card!).
Targets are a self powered USB hub, an external Hard Drive (self powered, at least 300gb), some gizmo that they sell here to wrap the ipod earphones around so that they are all neat and cool, a replacement for the Ipod car-FM transmitter that was stolen together with my car and other things nice that in this country never fail to amaze me.
I then decided that I needed a new pair of trainers, they are much cheaper here, not sure why is that, a new pair of 5 a side footy shoes, new shin-pads, and if something really jumped off the shelf to catch me that too...
When shopping for technology I always first "survey" the potential acquisitions. Then I move at a later stage to make the kill. This time it has been the same also because I haven`t got much cash with me I need to exchange some more during the week.
In the end I bought the earphones thingy, the footy shoes, the shin-pads, the t-shirts and a Polo sweater. The big techy goodies and the shoes will wait till next week.
All in all it was a busy Saturday going around Shinjuku, Shibuya and Harajuku.
On Sunday same story, but on a shorter time span, I went to see some shops, played some coin-op games (although the new gen games are impossible for me to play because they require trading cards and a command of the language that I do not have, but I have to say that I`d kill to be able to play them because they look really nice!), then back home to speak to Chiara over skype.
In the evening a Yakiniku (grilled pork which you cook yourself), which turned out expensive and rather unsatisfactory, and then off to bed, fortunately it seems that I am managing to deal with jetlag better than last time! Let`s hope it keeps this way!
- [19th-20th July]
Tenjikai means "exhibition" in Japanese, it's one of the words that you get to know quickly if you work with Japan in the fashion industry.
These last two days have been quite heavy, under the physical and mental point of view.
Physically because we had to stand all day long, with little chance to sit, from 9 AM till 6 PM; mentally because of course we were showing a collection that I never seen before (it was selected by my colleagues prior to my arrival) so I had really little to say to the clients about it.
On the physical and mental stress also my best friend "jet lag" came into the picture, making things a lot harder.
In any case the first hurdle (the exhibition) has been brilliantly overcome, I actually quite enjoyed having finally something to do, seeing a lot of clients and different people.
Now the weekend awaits, at the time of writing I am really struggling to keep my eyes opened, but I must not sleep until at least midnight, otherwise I'll never stabilize the jet lag...
- The good Face
- [Wednesday 18th July]
Putting a good face in front of adversity, showing that all in all things could be worse and that there is always a solution to problems.
A good face is also needed when you are relating yourself with others, because politics have taken the upper hand over instinct and telling this or that person what you really want is not exactly the right thing to do.
Today I am showing one of the best "good faces" ever.
Let's go back to when I was younger, much more headstrong, stubborn, sure about the targets in life and the "right" way to reach them. No compromises.
Now I have learnt, mostly on my skin, that the art of compromise is something that needs to be learnt fast and furiously, in order to manage to cross the river of life without too many injuries.
Well, I am still far too much proud for my own good, but let's say that I got a little bit better.
Going back to today, the good face is there in place. I got to the office this morning to find out that the place that I usually have has been give to someone else.
Not that I am upset about the place itself, it's the fact that I have been allotted a space around 30 meters from the actual place where the rest of my team seats.
So far so good, I have little to tell them anyways, but still one major issue remains: the internet connection.
As a matter of fact it seems impossible for them to give me a bleeding account on the company lan, so I have been connecting with a dial up all this time.
The dial up connection is not available in the new place, so basically I need to work in a place, but move my computer all the time I need to surf or download/send mail.
Interesting the fact that the dial up position is located near the area where the rest of my team is.
So my question is: "Why don't I just sit where the dial up is?"... I'll try to give an answer to that question in the future.
I also forgot my adapter for the Japanese plugs, meaning that my Mac has only a couple of hours of battery left, but fortunately I managed to scavenge a piece of a power cable that just fit the power unit of the Mac so now I can use my mobile freely.
Yes the fact that they made me come but I have ABSOLUTELY nothing to do is another thing that gets me. I'll try to hint to the fact that maybe it's better if I stay in the hotel if I need to be completely unemployed.
The afternoon will see us going to the exhibition place that we will attend from tomorrow. A two days meeting that I really do not look forward to, especially under the heavy jet lag that I seem to have all the time I come here.
Hence a good face, really trying hard to think about the things that make me happy, there are many positive sides of coming here so I need to focus on those, because if I look around I am not going to make it through the 14 days that still separate me from going back to Italy.
In the afternoon I had to endure a massive meeting with all the people that will be part at the show tomorrow and Friday, a big presentation thing, that has been completely useless, overorganized, boring and more than everything LONG. Then after that a sort of "informal" but yet very formal dinner, where more microphone presentations occurred, but there I managed to escape quite early and I am now home for a needed rest.
Good point of the end of the day is the fact that my Mac managed to find an unprotected wi-fi network that I am now using to download massive amounts of data! :D
- Japan here I come
- [16th - 17th July]
So here I am again after spending a marvellous Sunday with Chiara, roaming around shops and malls for the sales, hence refurbishing my wardrobe and depleting my pocket money. The weekend prior to the trip has been quite good, on Saturday I went out with Gianfranco and in the evening we went to see the new Harry Potter movie (quite disappointing, but I read all the books so I wanted to see it), and Sunday I had all day with Chiara, as it didn't happen in a long time.
Off to a good start.
The trip itself was something of a black pearl, I used my last free upgrade tickets so I was flying Business instead of the usual economy, this was a good change compared to the late trips that I have done.
Shockingly I even managed to throw in more than the usual 1 hour sleep, I think that for the first time in my life I managed to doze off for at least 3/4 hours on a plane!
This was also helped by the fact that the movie selection was bordering total crapness.. Oh well..
Japan is in the middle of "Tsuyu", or the rainy season, quite hot and wet as you can imagine, and as a matter of fact I didn't have the usual sun to welcome my coming this time, but a rather annoying drizzle.
First day in Japan was rather standard, I tend to do very routin-esque actions.
I eat Tokatsu at lunch and MacDonalds in the evening (yes I know it's shite but it's easy and quick so for the first day it can do the trick).
The guy at the reception told me that he gave me the room that I had last time, they all look the same unfortunately so there is no way to tell, but I am pretty sure I have never been in this one! :D
Shopping for snacks at the local supermarket it's also another routine that I managed to complete successfully.
My coming to Japan was not an uneventful one though. First of all it is raining, as I said before, but most scaringly a massive earthquake apparently damamged the biggest atomic power plant in the world (near Niigata), which now has been shut down. Mmmmmm if I have to "read" signs, this cannot be a good omen.
Workwise my dear boss saw fit to send me a mail while I was flying asking that I get some answers from Italian suppliers tomorrow morning (when I will get to the office), it's bordering stupidity this attitude, I am not supposed to work the day I land, but of course this doesn't seem to be of concern. I just hope that I can leave these people soon, the wheel MUST start spinning a bit towards me after all the recent events and the crap year that I have spent workwise...
Ok time to go to bed now, tomorrow I am awaited at the office, a mail from a colleague told me that my seat has been moved and that the new place is a bit "strange", if it took a mail to tell me so it means that it must be VERY shit...
- [Sunday 8th July]
Generally speaking the Sunday would have been quite uneventful if Giulia did not decide to finally come out of Angela's belly to start her brand new life.
Angela and Ivan are part of the the group of friends that, member more member less, always meets during weekends or special occasions such as weddings, parties, new year's ans stuff like that.
Ivan and Angela are the first couple among us who got married and who is now nt a couple anymore, but rather a family with a child.
Some of us received the mandatory sms early in the morning, others, like me, got it a bit later on, but all of us were already aware of Giula being born and we organized quickly the "raid party" to go and see her.
Ivan was extremely happy, full of energy even though they did not sleep at night and the actual birth was not easy peasy as it is written in the books. You can tell that he really wanted the baby.
Angela was rather happy but very much tired and still in pain, of course you can see her face lighting up a lot when she talks about the baby and she obviously could not wait to get out of the hospital and take the new member of the family home!
Giulia herself is rather nice, although newborn babies are seldom "nasty" or "ugly", it will be nice to "meet" her properly when she will be back home (although I will not see her because I will be in Japan)...
Nothing more to say. I still cannot get that "father instinct" when seeing small babies and kids, I think that maybe it's not my time yet, I dunno...
But I am happy for Ivan and Angela and I wish them all the best, today that's what it counts.
- Life by Night
- [2nd - 6th July]
I am sure that everyone stumbled upon one of those postcards depicting this and than place "by night", usually perceived as the best time during the day because it's linked to activities that involve either sex interaction and alcohol.
Of course this or that city with all the lights on are also quite pretty.
Well my week has been a night based one mostly.
As a matter of fact the daytime is now back to the old "nothing at all to do" routine, I am sure that most people would not complain about it, how many people dream of taking time off their busy schedules to do nothing at all? Probably many.
Well, after such a long time (it started September 2006) of long periods of inactivity I can say that I'd gladly do without all this time at hand.
Anyways night time helps me out because it's easier to sort out appointments with friends, girlfriends, football matches and so on.
In a way it's like if I led a life only by night, the day it's a bliss of boringness and heat. As for the latest news:
The car situation is now in the hands of a lawyer, but apparently I'll be lucky if I get the full sum of the "used" car value (the car was 7 months old). The full amount it' impossible, it seems.
We could sue the garage for negligence, but these legal proceedings tend to take 5 to 10 years in Italy...
The dog is also in the hand of the lawyer, let's hope to have something coming from that too...
Job wise the situation is dreary, I am now looking actively for a new job, let's hope I can find it. The pending trip to Japan is like having to go through surgery without anaesthetics, but it has to be done. Also I must try to understand what do I have to do in case I quite the contract. Thanks to that source of stress sleeping at night is becoming quite hard...
I managed to win a five a side football tournament yesterday (Thursday), quite a nice thing, we won a special voucher to go to a pizzeria to have a dinner together!
Now the weekend looms ahead, I hope to have some time to spend with Chiara though it seems that it's more of her schedule than mine that needs some serious adjusting... Oh well...
- Busy Saturday
- [Saturday 30th June]
Today I was rather busy, it seems quite strange because I feel that I am quite free during the week and then at weekends I get a bit busier. To be honest I have nothing to complaint about it because if I was to be free at weekends too I'd probably shoot myself.
Anyways the first bit of business was going to see Paola's wedding in Florence. When I was a kid, our family and Paola's family used to have summer holidays together, we went to several places including Yugoslavia (prior to the war), Greece, Corsica, France and many other countries.
We always got along very well and me, my sister, her plus a series of other kids used to play a lot and most importantly did not get tangled in our respective parents feet. They seemed to appreciate this a lot!
Anyways after many years that we did not see each other I got the news from my dad that she had a baby and was getting married and of course we were invited. I had to decline the invitation for lunch because of the other appointment of the day (later), but I managed to go at the ceremony, which was surprisingly quick (an aspect that I absolutely loved). It was good not to be the best man or whatever other role I have had in the recent weddings that I have been to, it gave me freedom of doing what I wanted, take all the pictures that I wanted and so on... Good stuff, of course best of luck to them and their family!
In the afternoon it was time to set off for the annual edition of "PIGS ON THE HILL".Pigs has been invented by Luca, he has a nice house in the countryside near Pistoia, in a place called Collina (which means "HILL"), and every year all the friends meet there to have a massive barbecue of strictly pork related material (hence the "PIGS").
I never managed to go because I was always busy with business trips around the globe, but this time I was there and I managed to take part at the eat-fest.
Nothing special to report apart from a lot of food being ingested, and wine and other things nice...
Definitely a party that I will not miss again (I hope!)...
- 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