Monday, November 02, 2009

The First Week is the Longest

Thursday, 8 October 2009
The Typhoon

I was awoken at 5 am by a loud sound, but refused to get up until after 6. The sun rises early here, and you tend to wake up with it regardless if your curtains are drawn or not. Looking out of the window, I could see the effect of the ‘tempias’ (can’t find the perfect translation for this in English, sorry) of the typhoon that hit Tokyo. The wind was so strong that you could see trees swaying like crazy. There’s a motorbike parked right beneath my window, and the sheet that supposedly protects it was blowing with the strong winds and looked as though it was about to fly. The walk to the training place was challenging compared to the other days as the wind threatened to blow us away. Surprisingly by noon, the sky was clear once again and we saw the sun. According to our trainer/translator, the sun comes out when the typhoon ends.

Later that evening, we headed out to town. ***We took the bus to the train station, which is like the most happening place there. We tried some shopping. JC needed a coat, I just wanted to look around and so we split into several groups and headed our own way until we met again at 9 pm. The saddest part is that everything closes by 8 pm and it gets dead boring. I kind of like the walkways in Japan, though. The streets have some interesting signage at certain areas.

Did laundry tonight. I love the warmth of the clothes after it comes out of the dryer!

*** This time we went out in a group, all 7 of us. JC and I have this feeling that the Singaporean dude somehow does not like us at all. I think I’ll call him Kenny. This is because, on Wednesday, when CK, JC and I went out, we called Kenny along as well after finding out that he was actually a Malaysian working in Singapore, but he declined. Turns out he likes hanging out with CK (he apparently went over to CK’s room to call him out for a walk on Tuesday night) and not JC and I. Maybe we talk too much – at least to each other. Conspiracy and orientation theories aside, it’s Kenny’s loss.

Friday, 9 October 2009
We live for weekends.

Training continued as usual today, a bit of classroom session and a bit of a lab session. They have very high tech equipment here, especially for testing and the process engineers actually have their own department with their own mini machines (one looks like those old fashioned urns people use for storing dead relatives ashes, hehehe) , a few labs and a pilot plant. It looks like a great place to work in. It would be lovely if we could expand the PE team in my workplace, get a couple of machines and have our own lab instead of having that one pathetic bench in the QA lab.

The guys from Thailand wanted to check out the *100 yen shop, and the trainers said that it was near our place. Just walk for 30 minutes and you can see it. So, we decided to go and check it out. The group from 7 reduced to just 3 of us (CK, JC and me) as one by one of the others backed out. The worst was when Chu refused to go stating that ‘no one else’ was going. Then who are we? Ghosts??? Anyway, we walked and walked, at top speed. One awesome thing about Japan is that you can walk and walk and not feel tired because the weather is such. Alas! We did not find the 100 yen shop and backtracked. I took the walking as some form of exercise, hehehe.

Walking back, we decided to stop by at one posh looking restaurant that was at the side of the street. This one had the proper tatami concept, where you’d sit on a cushion on the floor. The food was lovely compared to what we usually have at the **cafeteria. I took a noodle dish (Udon, if I’m not mistaken) with some tempura and tamago toji (egg with a meat and vegetable base that has custardlike consistency)

*The 100 yen shop is the Japanese concept where everything in the shop is sold at 100 yen, (actually it’s now 105 yen for some reason that I haven’t found out yet) which can be quite good if you’re sort of looking for something cheap. My beloved scientific calculator refuses to work here, so I bought a 100 yen basic calculator in a different shop of the same concept (about RM4 or USD 1.x)

**The cafeteria food thing was planned by our respective companies, and they’re the basic fare of rice, miso soup, a main dish (in our case mostly fish or chicken because I don’t take beef and the Indonesian guy doesn’t take pork), and a side dish and Japanese green tea. Like any other institutionalized food, you get bored after some time. For me, it was 4 days. The cafeteria at the workplace serves similar dishes as well, but you have a choice from 4 menus, and they serve everything there. I don’t usually take much meat, maybe twice a week or so, but over here, I’ve been having some sort of meat (or fish) almost every day, and a bit too much pork. I’m worried about my belly.

From the top: The little boxes where we can place our shoes safely while enjoying a meal, the meal I ordered, Udon, the fish that remained after it was sliced ever so delicately for the sashimi - the dish my colleague ordered.


  1. I love 100 yen shops, though there are only a small amount of stuff that actually costs 100 yen. I once bought very good socks from one of those shops.

  2. Why does Japan sound so boring? Or was it because u were on training !

  3. 100 yen shop??? What's the exchange rate like by the way?

  4. You know, if I went to Japan, I would probably miss my banana leaf rice ... hehehe ...

  5. Officially adding Japan to my list (outside of typhooooon season.

  6. Still sounds liek a very interesting trip to me.

  7. Glad you made it through the typhoon and the training!

  8. Steph: They have good socks, but the beanies are dead ugly. But it's nice to browse around...

    Rakesh: I wouldn't say it's boring... I'm only documenting what I experienced and saw. I could mention the Yakuza, or ninjas, and perhaps their mythical creatures, alas, I didn't see any.

    Sabrina: When I changed my $$$ it was RM 39.4 for every 1000 yen.

    Nick: Yeah, you would... I missed sambal ikan bilis big time.

    Orhan: Awesome... just remember to bring your own chilli ;)

    SAW: Thank you :)

    Travis: Thank you too :)


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