Saturday, October 31, 2009

Getting Acquainted Under the Company Umbrella ;)

Monday, 5 October 2009
Hiratsuka Dorm and Factory

Our trainer, M-san who is also co-incidentally the person in charge of us showed us the dorm cafeteria and informed us about breakfast and dinner, which we will be having there throughout our stay. I opted for the bread for breakfast with the side dishes that comes along with every Japanese meal. Realised with horror that even among this bunch, I am indeed the slowest eater. Why do people have to eat so quickly? Doesn’t that take the joy out of eating???

The work place/training centre is about a 7 minute walk away. Anyway, training proceeded after we took our uniforms. Thank goodness the M size fitted me well, although I found the pants a wee bit short when I sit. I could see that space between where my socks end and the pants begin. Hehehe…  A question that remains unanswered is why do they not make women’s pants straight cut? Why does it have to be that horrible A cut which gives the impression of skinny ankles? Is there a conspiracy to save cloth that I don’t know about?

The training was pretty alright. Had a bit of a surprise finding out that the training materials are top secret confidential stuff and will be couriered to our respective Japanese correspondents in our own countries after the training… so I believe that we will have a lot of writing to do on our own. I’m glad I brought ** half a test pad! Turns out that PY (one of the trainees from the Thailand factory) is a super PE. The amount of knowledge he has surpasses the knowledge the rest of us have put together, but then again, he’s 44 and has perhaps been working for the past 20 years or so. Thailand apparently has their own PE group.

So much for the sunny weather we had the day before. Rain greeted us as we left our training building at 5:00 pm. With umbrellas borrowed from the company, we trudged back to the dorm. CK, JC and I agreed to meet up at 6:30 pm for dinner, which we had and then headed out in the rain with our umbrellas and jackets to the convenience store to stock up on water, especially.
**Light packing to the core

Tuesday, 6 October 2009
It rains again, the slow, rain all through the day kind of rain. Training was like how trainings are, although it has turned hardcore to the max. I feel like I’m doing my third year chemical engineering subjects all over again, only this time I know what I’m doing. Had an epiphany about what I could possibly opt to do in the future regarding my postgrad, but it means that I will be stuck in this field forever, and will therefore have to remain with short nails, ugly, unfashionable pants and safety boots until at least the age of 55.

We decided to brave the rain after dinner today. Once again it was CK, JC and me. The others seem to not like the idea of walking around in the rain looking for spots to hang out as much as we do. It must be a Malaysian thing… They, on the other hand were planning to do reports about the training to submit to their companies upon their return. The guy from Singapore wanted to ‘discuss’ the day’s lessons, much to my horror. Along the journey we encountered a few non-Japanese (another group of people who probably work there) who rode bicycles. One of them (a man) kept saying ‘bye’ to CK for some strange reason, especially since we encountered them at least twice while walking as they seemed headed to the same destination.
The rain hindered venturing further as it was a bit cold and although only kind of drizzly unlike the downpours in Malaysia, the rain had the tendency to hit your face from under the umbrella.

Anyway, after loitering around in the cold, drizzly streets of Hiratsuka, we went back, and decided that we might as well do our reports seeing that it will make life when we get back easier (It’s anybody’s guess the amount of work that could be waiting for us when we get back)

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Rain and more rain. Training and more training. Will this never end, I wonder (I meant the rain – I find the training rather interesting and feel that it will indeed make doing my job better, if I’m given the chance to do certain things) … the company umbrellas have semi-officially become ours. I carry umbrella #13. It took me awhile to recollect that the food helpings here are just too big. They serve noodles and rice in one meal. From half a bowl of rice (I’m glad that I at least remember the word ‘sukoshi’ which means little), I have reduced it to about 2/5th of a bowl. Still can’t finish it though. Anyway, we heard some news of a typhoon coming over to hit downtown Tokyo. I wonder if we will be affected. To avoid being stuck in and hungry, we ventured out in the rain and incredibly strong winds to get some supplies, because no one seemed to know how serious it could be. Nothing’s worse than being stuck in your room without food! We walked and walked with our umbrellas which threatened to make us into modern day Mary Poppins, although I doubt anyone would trust any of us with their kids. Well, they could trust CK though, seeing that he is actually the father of a 6 month old baby.

I didn’t expect to find a kindred spirit in Japan, but I have… the funniest thing is she actually works in the company next door in M’sia, and neither of us would have spoken to each other if we hadn’t been thrown together for this training in Japan!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Journey Begins

If we are meant to learn our lessons from history, it is without question that after every journey I take, be it a holiday or a work related item, my muse stays behind to enjoy itself while I wonder why ideas don't stay with me long enough to transform them into readable posts. I suppose then it was a good idea on my part to become a temporary electronic diarist while I was there so that I could relate the things I saw and did - live.

Sunday, 4 Oct 2009
From Narita Airport to Hiratsuka, Japan

The touchdown was smooth, and despite the lack of sleep for two days running, I was still pretty upbeat. CK and I hung around the big A waiting area as we were requested to do, wondering where the hell the others were when we saw the other Malaysian from our sister company. We wanted to check out the airport while waiting for the Singaporean and the Indonesian, which we did while the girl from our sister company (who will after this be referred to as JC) offered to keep an eye on our luggage.

A few hours later and there is still no sign of the others who were supposed to be there. We were wondering where they were (rather worriedly) when the person who was supposed to meet us at the airport arrived and told us to go to the other end of the airport. After what seemed like forever, we were all gathered only to find out that the bus to take us to our dorm would only be available about 11:30 am. Some of us were there since 7 am. We finally arrived at the dorm after the long bus ride, heavy bags and all at about 2:30 pm, starving.

Anyway, the room is awesome, and thankfully I have a bathroom all to myself. I shudder at the thought of the *communal bathroom we had to use two years ago, where you had to keep an eye and a ear open for the sounds of someone walking in on you!

We were then gathered and walked together to where the convenience store was, a small place called K Mart where the starving ones bought sandwiches… it was about 3:30 pm then, and we were told to meet again for dinner at about 5:30.

The dinner was pretty good, a Japanese sit down dinner on the tatami, but we could dangle our legs down because they made it in such a way. Naturally I had forgotten what we ate, except for Kimchi, which is not even Japanese (It’s Korean), and some seaweed appetizer which was sour and can supposedly keep you in good health. That was pretty awesome, actually. The rest were the typical Japanese fare of sashimi, yakitori, and like I said, some stuff I can’t remember the names of.

After dinner some of us (unfortunately it was only us Malaysians as we hadn’t been able to fully break the ice with the rest as yet) hung out for a bit in my room, watching one of the not so new James Bond movies in Japanese. It was surreal seeing Pierce Brosnan all fluent in Japanese and all that. But we were nodding off in that half hour or so and the others proceeded to head over to their own rooms to finally catch up on our zzzz’s.

*I am truly opposed to this concept. The bathroom and the activities performed in there are supposed to private (or perhaps shared with one other person if so desired), for goodness sake!

Edit: I know I promised pictures, but the blogger picture uploader is being a major pain in the ass...