Monday, December 22, 2008

brim full of changes as the year gets over..

My last day at work for 2008 today!! I’m leaving for the US tomorrow afternoon.
It was a crazy decision to make, and its going to be a WILD trip with a reunion of school friends after almost 6yrs~ I am excited, yet a lil tipsy abt how the next year will be when I come back in Jan 09!!

Thinking over all that happened this year brings tons of mixed feelings.
A lot of crazy occurances took place, and (hopefully) theyve made me as strong as the change they brought with them. Working in a Japanese company, I spoke enough about it so I wouldn’t go over the topic in this entry again :P Having said that, out of the three major changes this year (including the former), my twin’s engagement stood second on the list, smth I am still trying to make peace with.

I am the most excited - after her - and extremely happy she is going to spend her life with such an amazing person. I have no doubt they will have an incredible life together. But having been with her continuously for 24yrs is inbuilt into my system since before I was born. Marriage brings one of the greatest changes in a person’s character, and relationships esp. between siblings become quite delicate. (I remember everyday I would change the topic or simply run away whenever we were alone at home, because I didn’t want her to tell me that she had made up her mind to get married, and thus, was ready to leave home.)

Smts I think one of the silliest reasons we live our life is to get really good at letting go and realizing the impermanent nature of everything around us. It brings a huge strength or it brings great fear - either of them lead to the same point - Life Changes. The bad moments go with a blink, and the good ones fly away even faster. Nothing lasts, yet we all remain.
Live and Love in 2009 with greater intensity than before. May the year bring amazing experiences, and may you work towards making all your dreams come true.

With all my love,
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

Thursday, December 04, 2008

To scare or not to scare, that is the question

About 2 weeks ago, my next door neighbor, Yon had a weird occurrence in her apartment. On reaching home returned home after work she found her laundry basket displaced about 2-3 feet from its original position of being next to the washing machine. She was certain that she hadn’t moved the object for the simple reason that Japanese apartments are space constraint and doing so would leave just about 10cms between the washbasin and the bathroom – impossible for her to stand in the middle.

Caution was the need of the hour, and we checked her house to make sure no one was in her closet, toilet, hiding under the mattress or in the bed. With all the windows and doors closed we found no evidence of someone had broken in, so we concluded that Yon must have forgotten to put the basket back in its place in the morning. As a matter of fact, most of us do our early morning chorus in a haze of sleepiness – routines like brushing ones teeth or going through laundry baskets to find a pair of semi-clean socks, isn’t something anyone pays attention to if you’re sleepy and cold.

Having said this and being certain that she was indeed too sleepy to remember the details we carried on with our dinner in our respective homes.
The next day we went to work and later that evening when we returned home, Yon gave a loud scream on entering her house. She had let the door ajar, so I ran into her room to find her standing in the center of the room pointing at the basket which had been displaced again!
For a second I thought that she might be playing a practical joke on me and had put the basket in the same position as the previous day. But the expression on her face was of anxiety and shock, and matched with mine.

We checked the inner tatami room (this time I had a pan in my hand and she had a huge roller) - whacked the quilt to see if anyone came out, checked the cupboards and bathroom again.
I realized my house was left open, so we went and locked it and quickly came back to Yon’s place. We sat and stared at the basket and called up our company’s HR department. In a jiff our supervisor came over.

We explained the happenings to her to which she gave us some very peculiar but believable explanations and told us what to do next.
(To be Continued…)

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

still searching

Life has changed much since the last time I posted an entry.
I am now living in a small town called Isehara in Kanagawa (a bit far away from Tokyo), working in a Japanese manufacturing company that makes huge machines for famous manufacturing companies in the country.

Knowing about machines, like rolls, mills, their motors and working pipes and wires or even working in a factory sounds just about manageable on a temporary basis. It’s weird that unlike most others who finished university with me, I am yet to find something that I REALLY want to continue as a career. And the work I do now is definitely ‘not’ something I was expecting to do after APU, let alone it being the job I am going to do for the rest of my life.

So the question is – how is it that I find MY ultimate & perfect work (if there is smth such as that)?
Should I look into a Graduate school, or find myself an art course/job - which is one of the things I ‘think’ I can do well. But mostly I want to know how long is it going to take me to get out of my current workplace to find that something I'd love doing?

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

rust, rain and refrain

Working in a Japanese factory can be more life altering than working in a Japanese firm.

While most of my friends in Japan sit in front of computers, mixing and matching documents or conduct surveys for the next business deal, I sit in a factory with bunch of workers who are trying hard to teach me about heat, pressure and atoms in Japanese. It only brought back memories of studying Physics, and made me realize that Im still good at making perplexed expressions when I dont comprehend what the other person is saying.

Anyhow, with the rainy season coming to an end the smell of wet leaves refreshes my days in the factory, but some of those who joined with me seem to be going insane. The smell chemicals and weird liquids is becoming an integral part of our lives. What gave us headaches and nausea earlier has now started giving us the same if not inhaled once a day. Bruises and cuts tattoo our exteriors and some of my friends have altered so much that they are able to identify whether the water they’re drinking comes from a boring-line or tank – depending on the odor of rust or pipes!!

Nevertheless, out of 4 of us who joined Inoue in 3 months back, one is quitting the company 2 months prior to his decided date. Another is going back to her country to discuss her future with parents. While the 2 of us remain here till the time we’re looking for a better option, we don’t know what is to become of us in a few months time.

This also makes me want to share an amusing event that I experienced a couple of nights ago.
After having dinner with my seniors we started playing a Japanese triumph card game. The rules were simple - players had to finish their cards ASAP, the last one to finish would get punished. Being a new player I was exempted from getting punished. But it was unfair to let a round go without any punishment so the boy who came 2nd last was the victim.

Now here’s the twist. The punishment was that every other player was to put a strip of brown tape (the thick scotch-tape used for packing in the factory) to pull out a strip of hair from the loser boys legs! I had to excuse myself from pulling strips and decided on squinting and getting goose bumps.

By the end of the 3 hrs that we played, they were pulling hair merely by tweezers cuz the tape had gotten over!! Somehow people were highly enthusiastic, laughed and cheered each time the game got over to see the next victim.

Even though it was unbelievably stupid, gross and a painful sight for me, it was hilarious ‘cuz in the end all the guys had a side of calf absolutely clean. Whether I join the next game or not I am sure the guys will be ready to show off their ‘sekushi’ legs in summer.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Random Killings

I don’t know how many of you heard about the random killings that took place this weekend in Japan. There was a 25yr old man who posted a note on a Japanese ‘website’ on Sunday morning that he would go to Akihabara to kill. He even mentioned that he would crash people with his car and then stab them. After his arrest, he said it as a matter-of-fact that he was ‘tired of the world’ and ‘anyone was OK’ to kill. 7 people were killed, and 10 were injured as this man tried to find something worthwhile to do with his life.

I know Japan is a safe country and all, but if a small city like Beppu can have police cars patrolling around the city every 30mins, I fail to understand why there were only 2 police officers at Akihabara, which is a highly crowded place esp. over the weekends.

So, a psycho Japanese guy can go around write crazy posts on websites saying that he is going to kill people cuz he is frustrated with life, and it goes unnoticed. Had it been a foreigner, he would have been put behind bars and sent back to his country for disturbing this peaceful country.

My main motive is NOT to start with how foreigners are discriminated in Japan, but to bring out the few issues that have been
bothering me.
1. For some grave reason there are too many stressed out and frustrated-with-life souls living in Japan. Recently I read that there are websites/blogs and even clubs where people can let out their frustrations by writing about how they would kill someone or commit suicide. Luckily these are all there in Japanese, so if you don’t understand or know the language that well, your mind is saved.

2. An amusing hobby of the police in Tokyo has been to ask foreigners for their ID cards and proof that they are ‘legal’ to stay in the country. I’ve been asked to do so at least 3times in my 2months in Tokyo !!! However I would consider myself luck in comparison to "a few chosen one" who went through a much worse situation, cuz he had accidently walked 10 steps from home leaving his card in the wallet. ike hullo.. will I kill someone? Do we look like terrorists?

3. Plus, there was a heated discussion at work today whether this man could have been caught by the officer before causing all the chaos had the officer choked up and taken out his gun a few minutes instead of playing macho with his poking-rod. Or was it ‘fate’ that no matter what the measures had been taken, one could not save the victims.
I think its easier to accept the situation by saying its fate, but yea, those people could have been saved if there was more security and awareness.

Im tired, and I need to sleep.
God bless those who gave up their lives, and God help those who got out to take the lives of others.
Be safe and keep it real.
LOve and big hugs to everyone!