Monday, March 19, 2012

Bidan Terjun Tour Attendant

"We cannot take you because you're too young 
and inexperience."

reason given for failing
to land the interpreter job


The program and itinerary for the training course.

Bidan terjun is a simple Malay saying meaning someone who is requested to do a job that needs to be done immediately. I was recently asked to help out as an interpreter for a group of officers from the Royal Malaysian Custom who made a training course to their Japanese counterpart in Tokyo. Too bad that the interpreting job requires someone who is much older; so they rejected me. Never mind-lar, at least it means that I am still quite young lol wtf!

However, on the second day of the six-day study trip, I got an unexpected phone call and they were in need of a tour attendant immediately - in the evening on that same day. I was done with my graduation final year project and everything; and since I was basically free having nothing much to do, I accepted the offer. Although I didn't get to be the interpreter, getting to become a jumping midwife as a tour attendant also jadi-lah haha!


Checked-into Hotel JAL City in Tamachi, Tokyo on the very same evening I got the phone call.


Stayed at this hotel for the next two nights, which came with complimentary breakfast.


 Nice and cosy single room for one, which has a flat screen TV!


Toilet, in which the toilet bowl is equipped with washlet; something I used to have in my previous house. Damn miss it a lot lol!


Got to work straight away later that night.


Guess who took this photo for me? Hehe!

The job as a tour attendant is basically like the tour guide who holds a small flag, leading the whole group of tourists you see every time. But this time, the group wasn't really tourists, so no flag was used. Instead, we used umbrellas haha!

I am tasked to make sure the movements of the Custom officers from Malaysia from one place to another are smooth as if they just use Sunsilk lol! Since the come to a country where the local people generally don't speak English much, I will be like the middle man when they check-in at hotels, fill in forms, do their shopping, and sometimes, lead them into the correct toilets, just in case they ter-enter the wrong ones haha!

A very much simpler job, compared to the one as a interpreter, actually.


Breakfast early in the morning.


After a quick head-count, we left for the first destination. Guess what were they looking outside the bus?


Snow! It snowed heavily that morning in Tokyo, giving them a rare chance to see snow.


The first stop was Tokyo Customs in Koto Ward.


The group was led to the meeting room as they toured the place as well.

Only the nine officers and Kak Yatie, who was the interpreter were allowed into the building. I was led into an open-space waiting area to wait until they finish their tour. It was gonna be about a couple of hours until they finish the tour, so I thought about going out to have a walk-out, since it was snowing outside haha!

To see snow in Tokyo is not often, and having it at the end of February was certainly something very rare. Even the locals were caught by the unexpected heavy snowfall on the morning of February 29.


A government building at the background.


A shop owner scooping the snow away from the walkway.


Even the rubbish looked clean after being covered with white snow.


At another crossroad near Jimbocho.


By early afternoon, the pokok-pokok were already covered in snow.


Delicious bento set for lunch. 

Lunch break came after that and I joined the whole team at one of the rooms to have our bento set. I was back to work again, explaining each dishes found inside the bento box. Luckily, the stuff served on that day were recognisable and not some weird stuff which I sometimes in bento box haha!

After lunch, they visited Nippon Automated Cargo and Port Consolidated System Inc. (NACCS). The security here was quite high and no photography inside the building were allowed. Anyway, at this center, the Malaysian officers were briefed about the cargo management system at seaports and airports, and also visited the database room. We were required to take off our shoes before we enter as the room has high-precision machines.

Just a random thought though, what would happen if we accidentally sneezed while in the room?


End of day one, and Serena came over to the hotel to bring the ladies to Odaiba and Asakusa later that night.


Recharging ourselves for a good breakfast before the start of another long day.


With Mr Zaidi and Mr Azman in front of the hotel, before we left.


My first time entering the Ministry of Finance (財務省) at Kasumigaseki.


Most of the government buildings in Kasumigaseki are old ones, and this one was no exception.


The National Diet Building in Nagatacho, seen from the meeting room.

It was a rare opportunity for me to have the chance to invade into the Ministry of Finance. But you know what, it would be so much nicer of I get to bring back some of the fortune from there lol! The session there was something like a wrap up of the whole training course at Japan Customs, with both sides exchanging ideas in how they can enhancement the IT system for the Royal Malaysian Customs.

I just sat behind and listen to them, while completing my daily report and summarising the questionnaire from the Malaysian officers.


Part of my job was to photograph the events throughout the training course.


That Japanese guy (second from left) sounds very much like a Punjabi speaking English during that session.


Datuk Ahmad Nadzri Embong (in the middle), the Director of the Division of Management and Human Resource, who led the group from Malaysia.


Kak Syura, whom I met at a farewell party a few days earlier was brought in as the interpreter for that day, as Kak Yatie's child was sick.


Sometimes, it is easier to get the message across through drawings.


A group photo at the end of the session.


Certificate presentation by the Director General of Customs and Tariff Bureau, Mr Shiboota Atsuo (柴生田  敦夫).


A group photo at the end of the certificate award ceremony.

The meeting ended at around five and their next destination was to head to the hotel in Narita, as they were scheduled to take their flight home on the next morning. However, they hardly have time for sightseeing around Tokyo and after discussing with the driver, I took them to the fabric street in Nippori on our way to Narita to do some shopping for Japanese cotton.

There is a chain shop at this area - Nippori Tomato, which is popular among the locals and tourists alike who are looking for high quality Japanese fabrics at bargain price. It was amazing that the guys ended up buying more stuff than the ladies there. And I also get to learned a few stuff about picking fabrics from Mr Manaf, as he used to be the quality control office specialising on fabric at the Customs. There are two types - woven and knitted; woven fabrics will not stretch, but knitted fabrics will stretch.


Shopping spree at the fabric town in Nippori.


The shops here closes at six in the evening, so we only got less than an hour here.


After we were done with shopping, we headed for Marroad International Hotel in Narita.


The room I got was slightly bigger than the one in Tamachi.


However, I guess the hotel is a bit old, as seen from the tiled wall in the bathroom.


Took part of the group members for sushi dinner later that night.


Some of them were not used to eating raw food, but some loved them a lot!


Breakfast on the next morning.


One last photo before they left for Narita International Airport.

That's the end of my three-day job as a tour attendant. Thanks for reading.


Aziana Teh said...

You sure take the opportunity to try every food served i see! Looks so nice. Haha.

calvin said...

@ aziana:
hahaha! yeah! that's what a kiasu malaysian like me will do every time eating at a buffet meal =P