Sunday, June 10, 2012

Full-Time Engineer, Part-Time Babysitter

"Calvin, let's talk in English"

Katsuwata-san
Senior at my department


Here's one good news! I survived my first week in the office haha! Last Monday was my first day working in the company's office in Akihabara, after undergoing a two-month job training since April. The first thing early on the Monday morning was the announcement of the department each of us will be assigned. Suzuki, who ended her job training two weeks earlier, has been working in the Business team for a couple of weeks. So, it leaves the remaining three of us - Sato, Samitha and me, who were still without a department haha!

So, during a short meeting in the morning, came the much anticipated announcement. To be honest, I was a little anxious and also excited at the same time, down to the curiosity to know which team I will be put into. I expected the announcement to have some suspense element in it; something like: "Okay, now I will make the announcement of where each of you guys will be put into. Jeng jeng jeng… *drumrolls* Sato… into the Blue team… Samitha, you're in the… Yellow team and Calvin… you are in the... actually you don't have a team. Hehe, tricked you! Calvin, you're in the Red Team, etc."

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How the office looks like at eight in the morning, when there's still hardly anyone around.

However, that didn't happen and it went something like, "Okay, like you guys have known, the assignments for you guys have been decided. Sato and Samitha, you guys are in the Technical Solution Group and Calvin, you're in the Helpdesk Group." The end.


Just like that. Damn potong stim kan?

After spending a week in the office, I guess I can say I love the environment very much; a working environment that I'd wish to work in all this while. Although it is a Japanese company, there is a relatively huge presence of non-Japanese employees in the office. In fact, almost a quarter of them are foreigners, from Sri Lanka, Nepal, China, the Philippines, Singapore and of course Malaysia. The scary Japanese working culture that you always hear or read in the media is not that bad here. The moment the clock shows five thirty, one after another will start their ritual of packing their bags, turning off their PCs and leave.

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 My cubicle desk, at the corner of the Business Solution Development Department island. Still very empty and I have yet to decorate it haha! Any idea guys? 
By the way, you can see the white helmet under the desk, to be worn when a huge earthquake happen.

In such a diverse environment, I occasionally have the chance to hear people speaking English to each other and it is a great break from being in a Japanese-only speaking environment from nine to five every single day. That sometimes can make you feel tired, mentally. And guess what? My senior in my department sitting next to my desk is a Singaporean!

On my first day, she asked me what language I prefer to use when we talk. I told her, lets speak Hokkien hahaha! No lar, just bluffing you only. But yeah, it is great to have someone from the same kampong in the company because I am pretty sure we more or less share the same wavelength. Sometimes it's hard when we have to talk to someone who is on a different frequency as we'd have to adjust the frequency to match the same wavelength haha! Besides the Singaporean senior, there are another three more Japanese seniors in my group.

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  My senior, Crystal asked me for a small favour to babysit his son last week, as she wasn't around for a couple of days. This is the kid I baby sit - 
that's his DIY name tag and his little blue mobile phone.

The main task of the group is to provide technical IT and PC assistance to the customers, plus to assist in troubleshooting and problems solving to users. Here comes the difficult part – it is done through the phone. Most of our customers are international companies who have set up their business in Japan and hence, being able to speak Japanese alone is not enough. English is equally as important as well. And I suspect that could be one of the reasons I was put under this team. Just because I can speak rojak Manglish, they thought that is the same as Queens English haha!

On one fine day, while I was building several PCs for the customers, one of my senior turned to me and said, "Calvin, let’s talk in English!" I was completely cool about that and I said yeah sure. Then, came the moment of silence (pun unintended). Both of us stayed frozen for the next thirty seconds, looking at each other without saying a word. In the end, my senior said to me, "Hmmm, I guess let's do this on other day. I just couldn't think of a topic" haha wtf!

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 Here's the dinner I prepared for both of us. Japanese braised cube pork or kakuni (角肉) and stir fried spinach. When he took a taste on the spinach, 
  he said softly that it tastes so much better then his Mom's cooking lol!

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  He complained that I took too much of photos and he couldn't wait to start eating as he was super hungry already haha! 
But yet, he still gave me full cooperation by giving me a peace pose lol!

Just like what my ex-Japanese language lecturer, Nezu sensei commented on my Facebook status, it is something very common to happen among the Japanese when they talk to gaijin. Happily married to a Malaysian with a kid now in KL, nevertheless as a Japanese, she could relate that situation very well which made her laughed haha!「よくありそうな光景で笑えました。きっとその先輩さん、英語で何話していいか分からなかったんだろうなぁ。日本人としてその気持ちよく分かり ます。(笑)」

It's great that my senior has assured me that whenever we talk in English, there is no need to use the honorific expression, commonly known as keigo (敬語) in Japanese. Instead of saying the long winded "Honjituwa otsukaresamadeshita. Osakini shitsureishimasu" before we leave the office every day, he asked me to just use the short and simple "See ya!!". Haha, damn time saving right?

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After taking a warm shower, time to have some juice while we play some card games. He actually made me play until almost midnight
but I insisted that if we do not head to bed soon, both of us gonna be taking MC the next day lol! 

And this senior can really tell crap jokes. Just recently when I was halfway doing my work, he called me over and I thought he wanted to ask me to help him in some task. Mana tau, he actually wanna show me a photo from his iPhone. It was a photo of a mini plane and he said he is the proud owner of the plane haha wtf! Apparently he takes that plane to office every day and use a parachute to jump onto the office's rooftop to get to the office lol! You tell me-lar, how should I layan all these kind of crappings haha!

As I had mentioned, the main task is to assist customers who are having difficulties on their network and to perform trouble-shooting tasks for them, through the phone. Still with limited knowledge now, obviously I feel anxious and worry just in case I don't understand the customers' problems. So, every time the phone rings, it will be like an earthquake alert. Damn phobia now to hear the phone rings nowadays already haha!

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What do you think of this shot? We didn't pre-plan our pose and it was a coincidence that our hands are placed in the same position lol! 
Both got ready to head to our respective destination - Kevin to school and I to my office haha!

If you have experience making phone calls to companies in Japan you should be used to the super friendliness and politeness of the person on the line. But after a few days seeing how my seniors, I guess that is not necessary the case. Sometimes, they might be halfway chewing on a candy, and when the call comes in, they will immediately reach for the tissue and wipe off their hand while dealing to the customer on the line haha!

I was out for lunch with another two seniors last Friday and one of them mentioned that my Facebook wall is full of food photos. Yup, that’s one of the no-no thing to do – adding people from your company as Facebook friends. He wondered if I like food. Well, obviously I love food a lot; otherwise you wouldn't see me this fat like now hahaha! I’m not sure if he was trying to tease me, but he asked if I wanna take a photo first when my noodle was served at the lunch. Feeling that it was not exactly a suitable situation to take food photos, I just malu-malu kucing-ly said, "Hehe, it's alright" lol!

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 Kena complained again for the second time. He said I'm a weird salaryman who holds a camera while walking to the train station lol!

It was my first time having lunch with the two seniors and I suspect they didn't know where I came from. Yet, they tried to cover it; though they should really polish their covering-up skills lol! Just wondering, do I look like I came from the Philippines or Indonesia? Haha, damn sweat kan? As I explained to them a brief introduction about Malaysia, one of my senior told me that all this while, he thought that Borneo is a country. Dah-la I was eating some spicy noodle at that time, it just made me to sweat even more lol! If an island is considered an island, do you know how many countries will Indonesia have?

Thousand island (dressing) lol!

2 comments:

DT said...

Finished ur 2 weeks of job training and then started with a daddy training course by babysitting kevin... So now fully qualified to be a daddy...eh.... Hehehe!!

calvin said...

@ dt:
yup, what a perfect timing wasn't it hahaha!!! but unfortunately, still not fully qualified until i get a suitable candidate xD