Thursday, August 30, 2012

Maharddhika Malaysia

"We must learn to live together as brothers
 or perish together as fools"

Martin Luther King Jr
March 22, 1964


The word "Merdeka" is derived from the Sanskrit "Maharddhika", which means "rich, prosperous and powerful" 

Sometimes, I wonder if I am a Chinese. Well, my Dad comes from a pure Chinese background. From the stories I was told, my great-grandpa was from China (not sure which part, but I guess it's around the Fujian province). He migrated to Malaya, in hope that there's more opportunities in Suvarnabhumi (a Sanskrit term, meaning "Land of Gold"). He had two wives (if my memory serves me right) and he used to own the Blue Omnibus company, a charcoal factory in Kuala Sepetang, a tin mine in Klian Pauh, several rubber estates in the area around Taiping. Mention his name in the 50's and apparently everyone in town knows him.

If he is still alive now, he must be proud of me to find out that I have turned as famous as him in Japan  recently. I probably could have inherited his genes. Like the saying goes - like greatgranpa, like grandson. And you can completely ignore my vanity here hahaha wtf!

Things begin to get complicated at my Mom's side. My greatgrandpa is a Siamese, who married a Chinese-Siamese, that is my greatgrandma. Both of them adopted my grandma from a Chinese family and later in her teenage years, she got married to a young guy, through an arranged marriage. This handsome and lanky guy tagged along his uncle to Singapore when he was only twelve, all the way from Sri Lanka. Their marriage gave them five daughters; Mom being the eldest.

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  My hometown, Taiping, where I spent the first two decades of my lifetime.

So, you see, 50% of me is Chinese, 25% each of Thai and Sinhalese blood. Kai Cung once told me that I came from a capalang (a term derieved from cap palang, or "brand X", which means a mixture of all nonsense lol!) background, which is kinda true.

I went to Cheng Kung Kindergarten, a Chinese-language kindergarten at the Taiping Buddhist Society (next to King Edward VII), despite the fact that both my parents are illiterate in Mandarin. It was that time I had my first contact with the Chinese characters. Not many though. Just numbers from 1 to 10, plus other simple characters like (ren, human), (yue, moon), (huo, fire) and (mu, tree).

I then followed Dad's footsteps in enrolling into a Catholic primary school - SRK St. George (Satu), considered the most prestigious school in town. My class teacher was Puan Choo in Standard One. She overlooked me and chose Agimndran to be the class monitor. Well, I was made the assistant anyway. In the next two years that followed, Puan Habibah and Puan Nor Azlinda were my class teachers, and also my BM teachers. In the last three years of my primary schooldays, Puan Pramjit Kaur was my class teacher.

You see, not only the teachers in the school came from a diverse background. Some of my friends' names whom I still remember from my primary years include Asyraf (our school football team's captain), Chong Jin (whom you will never beat him in Art), Adrian Ang and Charles (both of them are from a Portuguese and Chinese background), Nur Sirajuddin, Wan Dinie Izat, T. Saravanan. As for the last three persons, I have lost contact with them since we left the school.

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  These kids don't argue whose race and religion is better; instead they fight for each other's erasers and colour pencils.

I then moved to Saint George Institution (SGI) for the secondary education and the environment was not much different from my primary school. You get to see Ali, Ah Chong and Muthu wherever you go around the school, be it during the recess time at the canteen, during the weekly school assembly, or when you line up to pee along the cubicle in the toilet. Oh yea, it is an all-boys' school, so my only contact with girls back then was during my kindergarten years.

Moving towards the final year at SGI, I can still remember the names who sat around me. They were Pragrash (people prefer to call him Nageswaran (his Dad's name) most of the time; back then, calling your friend's Dad's name is a popular culture to ejek you kawan), Mani Raj a/l Muniandy (when we tease him, we called him air mani, and I have to put his full name 'coz people call him by his Dad's name very often too), Asyraf (yes, the football team captain), Prem Kumar (nicknamed kutu), Ibrahim (we call him pendek), Balasubramaniam, Kelvin (whom is better known as gajah).

Nearby our seat, we had Namkabir Singh (kambing, 'coz his name sounds like that lol!), Gurpreet Pal Singh (who often greets people in a unique way: "Hey F**ker", and talks about "shaking" all the time lol!), Kuok Hau and Zhan Peng (who are the best of friends and enemies lol!).

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  Down memory lane. The 5 Science One class where we shared sweet memories during our last years in high school.

One of the time we look forward the most is the Pendidikan Jasmani or Physical Education period. We all just refer it as PJ and we all love it so much because it's the time of the week we get play football. At the same time, words war and all the vulgar words will come out, especially when there's a disagreement during the game.

We yelled and shouted at each other with words like babi, anjing, oi, bodoh, pundek, thambi, hitam, chap cheng, etc and nobody ever really care, as long as the win the game. At the end of the day, we would be sharing drinks from the same water bottle, and laughed at ourselves, talking about how crazy and fun the game was.

That was about ten years ago. We do not end up fighting and trying to kill each other. The only time we would fight or start shoving at each other was when someone dived in with a dangerous tackle, or when we disputed if the ball had gone over the goal-line or not.

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  Hari Raya gathering at Salih's place this year. This tradition of going from house to house for open houses during festive seasons every year 
is already something like our tradition, partly because they get to collect duit raya and ang paus along the way lol!

Compare it to Malaysia today. Mention something sensitive and everyone will jump around like bullfrogs. You get threatening and warnings. You get groups of people doing "butt exercise" in front of individual's residence, pig and cow head flying everywhere, coffins sent to your house gate free of charge. Aiyoyo, what has happened to our beloved Malaysia today?

We are now on a crossroad. Is this the Malaysia we want our future grandchildren to live in? Or do we prefer that they will born into an environment our ancestors, our grandparents, our parents, and we have used to live in during our childhood days? It is a question for you to ponder on this auspicious day. It is also a decision for you to decide, so that many years from now, you will not regret for the road not taken.

Happy Merdeka Day!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

My First Business Trip To Sasayama

"Ookini Sasayama"
which means "arigatou Sasayama"


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Took off from Tokyo station, on the Tōkaidō Shinkansen line.

Unlike most of other Japanese companies, there's no summer holiday or Obon-yasumi (several days of holiday in conjunction of the Bon festival) for me. To make up that, I was assigned to a one-week business trip-cum-holiday (self-declare one lol!) in the Kansai region a fortnight ago. The destination was in the city of Sasayama (篠山) in Hyogo prefecture. I don't think anyone had heard of this city before this; so do I haha!

The trip to this city from the heart of Tokyo took us about half a day. We boarded the bullet train from Tokyo station which was bound for Shin-Osaka, and after a two-and-a-half hour journey, we arrived in Shin-Osaka. To reach Sasayama, we then took a local train on the Fukuchiyama Line (福知山線), which I later found out was where the massive rail crash happened in 2005.

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Our train was the Nozomi 363, which took off at 14:20 hours, stopping at four stations - Shinagawa, Shin-Yokohama, Nagoya and Kyoto.

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The classic bullet-nose of the bullet train, or more commonly known as the "shinkansen" in Japan.

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N700 series on Nozomi, that reaches the top speed of 300km/h. The trip between Tokyo and Osaka, a distance of 515 kilometres, 
takes 2 hours 26 minutes on the fastest Nozomi.

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Got reserved seats this time, but unfortunately, not the green car like what we had during the trip to Fukuoka last year haha!

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Tickets from Tokyo to Shin-Osaka and from Shin-Osaka to Sasayamaguchi.

Just a couple of interesting facts about the bullet train which I picked up from its Wikipedia page. First is about its punctuality. In 2003, JR Central reported that the Shinkansen's average arrival time was within six seconds of the scheduled time. This includes all natural and human accidents and errors and was calculated over roughly 160,000 Shinkansen trips completed. The previous record, from 1997, was 18 seconds.

Secondly, its magnificent safety record. During the Shinkansen's 45-year, nearly 7 billion-passenger history, there have been no passenger fatalities due to derailments or collisions, despite frequent earthquakes and typhoons in Japan.

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 The journey in the bullet train was never boring when you get to see these kind of breathtaking views through the window.

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Scenery like this is definitely a perfect getaway from the packed city life.

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Upon arriving in Shin-Osaka, we transferred into a local train and the train has a retro-looking interior, including the cute little pocket to place your tickets 
on the top section of the seat.

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After traveling for more than 600 kilometers, we finally arrived at our last stop - Sasayamaguchi station!

Finally, after more than four hours of train ride, we finally arrived at our destination - Sasayamaguchi station. As what we have been told earlier, there's almost nothing in this city. With all due respect to the people of Sasayama, actually that is the truth. Upon arriving at the station, we realised that we were surrounded with mountains, as what I have seen from the Google map when I checked it out before we went there lol!

We took a short walk from the station to the one and only hotel in the city - Holompia Hotel. Kinda weird name, isn't it? At first, we thought it was called Colombia Hotel haha!

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This is roughly how the town looks like. At least I spotted some well-known restaurants like McDonalds and Sukiya.

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When my senior came here three years ago, he stayed at this same hotel as well.

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Holompia Hotel. As if they don't have other better name for their hotel lol!

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Anyway, for a hotel in the middle of a kampung, the room turned out not bad. Cannot complain too much haha!

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I spent my first night watching the Olympic badminton men's singles final between Chong Wei and Lin Dan.

Unfortunately for me, I left my laptop's power cable behind and I only managed to catch part of the match. Probably it was already planned for me, because my laptop died on me the moment Lin Dan clinched the gold-medal point. Whatever it is, we all know Chong Wei has given his best in the Olympics. Another great news is that a few days later, our golden girl, Pandelela Rinong Pamg became the first woman to win a medal in the Olympics - a bronze medal in the 10m platform.

The next morning, it was time to head to the factory, about ten kilometers away from the hotel. It was the first time that we got to see more of the town during the 15-minute taxi ride to the factory. Most of the area is covered with paddy fields, surrounded by hills and mountains. There were hardly any big shops or restaurants. In fact, the convenience stores were kinda limited. I spotted only Lawson and Family Mart there.

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After breakfast and before we head to work, I took some time to catch some fresh air at the paddy field.


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Time to work, but not at the paddy field though lol!

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The breathtaking scenery we see every day we travel to work. I wish I can see this in Tokyo.

Our job here basically is similar to the ones we did back in Roppongi, which is to do upgrades on the operating system (OS) of the users' computers, and on some cases, exchange their old computers for new ones. There is however, one big difference we gotta endure here in Sasayama factory. It was the changing clothes process. 

Anyone who enters the factory is required to put on a special set of uniform, as part of their security and industry policy. We had to strip everything away, yes, I'm not kidding you, it was basically e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g!!! And then, put on their uniform. As there are several zones inside the factory, there are also different sets of uniforms for each zones. So, for example you are going to Zone 3 and then Zone 2, you gotta strip twice lol!

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The working room which is kinda like our HQ, where we carried out all the technical tasks.

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All of us were pretty excited to put on the uniform that made us look like egg man lol!

Another difference is that the users in Sasayama are generally much friendlier than those in Tokyo. Well, I guess it is common to find people living in smaller towns and villages to be more kind and loving. They talked to you as if you have known them for some time. They tell jokes and laughed together, which made the job less stressful.

At the same time, I also managed to pick up a few Kansai dialect along the way. I actually find it funny when I heard the way they speak Japanese, in the Kansai dialect. However, it would be rude and they might feel offended if I laugh at their dialect. So, I just tahan myself from laughing lol! But guess what, after a couple of days, I find myself speaking a little like them haha! 

My Japanese senior told me that it's better for us outsiders (i.e. coming from other regions in Japan) not to imitate their dialect because it is something like making a fool out of them. Imagine going to Kota Bharu in Kelantan and telling the locals, "Ambo suko kote baru" haha wtf! Just speak standard Japanese with them and there will be no problem.

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Usually people watch the sunset at the sea. Not often you get to see such a magnificent sunset in a small town.

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Para Para Restaurant, located just in front of our hotel.

There is only three restaurants within walking distance from our hotel. One of them is a family restaurant - Para Para, in which we took our dinner for five straight evenings there lol! As there aren't any source of entertainment after work, we usually spend an hour or two at the restaurant, talking about the day's work, who got the most misscalls from Mr M, and of course, lame jokes.

One of them is about ushigaeru. We were talking about a pet shop in Ameyoko at Ueno, where one of us saw some huge creatures which is commonly known as ushigaeru. In Japanese, ushi means "cow", while kaeru translates to "frog". So, we casually asked another one of our Japanese colleague, Yoshida-san what ushigaeru is called in English. He thought about it for ten seconds, and after he looked at us and with full of confidence, he said, "COWFROG!!!" haha wtf!

That was the best joke of the whole trip that now his new nickname is "cowfrog".

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The crazy team that went to Sasayama for one week. Guess which one is the "cowfrog" haha!

During one of the taxi ride back to hotel after work, the driver lamented about how boring his hometown is, which has nothing at all. Sometimes by the time he returns home, his wife and kids will be sleeping, and he will grab a can of beer from the fridge and drink by himself, alone. We felt for him, really. During the whole ride, all of us but Sato-san talked to him as the driver uses deep Kansai dialect which Kulatunga and I don't understand much lol!

On another taxi ride, the driver told us how the factory we went used to be a paddy field. Now we understand why there's so many frogs around the factory. These frogs are like magnets you stick on the fridge, they would stick everywhere - walls, windows, and sometimes your body lol! And since their home has been conquered and turned into a factory, the frogs must be very angry and that is why they are everywhere around the factory lol!

On our final day, during the taxi ride we were discussing about who is returning to Tokyo on the same night, and who will wanna stay a night and return the next day. The three of them wanted to return immediately (maybe they just wanna escape from Sasayama as soon as possible lol!), but I decided to stay another night. Rushing back to Tokyo on the same day, after a tiring day of working, just isn't my thing.

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My first up-close contact with Japanese paddy. 

However, they started creating story, asking me if I dare to stay alone in the hotel. Besides, it is a Friday evening and most people would be leaving the hotel. They started making stories that there's ghosts at the hotel. Although I'm kinda afraid of these kind of stuff, I just brushed them away and say nothing will happen. Then, the taxi driver interrupted our conversation. 

"You guys are staying in Holompia Hotel isn't it? Yeah, that hotel is famous for its ghosts stories and everyone knows that those ghosts usually come out on Friday nights!"

The moment I heard that, I told everyone in the taxi, "OK! I'm going back with you guys, tonight!"

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Celebrating Hari Raya 2012

"Berlabuh sudah di Tasik Ranum; 
maaf dan syukur, sebak dan senyum." 

A. Samad Said


Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri, to all my Muslims friends and also readers of this blog. As we celebrate Hari Raya in the middle of August this year, my Japanese friends said they find it something unique to have the new year during the summer months. Also, as we have so many New Years to celebrate throughout the year back in Malaysia, they once commented that it must be very busy having to prepare for New Year every few months. 

I should tell my Japanese friends that yes, we prepare very hard, trying to figure out whose place to crash for the many open houses held during the New Years' celebration lol!

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My usual destination for Raya celebration every year.

Today is the first time I stepped my foot to the Embassy of Malaysia in Tokyo (KBM) not as a student, but a working person. Well, it didn't feel any much different though. But one particular part which I felt had changed is that it seemed almost everyone knows my name. My name must have gotten famous every since making my TV appearance for several times in Chiba TV for the past couple of months.

I know you must be thinking why-lar this fella so muka tembok (or is it muka tebal? sorry-lar, my simpulan bahasa already koyak liao haha!) and vain, right? So, just pretend you didn't read the previous parangraph haha wtf!

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From left: Kai Cung (my ex-housemate for two years), Amy, and Morinaka-san, the Embassy's driver.

The party had begun when we arrived at the Embassy just before ten in the morning. Unlike the previous years where the food was catered, the food this year was prepared by the ladies of the Embassy's staffs. The food was the usual but delicious stuff, including rendang, lemang, nasi himpit, kuih and snacks. The second party, at the staffs' apartment in Meguro this year was held in late evening, as I heard there was gonna be a live teleconferencing with the PM in the afternoon.

Sometimes, people assume that we go to the Embassy during Raya just for the food. Actually, there is more than that. It is one of the rare time when we get to see people whom we have not met for months, and sometimes years. It gives us a great opportunity to do catch-ups with these people, and at the same time,  make new friends there.

I'll keep this entry short and leave the rest of the entry with photos taken at the Embassy today. 

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Bee lines queuing up for the food.

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Mr Wan Aznainizam Yusri Wan Abdul Rashid, the Head of Chancery of KBM.


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Kak Fiza and her husband.

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Kak Fiza and Kak Ruslinda, who insistted me to stand in the middle lol!

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Kak Fiza (take three lol!) with Mr Wan Yusri's wife.

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Puan Siti Zaharah, the Counselor for the Public Service Department's (PSD) Education and Training (middle in blue), Amy, Ekhwan (batchmate) 
and the rest of my juniors, who said they didn't wanna missed the chance to take photos with this TV star hahaha!

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From left: Amy, Chiba-san from the HR department of KBM, and my two juniors.

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From left: Mr X, Mr Kua Kiat Chye, Director of Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (MATRADE) in Japan, Mr Solehhuddin Ahmad, 
Deputy Director of Tourism Malaysia Tokyo, and Mr XX.

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Abang Dzul, a fanatic Liverpool supporter, with his wife.

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Part of the staff from the KBM and juniors who joined the celebration.

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Datin: "Our house is open. You wanna enter?"

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Lastly but not least, a photo with the first couple - Datuk Shaharuddin Md. Som, the Ambassador to Japan with Datin. Amazing to see both of them 
able to remember my name when I walked over to greet them.

If you notice, it is the Chiba Kun Ambassador taking photo with the Malaysian Ambassador to Japan lol!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Crazy Tales At Work Place

"Gokuro-sama deshita"
warm words 
from the clients


The phrase above basically means, "thank you for your hard work", which I sometimes get after completing a task for a client.

It has been one month since the project I'm currently assigned started. I gotta say during this very short period, there has been a lot happenings at work. Some funny ones, some crazy ones, some sakit hati one, same menyampah one; pokoknya, all kinds also got. Considering the fact that I'm such a long-winded auntie, the stories will never end if I were to mention them one by one haha! So, I'll just pick up a few interesting ones. 

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 Guess what's this? A love letter from my company haha wtf!

My First Bonus
Early in July, guess what? I got my first bonus ever in my working life! I'll be lying if I say I wasn't excited when I saw the pay-slip on my mailbox. Not a bad return at all as I have only started my job like three months earlier. Deduct the two months of job training during the first couple of months, I have actually worked for only a month and I already got my first bonus. 

Anyway, it came at a very good timing because lately I have been shopping like crazy haha!

Back to our work in the new project, I'm grateful that I'm working with a great team and wonderful team members. I'll explain briefly about this project. So, this customer of ours, is a pharmaceutical company that is doing a revamp on its employees' computers, i.e. upgrading the PCs' OS. Our job requires us to collect the clients PCs, upgrade and finally returned the PCs to the clients. There are usually five of us, working on 20 to 30 PCs per day.

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This is how our working place looks like. 

Mr M... ohhh Mr M...
There is our project coordinator, Mr M who can be really cute at one second, but a pain in the ass the next moment. There was one time, when he asked us to arrange the new PCs and old PCs together, side by side, to make more spaces for the PCs coming in. The next day however, he questioned all of us why we moved the new and old PCs together.  

Then there was another time, where he was informed that the PC of a client was not properly set up. Without confirming the situation first, he immediately called out my name and said to me, "Calvin, it was you who work on this client's PC yesterday, right?" Walao, that time I bukan main naik api because kena blame for no concrete reason =.=

Even though sometimes Mr M can be the last person you would wanna work together with, sometimes he can be really cute and funny. The building we are working with is equipped with security measures, in which you can only get to the floors with an ID card. For the staircase, you can open the door from inside the building but once you are outside, you won't be able to get into the building without the card.

So, on one fine day, Mr M who was going up one floor above decided to take the stairs. Unfortunately, once the door closed, he realised his ID card was not with him; it was with me at that time. And to make matter worse, he left his mobile phone in the room. So, without any choice, he had to walk down all sixteen floors down to the first floor because that's the only floor without security lock on the door lol!

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Yoshida-san, the best joker among us lol!

Yoshida-san, the Mr Bean
Yoshida-san is among one of the deployment team members and with his presence, the working atmosphere will never be boring. There was one time he told us that he work seven days a week that he doesn't have a fixed holidays. He told another team member that his holidays is "futeikyu" (不定休), which means unfixed holidays. But my friend asked him not to use too high-level Japanese because he doesn't understand the term. So, Yoshida-san tried to translate it to English, but he failed to find a proper word to explain the term "futeikyu". At last, he gave up and just told our friend, it's something like "yukuefumei horidee" (行方不明ホリデー) or "missing holiday" hahaha wtf!

Legendary Kimura-san
There was another time where Yoshida-san had to go and change the PC monitor for one of the user, who goes by the name Kimura-san. No, not that Kimura Takuya. This is a different Kimura-san. However, Samita told him to be cautious when he goes there. Curious to know why, we were told that that client is a legend. The kepoh-ness in me decided to tag along Yoshida-san. We immediately know why he was called the legendary Kimura-san once we were at his place.

His laptop was placed against his cubicle desk, with the ports all facing upwards, and there is a retro-style blue lamp hanging over his table. There is also a hand-made flag on his monitor. It's to show that he treats his customer well (お客様を大切にする), according to Kimura-san. But you wanna know what is the best of all?

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This is how Kimura-san's keyboard looks like. The only difference is, there are more keys missing on his keyboard lol! 

Almost half of his keyboard keys were missing. And when we asked him if he would like a brand new keyboard in exchanged, he politely declined our offer. Apparently, he removed those keys because according to him, they are a disturbance when he uses the keyboard. The function keys, one side of the "shift", "alt" and digits keys were all missing from his keyboard; they were removed and kept inside a plastic bag, in which he proudly showed it to us haha wtf!

The moment I saw that keyboard, I could stand but wanting to burst into laughter. However, he is still our client and Kimura-san might feel offended if we laugh at his keyboard. So, in order not to laugh, I tried my best by looking at other direction and avoid making any eye-contact with Kimura-san's keyboard. At the same time, I tried hard to think about sad stuff so that I won't laugh hahaha! However, the moment we walked out the office, both of us couldn't stand it anymore and we immediately laugh like crazy until our tears actually dripped out lol!

Now that the story about Kimura-san and his keyboard has spread among all of us, everyone tries to avoid going to the third floor because entering that room will certainly trigger your laughing button right away. Yoshida-san even said that he is willing to go to any floors of the building as long as he is not assigned to the third floor lol!

Briefing Session for Users
Okay, enough about the legendary Kimura-san. There is a funny thing that Yoshida-san did when he delivers the PCs to the users. We will usually briefly explain on the initial settings for the PC when we deliver them to the users. However, there are times when the desks of the users are located just next to each other, or on the same row. So, in order to save time, Yoshida-san had a smart idea by assembling the users to one spot, and explain it in one shot, instead of one user by one user lol! When I asked him so far, what is the most number of users he did that, he answered, "Not many-lar, just four at once *hehe*" lol!

He also had master the skill of explaining them very fast, so fast that there's no full stop in his explanation. So, the users will be super clueless that they ended up not knowing what to ask at the end of the explanation. Doing this would make him not having to answer any questions from the users haha! Damn smart right? And time effective as well lol!

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Went to see the Katsushika Noryo Fireworks Festival near Kanamachi Station on July 24th.

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The finale of the fireworks display was superb.

AC Adapter Bargain Sale
As the days passed by, the AC adapters keep increasing because some users only returned their old ones few days after we worked on their PC. There's an average about one to two adapters coming in everyday and we talked among ourselves, what should we do with them. Some say we might wanna open a stall by the roadside in Akihabara and sell them for 100 yen each lol!

Another came with a different but quite brilliant idea, which is to sell them inside the bullet train during our journey to the company's factory in Hyogo next week. If nobody wanna buy our adapters, we might just rent them out. You'll never know, some travelers, especially salary-man traveling on bullet train might left behind their PC power adapter and will need them badly for their PCs lol!

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 Had a dinner with the IT team at Yebisu Beer Station in Yebisu Garden Place, Tokyo.

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Yebisu Garden Place is built on the former site of a beer brewery, where the still existing Yebisu Beer brand had been brewed since 1890.

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 Breathtaking Yebisu Garden Promenade.

User ohh User, why you so Lansi one?
However, it's not always happy hour for us. At times, there are also users who have bad attitude and being unreasonable. I'm not trying to be sexist but 99.99% of the cases come from the ladies users, especially within the 30's age range. There was one time one user complained that her data had gone missing after we worked on her PC. After we went to check, the data was indeed inside her computer =.=

I'm lucky because I hardly come across these kind of users. The worst I guess I have met so far was this A-san, whom I went to get her signature on the check-sheet. I politely asked her if it's okay if I interrupt her work because I wanna get her to sign the check-sheet. She immediately replied me, "Hmmm, okay, but just one minute." Punya-lah kedekut, give me one minute only!

I digress.

The users are requested to filled in a survey form to evaluate our performance from the PC collection, how we work on their PC and after-service and as expected, the result we got was poor. Very poor compared to other the company's other branches in other parts of the world. In India and the US, the users easily give the deployment team 8 to 9 points, but guess how much we in Japan got? It's only between 4 to 5 points.

That's the hard reality working in the Japanese environment. In front of you, they will hardly say bad stuff about yourself, but it's nightmare when it comes to the aftermath. And also, I feel the users could have been a little less harsh because the IT team are also humans and sometimes, we made errors. Unfortunately, once they realised we made an error, we will straight away get blacklisted and the assessment on how well we do our job will suffer a sharp decline.

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Mr Murakami, who has been leading the Solution Business Department, giving his farewell speech.

Bye Bye Mr Murakami
And two days ago, we had a farewell party for one of our supervisors, Mr Murakami who would be quitting the company. The news took everyone by surprise when it reached us. He has been working in the company for seven years and as his age is catching up, he decided that it is time to stop this job to do something else which he has always wanted to do.

He will be leaving for US next month and his destination would be Silicon Valley. Although I didn't have a chance to work under him, but from the few conversations we had before this, he is a really friendly person who would share with you almost anything. It is indeed very inspring to see someone who has a big dream, and work hard towards realising that dream despite his ripe age.

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 He certainly doesn't look like his actual age. Anyone wanna guess how old is he?

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Takahashi-san, who just came in last year, giving his thoughts about Murakami-san.

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The table where all the top bosses were seated. The big boss is the furthest away.

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This company is certainly full of siao people haha!

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 From right: Shimohata-san, the first person who interview me almost a year ago, and the crazy Hata-san beside him.

And during the chat I had with him, he told me how he used to work in a project with Samy Vellu's son, S. Vell Paari, a businessman in the late nineties in Kuala Lumpur. One thing he still remember until today is the delicious orange juice in Pan Pacific Hotel in Kuala Lumpur. Anyone who has tried it might wanna share their thoughts about the orange juice there.

As he is staying in the vibrant commercial nightlife district of Roppongi, he also shared with us some tips and know-how around that area, and also interesting stories there. As a bike lover, his home is located in such a strategic location that he can get to Shibuya, Akasaka, Omodesando, all within ten minutes. And oh yea, a great tip whenever you visit Omotesando next time - try take a detour from the main street and instead, walk along the smaller alleys and you will definitely get to experience more interesting things.

He also mentioned that he would be traveling to Hokkaido and Vietnam very soon, and guess what airlines will he use? Exactly; Air Asia. I guess the promotional and marketing team of Air Asia has done a great job in penetrating the Japanese market, that now they are fast becoming a household name as one of the most preferred low-cost airline in Japan.

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Preparations for a secret mission to the southern part of Honshu. External HDD, USB, cash, and some essential documents. 
If I forget to bring them along, the project will definitely get cancelled lol!


First Business Trip
From Monday for five days, I will be travelling out from Tokyo for my first business trip. The destination might not be as glamourous as Roppongi or Ginza, because we would be heading to a small town called Sasayama City (篠山市) in the central eastern part of Hyogo prefecture in the Kansai region of Honshu island. From the stories I have heard from my seniors, there's only one hotel in the city and they only have local convenience stores there. And around the city are mostly mountains and paddy fields.

For a person who has lived in Nagaoka during my first three years in Japan, I guess the outskirt environment shouldn't be much a problem. Besides, I guess it is a great getaway from the city for a week, and hopefully, the summer in Sasayama will not be as hot and humid as Tokyo.

Hoping for a nice time in Sasayama while enjoying my work-cum-summer break for a week. Till then!