Saturday, January 27, 2007

Too Late!

While I was searching around the web I found this advertisement for McGriddles. The Japanese reads, 「だれも知らない朝ごはん、はじまる。」 or "The breakfast nobody knows is coming!" When I was in Japan, my beloved McGriddles were nowhere to be found. It seems like they are finally making their way to the land of the rising sun!

About time!


The King of Beers!

Happy 20th Anniversary Asahi Super Dry!!!



Speaking of Japanese beer, if you ever find a store that sells Hitachino Nest Beer (常陸野ネストビール), DO NOT miss the opportunity to sample a truly wonderful and unique beer unlike any other - guaranteed! The Hitachino beer brand is actually produced by a sake brewery named Kiuchi. They make a series of ales brewed with rice – the result is a crisp, refreshing beer that tastes like sake.

Nest Beer (named so because of the cute owl mascot) comes in two varieties, white rice (白米) and red rice (赤米). Both are incredibly complex and flavorful. I was completely unfamiliar with this brand until I happened to come across it at a beer and wine store specializing in imports. If you happen to find a bottle, don’t miss the opportunity to snag a real drinking jewel!


Saturday, January 20, 2007

Get a Job, Ya’ Bum! (就職活動)

Nowadays every time my cell rings I wonder if it’s the real world calling. I am fast coming to grips with the realization that in a short period of time I will be fresh out of the ‘Stanford bubble’ and charged with the task of finding something to do with my life. This is terrifying to say the least, the stuff of nightmares.

Maybe the guy pictured in the red cap and overalls will be my future employer. Nintendo of Japan slipped five golden tickets into their first one million Wii systems. The lucky soles who find them get to compose videogame music at the Kyoto based headquarters and meet Willy Wonka himself, Super Mario and Legend of Zelda creator Shigeru Miyamoto. Composing game music for Nintendo would be a dream, especially considering my interest in music and entertainment. Is it possible? I don’t know. Is it worth a shot? You bet!

Applying to Japanese companies is a daunting process for a foreigner, made worse by the fact that you begin to doubt if said company is even willing to hire non-Japanese employees to begin with. Most global companies such as Sony, Nintendo, Microsoft, Google, and all have headquarters in Japan that operate autonomously from the American branch. Nintendo of Japan and Nintendo of America are completely different companies and understandably have different job opportunities and management staffs. A typical high school kid who wants to make videogames some day won’t be doing that in Redmond,
Washington, but they might be doing it in Kyoto.

I have the PDF application to be a composer at Nintendo on my computer, but I had to falsely enter personal information into their online database to even get the application. There were no options to receive employment materials if you didn’t have a permanent residence in Japan. Does Nintendo or any Japanese company for that matter want foreigners? I think they do, but one’s way might only come from a Japanese contact within the company or a headhunting firm.

Perhaps I’ll be back at Columbia Music Entertainment in Roppongi. Hey, at least I have friends there already. I have been debating asking my internship coordinator for a job. He also happens to be the director of Human Resources. But would I enjoy my job?

The choice ultimately comes down to what I value more, location or job. If living and working in Japan is my first and most important requirement, then I have to settle for what might not be my dream job. There is a plethora of English teaching and private tutoring jobs available in Tokyo. Other easy-to-enter employment opportunities in Japan include kebab stand operator, tissue packet distributor, and 100 Yen shop manager. At this point I don’t know which I’m leaning towards.

There are plenty of neat companies in Japan such as Miyazaki’s Studio Ghibli and Nana-on-Sha (the makers of the Parappa videogame series) that are just dying to be infiltrated by westerners. But then there’s rock steady U.S.A. Wouldn’t I be crazy not to seek employment in America first? I met the American ex-head of Tower Records Japan while I was working at Columbia. He worked for Tower in California first before they shipped him off to Japan. He rose up the ranks in the Japanese company, ultimately landing at the top, and managed to make the record store chain the most popular in Japan. The same cannot be said for Tower in America which filed for bankruptcy in 2004.

One thing is for certain, however, I miss Japan! With my roommate spending the quarter in Berlin and friends popping off to Australia and South America in the middle of the school year for week long excursions, I really do miss living abroad and I would like to return as soon as possible!

I’ll keep you all posted.


Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Happy New Year!


Welcome to 2007 everyone! Best wishes for a healthy and happy new year. 2007 is the year of the boar or "inoshishi" (猪) in Japanese.



Monday, January 08, 2007

Here is a picture of the Fujiya department store. I happen to think the rainbow coloring and reflective exterior make the building look really neat.

Here is the Pallete Town section of Odaiba island. Is it just me or does Palette Town sound like the central hub in a videogame?

A giant Hello Kitty bounce house in Palette Town.

My mom walking down a typical narrow Tokyo street.

A picture of a similar Tokyo street at night.

Me in a rickshaw at the Edo Tokyo Museum.