Saturday, 9 November 2013

First Business Trip to Japan & America Job Training

In June 2013 I'd begun looking for a job and was approached by an American company who I began having a few interviews with. By September I'd got into a good position and had travelled to Detroit, Michigan where they're based. Things went well and later in the month I went on a business trip to Japan to meet the team in Isuzu that the American company work's with. I meant to post this sooner but I didn't...

September 22nd (20:52 UK)

It's weird that I'm going to be going to Japan tomorrow for one week. Really doesn't feel like it. Probably partially because I've never been to Japan for less than 4 months before! Also I'm absolutely sh**ing myself right now. This is gonna be a challenge I think and a big test on my Japanese skills. I have no confidence in my business Japanese abilities and I've been told I might have to interpret for one meeting. I'VE NEVER INTERPRETED BEFORE! D: And have no idea what the meeting will be on. I might have to take the guy who's organising it aside and ask him nicely not to leave me interpreting for any meetings because I honestly don't know the company or the field specific lexis well enough. The problem is he's a really laid back guy who's attitude is very much *shrug* "yeeeaaaahhh suuuurrre it'll be fiiine!" Which was nice when I was in Detroit but not so much now because he doesn't quite grasp that I have no business Japanese experience. Which is fine because I can work on that while I'm training including JLPT N1 practice that should get me up to scratch, but right now I don't feel like I'm up to that scratch.

I'm just trying not thing about it. I will take things as they come and deal with them when I need to deal with them. I can only ever try my best and possibly a bit harder than my best and see how things go. Flight's tomorrow. Let's do this.

September 23rd-28th

The business trip itself is now a bit of a blur. I'd never been to Japan for less than 4 months, so it was a bit surreal going for less than a week. Which meant I didn't have much time to get over the jet lag so was incredibly tired the whole time. It was me, George who was my guide in Detroit, and another American employee. We met with the team they deal with in Isuzu and I got a large stack of business cards (everyone introduced themselves at the same time so I forgot most of their names). We basically has long meetings (all in Japanese) that I could kind of understand. My main problem was I didn't know the American company or their dealings with Isuzu that well so I didn't know the context of most of the conversations. And jet lag meant my brain just wanted to sleep the whole time. The other guy couldn't understand Japanese at all so I think he was pretty bored although he was getting some work done on his laptop and George summarised their conversations. Oh yeah! I didn't have to interpret anything! Well nothing meetings wise, I did help out when we were out getting dinner and lunch. It wasn't as bad as I thought it would be.
At the end of the week we had a day free so I took the opportunity to visit a friend who lives in Akihabara and he showed me around (which resulted in new comics and figurines that made me very happy).

After I got back from Japan life got...not very exciting. I had nothing to do and spent my days mostly watching TV series and playing video games. I did study Japanese everyday for a while but became de-motivated. I went to Canterbury to see friends when I could and made a cosplay to take to a convention. But the loneliness and boredom was driving me a bit crazy. Actually very crazy.

Job Training in Michigan - First Week

So two weeks ago I finally heard back from the American company about dates for training. I had hoped that I would get training before Halloween (so I could spend Halloween in the US) but that didn't work out and I got here Sunday 3rd November. With 3 weeks in Detroit for training, 1 week in Portland for Thanks Giving with Wes (yay), and another week of training before going back to the UK on the 7th. I'm hoping they'll start paying me at that point and I work from home until we get Japan sorted, or I might have to come back to Detroit for more on sight training. As always it's all very up in the air, but I think it'll be worth it.

My first week is over and I feel so much better. I feel less crazy and more motivated. The job is incredibly interesting and I'm really enjoying it so far. The position is basically project management so I'm having to learn everything about the entire company which means going to each employee and finding out what they do and how the system works from their perspective. It's mostly databases along with software and hardware programming rather than the technical/mechanical side of vehicles. It's an interesting system and I'm pleasantly surprised how quickly I'm grasping it (although there's still a lot more to do). As for the Japanese side of thing I've been translating a few e-mails of people trying to work out problems for practice and as I said it's not really technical stuff but there's still a vocabulary list I'm building up and need to work on before next week.

Everyone at the office is incredibly nice and supportive. We go out to lunch together every day and they get very excited about taking me to different restaurants in the area and have me try new things (like deep fried gherkins/pickles). They work incredibly hard and are amazingly smart, and are great at explaining things to mean and making sure I understand it.

So it's Saturday now and I'm just being lazy. I need to go to the shop and get some food and some other stuff, and then I'll be going to see my first ice hokey game with a lady from work. Then tomorrow I'm driving over to Katie's and we're going to go see Thor 2. *squeee*

So things are slowly working out and I feel more sane now that I've started working a full time job. I guess more news on the whole training trip and Thanks Giving later on.

UPDATE: I wrote the follow up but forgot to post it >_< Here is is