What the business be in Japan

Hello strangers. [Hopefully the haters and ignorant creepers have ventured away from my page.]

Again, I apologize for my lack of updates, but life here in the Land of the Rising Sun is still quite overwhelming. Life is fun, yet frustrating. It is fulfilling, yet discouraging. There will always be the good with the bad. One thing I learned from my nearly half-year stay in Japan is that you can only plan things to a certain extent.

I thought I had it all figured out before I came. I would study abroad in Japan in my final year of university and hopefully be able to jump start an international business career. English is my native tongue, and I have personality for days, not to mention a rather decent resume. Piece of cake, right?

No, not really.

In the past three months, I have discovered how unprepared I am in facing the reality of Japanese businesses. I was so naive and ignorant to think that Japanese business culture could somewhat conform with American business culture, or that maybe business culture throughout the world would be somewhat universal. I thought I could start the job hunt around February 2009, which gives me enough time to play for about one whole semester.

That was my first incorrect misconception. Luckily, I discovered a flier in the International Student Center at my university for a career fair that targeted foreign students. My gut told me to attend, and it’s a good thing my gut was correct. I quickly learned that these career fairs do not happen regularly and frequently like they do in the United States. My Japanese job hunting thus began in Dec. 2008, two months earlier than expected.

Then came the next big shock. I wrongly assumed that these Japanese career fairs would be exactly like what San Diego State has every couple times a semester. Various companies would pitch their tent and students can wander around at their leisure and network accordingly. They do this too in Japan, and additionally, they also provide 30 minute long seminars describing their companies and their job openings. However, it is ALL in Japanese. Now that I look back, it makes sense. Of course it would be in Japanese! I am in Japan for crying out loud. But for some strange reason, I thought that these companies would provide English seminars and English pamphlets. I realized that  Japanese companies who attend job fairs and are looking for “bilingual” students are looking for either native Japanese speakers who can speak a little bit of English, or most definitely English speakers who can speak Japanese at a level much higher than my broken conversational.

As I sat through countless seminars being able to only understand about half of the content, I thought to myself, I may not be able to ask any worthwhile questions because I would come out sounding really stupid, but at least I have my clean cut Alpha Kappa Psi approved resume! As I grasped my last bit of hope, I saw a number of fellow attendees rigorously filling out what turns out to be…a Japanese resume. Yes, I said filling out.

A Japanese resume is quite different from the American resume in many aspects. From what I have learned thus far, a Japanese resume is a blank form which you can purchase in bulk at your university. You have to stick a passport-like picture of yourself in the slot allotted for a picture. You must also write your educational background, sometimes dating back to primary school depending on how “impressive” your school name is. In the United States, your university name could work toward your advantage if you are seeking employment in the medical, law, or political fields. However, in Japan, school names count a lot more in most fields.

An American resume is a brief overview of your professional and educational experiences and you pitch yourself in the interview, whereas a Japanese resume is like writing an entire pitch for yourself on paper. Everything is done extremely systematically. Anything that seems even a slight bit of order creates panic.

This is my perception of Japan thus far, and I always remember that there will be the good and the bad days. As of right now, my original career goals in Japan seem bleak, and at the same time, I have much thinking to do.


Add comment March 8, 2009 chouei

Not-so New Year’s Resolution

The end of every year marks a time for reflection of the time spent in the past 365 [in this case, 366] days. Allow me to jump onto this bandwagon once again.

2008 was a good year. I can’t say it was a fantastic year, but it wasn’t a bad year either. On a scale between “horribly disappointing” to “mind-blowingly awesome”, I would say 2008 ranks somewhere along the lines of “I had fun like always.”

Every year comes with the good and the bad. I made the impossible possible, and if you don’t already know what I am referring to with that, it means that I enrolled in an astonishing number of units in one semester, finishing off what should be done in two semesters, so that I could clear the way to my current trip to Japan. By enduring this self-torture between January and May, I learned to truly appreciate the art of “Leslie-time” and relaxation between May and September. This is something that I had never understood until 2008. September to December was the time even further self-realization and growth. I learned that my first-impressions of people are usually wrong, and through that I learned to find the beauty within everyone. I learned that despite very different cultural upbringings and influences, some people are not so different after all.

With this, I will not make New Year’s resolutions. It seems to be a universal trend that New Year’s resolutions are never kept past 2-3 months. I realized that it is probably due to the fact that we title it “New Year’s resolutions,” as if you can automatically clean your slate and start completely anew. Noone can fully shake off their blunders of the past. What you can do however, is title your “New Year’s resolutions” as your “On-going Goals,” because that is really what these resolutions are about. You are always learning from your mistakes, thus making new goals that continually stem from your past.

My on-going goals are to continue to spend wisely, to continue learning more about the world, to continue admiring wonderful people, and to continue striving for my beliefs.

Happy New Year from Japan!

Add comment December 31, 2008 chouei

I Am Thankful

As it is Thanksgiving Day in the United States, I feel that although I am 6,000 miles from home, I should still reflect on my blessings of this year…

I am thankful for my family, who is always concerned about me; who always awaits for my newest updates of my Japan adventures; who will spend the money and effort to ship me clothes, an 18-pack of Orbitz gum, and a bottle of my favorite hot sauce.

Sriracha & Me

Sriracha & Me


I am thankful for my friends who, despite our busy schedules, try to keep in touch with me despite the geographical distance and 17-hour time difference; who keep me updated with all the happenings at home; who will flood my Japanese mobile phone with e-mails thus raking up my first phone bill.






I am thankful for my fellow JOY-ers & new friends, who have helped make Japan my new home; who have given me a wider understanding of the world; who accompany me on random all-night outings; who allow me to vent to them when I have noone else to vent to; who will create new Japan-glish words; who will fill my mind with へんたいthoughts; who will learn to love Jose Cuervo-sama with me; who consistently make me laugh and keep me 元気.


Another Long Crazy Night


I am thankful for the internet, which allows me to keep in contact with the people I love.

I am thankful for my small Japanese room because it disciplines me into being a much more tidy person.

I am thankful for the 40-minute subway/walk commute because it forces me to be better prepared for the day ahead and gives me a work out.

I am thankful for Japanese convenient stores that sell legitimate meals so that I do not have to cook all the time.

Happy Thanksgiving! Although my Thanksgiving day could have been better here in Japan [midterm failure, lack of sleep, rain rain rain, cold cold cold, another midterm tomorrow, being away from San Francisco, no more mashed potatoes at cooking club =P], I still count my blessings. The good definitely outweighs the bad.

Add comment November 27, 2008 chouei

The Biggest Japanese Challenge

Just as I had promised in my previous entry, I will lay off the political rants for now and finally fulfill my blog’s purpose by actually writing about my experiences abroad. Because I have not been keeping up with my blog updates, I have so many things I wish to share about Japan! Instead of blogging, I just kept a list of things that I want to mention…

Today marks the 5th week that I have been living in Japan, and to be quite honest, it has been anything but an easy five weeks. I honestly thought that I would be able to adapt to the Japanese lifestyle almost instantly because I consider myself to be an extremely adaptable person. However, it has proven to be much more difficult than I had originally anticipated. I have learned that it is one thing to travel to a different country, but it is another thing to be faced with the fact that this new, strange place is now what you must call home.

Don’t get me wrong. I am having the absolute time of my life in Japan, but in the past five weeks, I have definitely grown more as a person by understanding my personal capabilities. I find myself stepping out of my comfort zone each day and slowly becoming much more accustomed to the way of life here. My confidence in my Japanese speaking ability is slowly increasing, though I do know that I have a long path towards fluency. I have fully acknowledged and accepted that everything is and will be much smaller in Japan.

What I have finally come to terms with about myself this week is that I am experiencing culture shock. No matter how adaptable and versatile a person can be, culture shock is inevitable. However, I believe that my degree of shock is not as great because I never came here with the mentality that just because I am American, I can get away with doing things as I did in the U.S. I am here with the mindset that “When in Japan, do as the Japanese do.” I am trying to suppress my loud personality as much as I can in public because the Japanese culture is overall very reserved. OK…I’m not exactly succeeding with this task. Haha!

I do get homesick every now and then, especially with social mediums like Facebook that make the world smaller but at the same time make me miss home through all the pictures I see. It makes me want to work harder every time I end a conversation with a friend from home because these important people help me remember my purpose for being in Japan. So thank you!

And allow me to extend a special thank you to my good friend Miguel, who e-mailed me the other day and shared his usual inspiring words:

“Change is (always) scary — and most people are put-off by it or go into a state of denial (rather than confronting it) — but you, on the other hand, yearn for change. That’s a “Leslie Gene” that you should nurture, and one that I try to emulate everyday.”

To my fellow study abroad travelers wherever in the world you may be: There is nothing wrong with accepting weakness because we all have to go through weakness at some times during our adventures.

Add comment November 14, 2008 chouei

You Disappoint Me, California

Before I begin on my latest and hopefully final political rant for the time being, I must express my glee in Obama’s victory. After a long and disappointing 8 years, the Democratic party has finally gained control of the top office. Almost all news stories that I have been reading describe this event as a momentous part in American history with President-elect Barack Obama being our first African-American president. As momentous as that this is, let it not be forgotten that this is not the only reason why today such an important day in our history.

Obama is a representation of the new generation of leaders. He marks the waning end of the Baby-Boomer rule, and the beginning of a new type of leadership that the United States and the world will experience. I hold him to his promise to bring the change that we desperately need.

This year’s election has also been a momentous one for the people of my generation. Some people are voting for the first time, and others, like myself, have never been more involved in any election ever before. Though this may not be a very convincing sample, I was scrolling through my Facebook friends’ updated statuses, and I was so proud to see so many of my peers actively involved in this year’s election. Whether they sided with my views or not did not matter to me that much; it was so empowering to see the change in our mindsets: we CAN make a difference and our opinions do matter.

Now, on to the bad news. It saddens me to see that over half of California voters prefer hate over LOVE. They are not willing to accept the changing time, and as a result, they have voted to ban same-sex marriage in our state. I try to look toward the brighter side of things, especially if I am rooting for the underdog. Although 52% of California voters are against LOVE and promoting a basic civil right that should be entitled to all Americans, I know for a fact that this will not be the end of it. As I have already stated before, I will not stay quiet until this basic human right passes through to the rest of my country.

On an ending note, though I can’t believe that I am actually wasting a few minutes of my life writing this, if you don’t appreciate what I have to say, that’s fine. Comment all you want. Just remember. This is MY blog and these are MY words. Therefore, I can monitor the content to my liking as much as I wish. I consider myself to be rather fair, but the more hateful, immature comments you try to leave here, the less inclined I am to approve them.

Change is coming. Just you watch.

V^.^v & ❤

3 comments November 5, 2008 chouei

NO on Proposition 8

I know I should be writing about my experiences abroad, and I really do want to, but this matter seems to be far more urgent as the clock winds down upon November 4.

When I think of the United States, I think of freedom, as does anyone, right? Our country is the “land of the free,” where we can openly speak our minds, openly practice religion, and openly accept people regardless of their backgrounds. We pride our country in being one that supposedly does not discriminate against anyone. Although we have met our rough patches throughout our history, as our history continues, we should be striving toward fighting for our fundamental beliefs.

It is such hypocrisy that my fellow Americans, no, my fellow CALIFORNIANS from one of the most liberal states in the U.S., would support a ridiculous proposition that goes completely against our country’s fundamental beliefs. Proposition 8 is unjust in every aspect as it is based solely on religious preference. Correct me if I am wrong, but isn’t the U.S. supposed to be about religious freedom? Is it not true that we pride ourselves in being a country that does not discriminate against anyone?

Then why, why, WHY is Proposition 8 even on the ballot? Why are people spending money supporting this proposition, when all it will do is create more injustice in our nation? Are homosexuals evil people? If you answer yes, then tell me, what have they done to you? Have they been running around like you have, trying to convince you that heterosexuality is wrong? Other than their sexual preference, how are they different from you? They eat. They sleep. And they LOVE.

LOVE! Isn’t that what God supposedly stands for? Yet it is “God’s people” who are imposing this gross injustice upon their fellow Americans. From what I learned in school, God loves and accepts everyone for who they are. So shouldn’t “God’s people” be following in his example?

Times are changing, and people of the past need to open their eyes and see that Proposition 8 will not do any good for our country except take us back several steps. Even if Proposition 8 passes, this will not be the end of it. I can assure you that as long as I have my freedom of speech, I will not stop fighting for the fundamental right to love and marry. I am not homosexual myself, but there have been so many gays and lesbians who have influenced my life positively. To think that these beautiful people could have their fundamental right to marry for LOVE taken away by ignorant voters scares me.

This is about equality for all Americans.

If you have any sense of pride in being an American, and any love for your fellow citizens, you would vote NO on Proposition 8.



1 comment October 22, 2008 chouei

My First Blog from Abroad!

After 2 weeks of travelling throughout mainly southern China, I can FINALLY blog freely! Unfortunately, I forget one minor detail about China…most blogs are blocked; therefore, I was unable to blog about anything from China. Believe me, I had a lot to blog about.

I am not going to bore you with an entry about all my blog-worthy thoughts from my China experiences. Instead, I will give you a crash course on what I learned during my sixth and most recent adventure to China. Although I have traveled to China several times, I always have something new to learn and gain from my experiences. I hope that some of the following bullet points can help you in some way or another if you are to ever to travel to China. =)

– A four-star hotel in the mountainous vacation regions in China means no elevators in high elevation, a shower head but no bathtub, and a wake-up call consisting of 3 pounds on your door and a loud shriek.

– China makes it seem that all Tibetans apparently know how to dance, sing in Chinese and Tibetan, and love to wear Tibetan garments for tourism purposes.

– You can book a cheap hotel with complimentary rides to and from the airport right after you retreive your baggage. And if you strategize your conversation carefully, you will not get ripped off but pay an extremely decent price for a nice hotel.

– According to my uncle, it is perfectly fine to park on the freeway to gaze at the scenery. That’s because there is no sign indicated that you CAN’T park on the freeway.

– It is also ok to walk on the freeway with your wooden carts.

– Another freeway fact: If traveling in a large group with multiple cars, it is perfectly fine to wait for the other vehicles in your traveling group to arrive on the side of the freeway by the tollbooths.

– People of “ethnic minority” descent in China are permitted to have more than one child if, and ONLY if, they live in the countryside and are married to someone of the same ethnic descent. Go figure…

– Chinese like U.S. cars because they are heavier and because they are heavier than Japanese cars, they must be safer.

-Britney Spears would not have been criticized for this in China. It is perfectly fine to carry a child on your lap in the front seat, or while driving.

– You can leave your 2-year-old in your car by him or herself…at night….with the keys in the ignition.

– Your Mandarin will not improve if you listen to two different southern Chinese dialects for two weeks. In fact, your Mandarin will because tonally impaired.

– You can strike a deal with anyone about almost anything in China, including overweight baggage fees at the airport.

– A foreigner can get away with living in a no-star hotel for the best deal possible if you initiate conversation in somewhat decent Mandarin and if you look somewhat Asian.

Update: I really need a good night’s sleep. I arrived in Japan yesterday morning and I realized that I have flown a total of 9 times in the past 2 weeks…

1) September 18: San Francisco to Tokyo-Narita

2) September 19: Tokyo-Narita to Guangzhou

3) September 20: Guangzhou to Chengdu, Sichuan

4) September 22: Chengdu, Sichuan to Jiuzhaigou, Sichuan

5) September 24: Jiuzhaigou, Sichuan back to Chengdu, Sichuan

6) September 25: Chengdu, Sichuan to Guiyang, Guizhou

7) September 29: Guiyang, Guizhou to Changsha, Hunan

8) October 2: Changsha, Hunan to Shanghai [by myself!]

9) October 3: Shanghai to Tokyo-Haneda [by myself!]

I am pooped. Oyasumi nasai! Good night!

5 comments October 4, 2008 chouei

The Hypocrisy of the GOP


You gotta love Jon Stewart. The GOP is a joke. Watch the video in that link

From the Huffington Post:

Wednesday night on “The Daily Show,” Jon Stewart hit Karl Rove and Bill O’Reilly with damning evidence of their hypocrisy regarding Vice Presidential nominee Sarah Palin.

While Rove recently praised Palin’s experience as the mayor of Wasilla, Alaska, Stewart showed video of Rove trashing Virginia Governor — and former Richmond Mayor — Tim Kaine’s executive experience, listing all the cities that are bigger than Richmond and calling such a pick “political.”

Then, after recent video of O’Reilly describing Bristol Palin’s pregnancy as a family issue, Stewart showed a clip of the Fox News host blaming Jamie Lynn Spears’ parents for her teenage pregnancy.

Finally, after showing video of Dick Morris complaining about the rampant sexism in the media coverage of Sarah Palin, Stewart unveiled a clip of Morris saying that Hillary hides behind the sexism defense, and that anytime “the big boys” pick on Hillary, “she retreats behind the apron strings.”

“In Dick Morris’ defense,” Stewart said, “he is a lying sack of sh*t.”

1 comment September 4, 2008 chouei

McCain-Palin is a Joke

What is the deal with John McCain? He is a man who has not accepted the fact that his time has passed, and no matter how hard he tries to get with the new day and age, he will never fit the mold. He is nothing but a big crybaby with twisted ideals for the American society.

In what seems to be his most recent retaliation to his limited media hype, he chooses Sarah Palin, Alaskan governor of the past 2 years, as his vice presidential running-mate. Apparently he chooses face over qualifications. He hopes that by having a woman as his running-mate, it will draw in the hardcore Hillary Clinton supporters to vote for him. If those avid Clinton supporters have any brains, they will not look only on the surface to base their votes.

With the media coverage so far about Palin, it seems that they are trying to appeal her to the United States by making her seem like the ultimate traditional family person. She just gave birth to her fifth child this year, and he was born with Down Syndrome. Her oldest son is enlisted in the Army. Good for her, but this is completely irrelevant. McCain claims that because her son is serving in the Army, she knows how to run the country. If you are going to base someone’s qualifications on something like that, well then, I guess anyone whose children are serving in the military are just as qualified. Not to mention, her son has only been enlisted in the Army for less than a year and is stationed in Fairbanks, Alaska right now.

And only two days ago, Palin announced that her 17-year-old daughter is 5 months pregnants. Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t premarital sex looked down on in a conservative viewpoint? Aren’t contraceptives also seen as a sin because you are preventing procreation, which is God’s will or whatever you call it?  Well here you go! Teaching your conservative children that premarital sex is a sin doesn’t stop them from doing the deed. And obviously, by not teaching about contraceptives, they’ll just get pregnant. The media leaves gaping holes in their attempted cover-ups of this situation. Apparently everyone’s “proud” that Palin’s daughter is going to marry the baby’s father, but I can bet you that this was not decided until recently, and I doubt that this young girl actually wants to get married at such a young age. The teenage pregnancy should be irrelevant in the election, but I do not think that is so. This is complete hypocrisy on the Republican party’s part.

Does McCain WANT to lose? His main argument against Barack Obama’s lack of experience is completely void, so let’s see what McCain can dig up now. Palin has only served 2 years as Alaska governor, and served 2 terms as mayor of Wasilla, Alaska, “a town of 6,500 where the biggest issue is controlling growth and the biggest civic worry is whether there will be enough snow for the Iditarod dog-mushing race.” (Analysis: Palin’s age, inexperience rival Obama’s) After governing a town of 6,500 and state of not even close to 1 million people, how is she going to help with governing a country of over 350 million people?

Someone needs to e-mail Palin the Vice President job description. According to the following article Palin dissed veep job, only one month ago, Palin expressed her disdain with the Vice President position. “Larry Kudlow of CNBC’s ‘Kudlow & Co.’ asked her about the possibility of becoming McCain’s ticket mate. Palin replied: ‘As for that VP talk all the time, I’ll tell you, I still can’t answer that question until somebody answers for me what is it exactly that the VP does every day? ‘” The article later states that this can be seen as her way of implying that McCain is geared for a radical reform in Washington. You could say that, but honestly, after reading her quote for the first time, it appears that she is just plain inexperienced. One month later, she is the GOP Vice Presidential candidate.

Either McCain is trying to gain more control for himself in office if he were to win, or he’s just trying too hard to appeal to the Democrats. I would love to think that the American population will not be stupid enough to vote for McCain just because his running-mate is a woman, but then again, I have lost so much faith in my fellow citizens. After all, it is our nation’s people who voted W. Bush into office for two awful, unproductive terms.

I am a Hillary Clinton supporter, but now I am 100-percent behind Barack Obama. I would rather die than support McCain’s cause. If McCain wins in November, which I strongly believe he will NOT, I am not coming back to the United States until he is out of office or he passes, whichever comes first.


3 comments September 3, 2008 chouei

One World, One Dream Forever

So ends the 29th Olympiad hosted in Beijing, possibly one of, if not the most anticipated Olympics thus far. After witnessing the degrees of excitement that the people of China had for the Games, I knew that this was one sporting event that I could not bear to miss even if my life depended on it. I was not happy with NBC’s broadcasts, but I have to admit that they did one thing right. I am very pleased to see that despite all the taped broadcasts that claim to be “live” here on the West Coast, NBC at least opened their viewers’ eyes to some of the basics of Chinese culture that may be unknown to many in the American audience up until now. The comments I have received on this blog thusfar may not reflect what I stand for, but I still believe it: I believe that the open-minded people of the United States who followed the Olympics have grown to see the Chinese people and culture in a different, more positive light.

On a side note, I appreciate everyone’s input on my blog, even if most of them are opposing my point of view. I figured it as much since my choice of words in my previous posts would tend to draw in people who type in “Chinese Cheaters” in search engines because they are the ignorant readers truly believe that the Chinese are a group of lying cheaters. The term “Chinese cheaters” and “China cheaters” were the two keywords most widely used in search engines to land upon my blog. The next one is…”Shawn Johnson boobs.” The most unusual one is…”perverted pics of U.S. gymnasts.” What kind of perverts are you all? Haha! So if you are one of those people who are using the term “boobs” or “perverted” in your searches, and you end up here…sorry! Got nothing for ya! =)

Anyway, call me a nerd but my night life pretty much shut down for 16 days. Well, that’s an exaggeration because I stopped watching the “live coverage” when I got tired of hearing all the ridiculous allegations against the Chinese gymnasts and various “controversial issues” brought up during NBC’s coverage. All the heat about the controversial issues in China goes completely against what the Games are all about: worldwide unity. It seems like the U.S. media can not let go of the fact that China is changing for the better, and the American perspective is mauled from previous happenings in China. You can not expect a nation of 1.3 billion people to change into a free country over night. I truly believe that eventually China will be the greatest nation in the world whether the United States likes it or not.

One of the hottest issues of controversy during the Beijing Olympics was China’s human rights record. It seems like the criticism never ends. Don’t get me wrong. I am NOT saying that I agree with everything the Chinese does, but the people of the U.S. should be the last to talk about human rights. Aside from the century of enslaving Africans and African Americans, what about the internment of people of Japanese descent during WWII in the 20th century? Was that justified? The government suspected the Japanese residing in the U.S. of possible conspiracy with the Japanese government based solely on ethnic heritage.  Not one of the internees were proven guilty! Most of the internees were American citizens! If this is not bigotry, then I don’t know what is.

Of course, you can argue that these events were of the past, but if we are such a perfect nation now, wouldn’t homosexuals have the right to marriage? By depriving them of the right to marriage for LOVE is depriving them of a basic human right.

Also, everyone in the U.S. is seen as “equal” regardless of gender, but tell me why you do not see hardly any women CEOs of major corporations in the U.S. Why is it that statistically women are generally paid way less than men? Is there scientific proof stating that women are not as smart or capable as men, or are men just preferred over women in this patriarchal society?

What about equal representation of African Americans, Latino Americans, and Asian Americans in the mass media? Why is our media dominated by Caucasians? Are they more talented and attractive because of their ethnicity? This seems hardly equal to me.

China did an amazing job with hosting the Olympics, and I doubt that the U.S. could ever come close to putting on such a successful Olympics as they did for the past 2 weeks. Though some of their political issues are relics of our past [and some are still of our present], remember that China is still a developing nation. I am not saying that I agree with the way they run things, but at the same time, I have witnessed China first hand for myself because I have family there. Things are not as bad as we like to think. However, there is definite room for improvement, and as one world, we should all be more aware in an international perspective rather than being cooped up in our little bubble we call the United States.

More awareness and less ignorance and bigotry will eventually lead to more tolerance in the world.

1 comment August 28, 2008 chouei

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