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Browsing Posts tagged work



Inadvertently, my blog posts are now coming out at about a rate of once per quarter, which kind of sucks but hey what are you going to do?  I’m sure of the at most three people who still follow this blog (myself included), only one might be annoyed.  Oh well, let’s take a recap at what exciting and not-so-exciting things have happened to The Leong since our last episode.


. . .


Uh, surely something happened right??

Well I guess I should mention work, since that is what I have to do every day.  We had our busy season through April, which was pretty hectic but I’ve become a lot more comfortable with the job since last year’s busy season.  Of course once that was over things got much better and I don’t have to go in on weekends anymore to grind away at the sheer pile of excitement known as accountingologymatics.  That’s a word right?  Sorry I’m new at this stuff.  But really, I didn’t find the season to be that bad this year, although it was a lot of hours and a many times where sifting through paperwork and starting at a computer screen all day really got tiring.

Because work was busier, I only took one class during the fall semester, and it was an 8AM class – and yes, it was as awesome as you would imagine.  Especially fun was the 30-40 minute rush hour drive towards and through downtown St. Louis.  I suppose I am really fortunate now that my normal commute to work is less than 10 minutes, while only a few years ago it was more like an hour and a half, mostly on disgusting, crowded Tokyo trains and subways.  There is not much else to share about this past class (primarily because it would be too much excitement and you would probably be really jealous of me) although I am happy to say that I destroyed it and earned the grade “You’re the man now dog.”  I think this is worth a 4.x on the standard grade point scale.

Not soon after tax season ended, in April I took a weekend trip out to Bloomington to meet up with some friends.  It was awesome to see everyone, and going out in Bloomington with friends is still a lot of fun.  I don’t think it would be a lot of fun if you were by yourself, because the population has definitely stayed the same average age while I have aged a bit in the past 6 years.  OK so that last sentence is unnecessary, because 1) who would go out by themselves? and 2) of course it is more fun with friends.  Never mind.  And in case you haven’t noticed by the lack of coherence in this post, I am just typing as fast as I can, with little to no editing or care given to trivial matters like “paragraphs,” “writing flow,” or “engaging readers.”  But yes Bloomington was a lot of fun, and as proof of the kind of misfits I was hanging out with, I would like to share this photo of the infamous Nikolai “Hold Button” Roberts7000.

I took another vacation last month, but that will have to wait until my next post.  It should not take me another 3 months to get around to writing it, I swear.

Change: Yes, I did.


Now that I look at the title I gave this entry, I’m a little embarrassed with myself. Ha.

The last two weeks or so have been pretty good. I finished up my old job at the head office on the 2nd, an overall short day because I was only in the office from about 10AM to 3:30PM, with about 30 minutes in there for lunch. It was also a mega busy day, with reports and text material for a mini-course I was writing to be finished. I was pretty much either cleaning stuff up on my computer or in my desk or typing away at my keyboard the entire day. Headed out of the office to go teach way up in northern Chiba, and got back around 9PM. Had a small party at Umaimonya as a kind of “graduation” party. It was strange to think that I’m done with that company, having worked there for so long. OK I guess it wasn’t really that long, but even my time at the head office seemed a lot longer than it actually was. Not in a bad way really – I just felt comfortable working here after less than a year.

Now for the change. I’ve started working for this new company, and from home! It’s a totally different industry, and I’m working on developing the business side since the company is really young and new. There’s a potential for more travel this year, and I’ll be staying here in Japan for the time being. First things to be done are the basics like a company logo, website, reading through a bunch of technical and scientific documents, and in general just trying to get myself settled into a new line of work. Working at home and with flexitime is of course awesome, but also as expected pretty difficult to stay focused. Since a lot of my work is done sitting in my apartment at the computer, the exact same environment that I’m usually in when relaxing at home, it’s tough to switch to work mode. Like right now. I’m slowly getting acclimated to it, and it’s nice to be working in a job where I have more freedom and impact. This is definitely making me want to move to a bigger apartment where I can have a nice desk setup though.

Other than working, I guess there’s nothing super interesting going on. Went out the other night with Brian and Andy, which was nothing out of the ordinary, until we were talking outside of AMPM and this weird drunk hobo (I think) in a yellow coat started talking to us. The guy couldn’t speak English at all, and we all pretty much acted like we didn’t understand Japanese, just saying stupid stuff to him to amuse ourselves. I guess that’s happened quite a few times in the past too, right? Well somehow we ended up talking to this guy for like 3 hours, hanging outside near AMPM and the 24-hour McDonald’s. I guess it was kind of a fun way to spend the night, but after a while we were all getting tired of this weird hobo yet couldn’t shake him. I remember when the other guys both escaped into McD’s, leaving me stranded with the hobo. As soon as I realized that I was stuck, I went and found the guys. We thought we were safe. The we looked behind us at the window and realized he was right behind us. Then he came in and continued his “conversation.” I think hobos love talking to foreigners late at night.

Oh nine


It’s almost the end of January and I haven’t written a blog since 2008. So, uh…Happy New Year? Haha. The past 25 days have been pretty busy, but like a lot of days over the past few months, they’ve been busy with nothing. Just filler I guess. I won’t bother writing all the little details, mainly because I don’t remember most of them. I will write though, just because I feel like it.

I left the US early in the morning on January 1. My trip to the US was really awesome but way too short. The flight from StL to Dallas, then from there to Narita, was pretty uneventful. I seem to remember being annoyed at a group of guys, either Korean or Chinese, who were sitting around my area on the plane. They each had a giant suitcase as carry-on, and were wondering why all their stuff wouldn’t fit in the overhead bins. Gee, I wonder. Then also the old dude sitting next to me and blocking my access to the aisle must have been some kind of robot, because I’m pretty sure he didn’t use the bathroom the entire 13 hour long flight. Even after meals and drinks, when a lot of people would get up and at least walk around, he sat there continuing to watch the crappy airplane movies. That was a annoying because I always feel slightly bad about waking someone up to get out of my seat on a plane. But hey, I had to go.

Got back to Japan on the afternoon of the 2nd local time. Went to bed at a fairly normal time, but after that for the next half a week I had pretty bad jetlag, which was terrible since work started on Monday. I lived through it though. Was pretty tired at my department’s New Years dinner though, since we went to some Italian restaurant that was trying to give the worst service in the history of the planet. We were literally the only customers in the restaurant, but a normal meal took about 4 hours. Not that it was a super fancy, supposed-to-be-way-long dinner, they were just mega slow. The food was honestly pretty good, but not worth giving up an entire night. Let’s see… any other work-related stuff over this month? Well we got a new guy in the office, and I directed the recording of a CD to go along with a new textbook. That was kind of cool. I’ll be wrapping up at this job on Monday the 2nd, so time is ticking down.

I was in Kumamoto all last week doing part 2 of the course I did in November. Much of the same, although Brian went along this time to work as well. It was raining and stuff most of the week, so we didn’t do any sightseeing or anything, but we did go out with the students the first night which was pretty fun. Kumamoto ramen is really good. Went to a place last minute called こだいこ (Kodaiko) which may have been the best ramen I’ve ever had. Also had awesome Mexican food, which is unexpected but was a great find. Headed back on Friday night, since Derek was in Tokyo and we had a big Yakiniku Summit Battle on Saturday night at 風風亭 (Fuufuutei) in Shibuya. 2500 yen for 2 hours of unlimited Korean BBQ is pretty hard to pass up. We were all pretty much in a food coma afterwards and just walked around in the cold for a few hours. I did see about 5 flakes of snow, but I guess that’s about all Tokyo got last night.

Oh! I also finally broke down and got a sweet TV. Since the last one I had was like a 25″ old school one that was broken (broadcast antenna didn’t work anymore) from when I was working in Goi, I figured it was time to just splurge and get a real nice one. I got a big Sharp Aquos, the one I’d been looking at for a while, at Yodobashi on sale plus 20% in points (store credit). Really good deal, and I’m happy with it. For how much I watch TV, this was a good investment I think.

So yeah, like I mentioned up above, I’ll be wrapping up stuff at my current job in a week and a day. Then I’ll be kicking it high gear into the new gig, developing a new company and trying to make it a success. I think it’s a lot more of what I want to do for a living (not permament, just for now), and the freedom is something I need. I’ll be doing a lot of work from home, here in Japan, for now and we’ll see how it goes. I’m pretty excited about it. Oh, and by the way in case you handful of readers haven’t noticed over the past few months, I’m being a lot more vague about my work and stuff here on the blog. It’s not like I’m scared of who is reading this exactly, but I’ve come to learn that a lot more people read this blog than I always imagine. Sure I realized from the beginning that I’m posting this on the web, accessable to anyone, but I kind of always thought that only a few of my close friends will read this when they’re bored, when I post something funny, or when I make them look at it. But every now and then I’ll hear about someone outside of those parameters reading it, and everyone it’s still weird. I remember a while back a friend of a friend who I’d never met was like “Oh, we’ve never met? I think it’s just because I read your blog.” Straaange. Either way. I’ll still be keeping it real, just not as out in the open as I may have been before. I don’t think it’s that much of a change. If you know me in person then you probably know the details to fill everything out down to the last detail. It’s not that my life is that interesting anyway.

This post is pretty poorly organized because I just sat down for 15 or 20 minutes and let my brain puke onto the keyboard. Good night!


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What’s Turkey Day without turkey? Well, just a regular old day here in Japan. I worked late, grabbed some Burger King in Funabashi after my lesson, and pretty much had the most un-festive Thanksgiving ever. Oh well.

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone, especially those who are able to eat turkey and pig out on this day like you should. I’ll be sure to eat twice as much turkey come Christmas in St. Louis.

Oh, and on a 500% completely different subject, have you ever seen a deaf person talk on a cell phone? I think I saw it for the first time today. No, I’m not talking about someone partially deaf screaming into a handset. Since a lot of Japanese cell phones have video conference-ish cameras, you can do video calls. The guy I saw outside the station was signing at his phone. At first I thought it was some crazy guy trying to hex his phone, but I’m pretty sure he was using sign language (with 1 hand?).

Land of the Rising Bear



I’m on my last night in Kumamoto (熊本), where I’ve been on a business trip for the past 5 days. I left Tokyo on Monday evening after working as usual in Shinjuku. It was my first time to use Haneda Airport, so I guess that was kind of cool. I was a bit surprised at how smooth the whole process was. Since it was a domestic flight, I didn’t have to worry about showing ID ever, was only going for a short time so didn’t have much luggage, and slept the entire 2 hour flight. It felt more like riding on a local train than getting on an airplane. I guess since nowadays pretty much the only time I fly is to go between Japan and the US, I was mentally preparing for a huge ordeal of ridiculous security checks and other stupid warnings against the terrible threat of bottles of water.

Arrived in Kumamoto and hopped on the last bus from the out-in-the-middle of nowhere airport to my hotel at the Kumamoto Kotsu Center (熊本交通センター). The hotel was actually pretty nice, despite being so cheap. A big part of this was due to the fact that they didn’t have any single rooms available when I checked in, so I got a triple instead. Since it was 3 twin beds instead of 1 bigger one I guess that wasn’t so great, but my room was massive, so I think it was worth it. Got up bright and early Tuesday to start teaching. This week was a similar intensive seminar to a few I’ve done in the past, but my class this time was really young compared to the ones I did before for the same organization. That was pretty sweet.

Let’s see… what else did I do of note while here? I tried Kumamoto ramen, which is supposed to be famous. It was really good, but to be honest, ramen is ramen and I think local specialties are just another one of those things Japanese people like to harp on about. I did try basashi (馬刺し), which I understand being more special because it’s harder to find in other places. Basashi is raw horse meat, which sounds gross for two reasons (raw meat and horse), but it was actually pretty good. I tried 3 different kinds: straight up raw horse meat, raw fat from some part of the horse (near the mane, maybe?), and the liver. (see pic below) All of it was a lot better than expected, but also mega expensive. Tried some different Kumamoto shochus, fried horse cutlet skewers (串カツ), and another local dish called karashi renkon (辛子レンコン), which is lotus root stuffed with mustard. It was an expensive meal, but I talked to the mother and daughter working for like 2 hours while I ate, and then with some old alcoholic dude who showed up a little bit before I left.


On Thursday night I went out with my students to a nabe restaurant then karaoke, which was a lot of fun. With my students all being around my age, I think it was easier for me to hang out with them and not feel like I was just entertaining a bunch of old people. One student drank so much that the next morning during class he had to leave to go puke. I don’t think I’ve ever had a student do that, haha. I’m coming back here in January to teach the second half of this seminar, and I think I’ll have the same class. Either way they all want to go out again, so that’ll be cool.

I’m staying at the Kumamoto Royal Hotel now, which is nice and cheap but not as good as the Kotsu Center Hotel. The bathroom feels like an airplane lavatory and the location is a little further away from the main drag. It’s OK though, since it’s only for 2 nights. Today I went around to do a little sightseeing after sleeping a ridiculously long time. Waking up for 4 days straight at 6AM does that to you. I got to see the Kumamoto Castle (熊本城), which is “one of the great castles of Japan.” It was pretty sweet, but it started raining in the afternoon so I had to cut my sightseeing short at that. I did some shopping in the afternoon and have been spacing out for the past few hours in a Popeye net cafe. I’ll probably crash early tonight before waking up and flying back to Tokyo in the morning. Having a party with Matt and other old co-workers at night, then back to work as usual on Monday.

This was a good trip overall but I was pretty tired almost the entire time. I didn’t get any JLPT studying done, although I naively thought I would. Oh well. I’ll upload better/more pictures when I get home – these are just from my cell phone.

Quick mindbarf

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I’ve been neglecting my blog for the past few weeks primarily because of the rhythm of work and the everyday cycle of work-sleep-wake up-repeat. I’ve said that before, I know, but it’s pretty true. As easy as things are, it’s tough when you have such a long commute in the morning and evening. Today (Monday the 3rd) was another BS Japanese national holiday, Culture Day (文化の日), so I had the day to relax. More importantly, my work week is now shortened to 4 days.

Next week, I’m heading down to Kumamoto for the first time on a business trip. I’m teaching from Tuesday to Friday, then have the weekend to goof off and be a tourist to the max. I don’t really know much about the area, except that there’s a big castle, a monument for Miyamoto Musashi, and a mountain that I realistically won’t get around to. Also people keep telling me that Kumamoto ramen and raw horse meat (basashi, 馬刺し) are the local delicacies, so I’ll definitely be eating those. I’m looking forward to that week. I’ll be staying at a hotel close to the seminar site, meaning the commute will be nothing, plus I finish at 5:10 everyday meaning I’ll have a lot more “free time” than I do with my regular schedule. I’ve never been to Kyushu, so this will be a cool trip. Plus work is paying for everything except my last 2 nights in a hotel (when I’m on my own), so you can’t beat that.

I’m coming back from Kumamoto on the 16th in the afternoon, giving me just barely enough time to head back to Chiba from Haneda, after which I’m meeting up with the old Goi crew to have a party with Matt, who’s coming back for a visit. It’s going to be a busy Sunday, followed by a rough Monday at work. But it’s just 5 regular days of work before a sweet 4-day weekend! (another BS holiday and a vacation day to use it up).

I think that’s about it for now. Next time I post we’ll probably know who the next President of the US will be. And yes that was just an obligatory reference to the election. Don’t worry, I’m not going to get political.

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