Well its been a while. 4 and a half month in fact, since my last blog entry. Id love to say it was because I had no internet connection or my computer was broken. Basically I’m lazy, although quite a few things have happened over the past few months. After a year of working in Tokyo I am finally at home in Kobe, although not for much longer. Some of you who might be reading this blog may already know that I had been given my notice by IKEA, but for those are unaware I will explain.
Since the last store build in Shin Misato, Tokyo, I have had 2-3 months of having to deal with the thought that I may not have a job when I returned to Japan. Unfortunately my thoughts were confirmed to be correct when I was told that my contract would be terminated, most of the time I enjoy being right but on this occasion I wish I was wrong. Luckily my contract contains a clause where IKEA have to give 1 years notice before termination, still being told you will not have a job in a years time is hard to take, especially in the current financial crisis.
So, after a few days to take everything on board I started to think of the future. What was I going to do? Where do I want to work etc. I was pretty determined not to go back to the UK and find a new position in another country. I heard about expansions in Thailand, New Zealand and Croatia. New Zealand sounded interesting as its a beautiful country, Thailand maybe and Croatia, maybe not. Canada has always been in my mind as a place to go after Japan, but I don’t feel that I’m finished with my stay in Japan. I enjoy living here, yes it can be quite difficult at times due to Language issues, especially when I receive letters though the post. I am committed to learning Japanese as I’ve always wanted to learn another language but I tend to learn better by my own accord rather than sitting in a classroom. So my priority was to find a new position within Japan.
My CV was sent to all stores in Japan and after a month or so of waiting I finally got an answer, as I thought, and as I said before my gut instincts are normally correct, the options were low on the ground, very low indeed, in fact just one. So what job is it? Well its not what I plan to have a career in, but after discussions I have accepted an offer from the Kohoku store as a member of IKEA FOOD. Although everybody involved knows that this is not what I want to do and that I will move to a more suitable position once something becomes available. The main thing and most important thing for me is that I will be staying in Japan as a local employee. I will still have my TE contract until April 2010, IKEA will still pay for my accommodation and other benefits etc.
So what happens next? Well a date of 1st June has been decided on when I will officially start working for the Kohoku store. I don’t know if I will be able to find somewhere to live in time so maybe I will have to live in temporary accommodation again. I will have to down size, I have made the decision to move into a apartment that I can be self sufficient once my TE contract finishes. At the moment IKEA will pay for my moving costs etc plus, when you move into a new apartment here in Japan you have to to pay 2 months rent in advance and key money. If I can find somewhere that I can comfortably afford, then I wont have to pay for moving costs advance rent or key money in the future.
Watch this space
I saw the Legend that is Papaya Suzuki today. He was outside NHK doing some kind of filming, not sure what it was about. Something to do with wheelchairs.
Papaya is the first Japanese famous person I’ve seen in the flesh who I actually knew who he is
The video below explains who he is
The other week I went to the massive golf driving range at Kasai Rinkai Koen near Tokyo Disney.
The complex is huge compared to any driving range I’ve ever been to. As you can see from the photo above it has 3 tiers and around 300 stalls. Everything is automated (as most things are here), there is no need for a tractor to drive out to collect the balls because they are collect via channels in which the balls run into due to the sculpted ground, but that isn’t the coolest bit about the collection of the balls. There are 3 greens which are used for target practice. Every 15 minutes or so a pole extends out the pin (or flag pole for you none golfers) by about 3 meters and the whole thing falls sideways to the ground and starts to rotate which in turn knocks the balls off the greens onto the sculpted ground. After a minute or two the pole flips back up vertically and retracts back into the pin.
The automated procedure doesn’t stop there, the balls are then delivered to every tier via tubes and are distributed to every stall. Once a ball is hit from the tee, the tee automatically retracts into the floor and pops back up with a ball all ready teed up for you, but not just teed up any old way, it is at the set-up hight you have requested on your control panel at the back of the stall.
It is a very cool system but it comes at a cost. Willow Valley near Clifton charge £1.50 for 46 balls, this one in Tokyo charge £7.82! So maybe I wont be going every week.
Check this out!! Googlemaps have added a feature called streetview. They have started taking 360 photos of streets in big cities around the world which means you can checkout my neighbourhood without actually visiting. Click on the link below to have a look around my Neighbourhood.
You can also check out Kyoto, Osaka and Tokyo.
Again nothing much happened this week, mostly work and the weather hasn’t been too great over the past 4 days. Tuesday I had the day off which worked quite well as it was sunny all day. So, I had my hair cut, bought some clothes for summer and I relaxed in Yoyogi Park where I started reading Murray Walkers autobiography.
Today (Sunday) it is overcast and looks a bit nippy outside but I really need to get out of the hotel today. Yesterday I spent all day in my room playing Command & Conquer 3 but since I’ve completed the game there is no reason to stay indoors. I think I may take the train to a park one stop after Tokyo Disney. I don’t think there is much there but as I said I need to get out of the hotel.
I’m back! for 11 weeks.
I know I’ve said this before but I will be updating my blog more often. The weather is getting better, it was 16 degrees in Kobe yesterday. Anyway I have bought a new fancy camera and I will be spending a lot of my time out of my hotel room.
I don’t know where I will be or what I will be doing but I plan to update my blog at least once a week.
On the 5th of April I visited Arashiyama in Kyoto with friends from work for Hanami. Hanami, for those who don’t know, literary translates as flower viewing but is most commonly associated with having a picnic under the Cherry blossoms.
The Sakura only blossom for about 2 weeks each year and you will see many many people taking advantage and enjoying themselves. Unfortunately if you go to a public park, like we did, it will be very busy. Have a look at my flickr photos on the right to see how busy it was.
After a few hours we packed up and decided to have a look at the Bamboo forest. It was very tranquille but it would have been nicer if it wasn’t so busy.
In total the whole day was a relaxing affair apart from the train to and from the park which was packed.