Archive for the ‘Japanese Arbeit’ Category

A Story about House-moving sounds super boring…Well you haven’t been to Japan yet! My story, or should I called ‘a knight’s tale, includes world famous heroes like a Japanese version of Zorro, a not so evil Agent Smith, an Asian League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, and was so full of dramatic twists and anticipation to which even Hollywood writer would look at as a source for inspiration. So lean back, relax and let me be your guide.

Eine Geschichte über das Umziehen kling super langweilig…Dann wart ihr noch nicht in Japan. Meine Geschichte, oder sollte ich gleich Heldensaga sagen, involviert weltberühmte Superhelden, wie die japanische Version von Zorro, einem nicht ganz so bösen Agenten Smith, einer asiatischen Liga der Außergewöhnlichen Gentlemen und war so voller dramatischer Wandlungen und Spannung, dass selbst Hollywood Autoren sie als Quelle für Inspiration verwenden wollen. Lehnt euch nun zurück, entspannt euch und lasst mich euer Reiseführer sein.

All my stuff

All my stuff

Zorro, help me out!

My first hero showed himself 2 weeks before I actually even started looking for a new place. It all began with a little note in my post box; a mystical letter from a yet unknown person, written by hand, as if it were from a time before impersonal mails, texts and tweets. This letter was written by my neighbor from the 4th floor, who I had not yet met, but who was certainly aware of my existence. He told me that he was just about to move houses himself and that he noticed the Mexican flag hanging in my window, a reminder of the time when I lived in this beautiful country. Just like Zorro himself could not have done it better, he offered his help to this poor Mexican fellow (well at least in my heart I am Mexican) and gave me a brand new washing machine, fridge, freezer and Micro-wave. Muchas Gracias Amigo, you just saved this poor foreigner a lot of Money!

Mein erster Held zeigte sich schon zwei Wochen bevor ich überhaupt das Unterfangen ‘Umziehen’ in Angriff nahm. Es begann alles mit einer kleinen Notiz in meinem Postkasten, einem mystischen Brief von einer mir noch unbekannten Person, mit Hand geschrieben, so als wäre er aus einer Zeit vor all den unpersönlichen Mails, SMS und Twitter-nachrichten. Der Brief war von meinem Nachbarn aus dem vierten Stock geschrieben worden, welchen ich bis dato noch nicht kennen gelernt habe, der jedoch sich meiner Existenz durchaus im Klaren war. So sagte er mir, dass er kurz davor war selbst umzuziehen und dass ihm meine Mexikanische Flagge, eine treue Erinnerung aus der Zeit, als ich noch in diesem wunderschönen Land lebte, in meinem Fenster aufgefallen sei. Und als könne es Zorro selber nicht besser machen, bot er seine Hilfe diesem armen Mexikanischen Mitmenschen (naja in meinem Herzen bin ich ja noch Mexikaner) an und übergab mir seine brandneue Waschmaschine, Kühlschrank, Tiefkühler und Mikrowelle. Muchas Gracias Amigo, Sie haben diesem armen Ausländer grade sehr viel Geldausgeben erspart.

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One benefit of working in the Japanese Car-industry is that you get to see a lot of very nice cars. Right now for example Tokyo hosts a massive Motor Show, with many new cars from Japan and the world. So my boss gave me a ticket and the day off in order to “educate myself about the newest trends”. And since most of you probably won’t have the chance to see the Tokyo Motor Show yourself, I thought I share some of my impressions with you.

Die Arbeit in der japanischen Autoindustrie hat den Vorteil, dass man eine Menge wunderschöner Autos zu sehen bekommt. Im Moment ist Tokyo zum Beispiel Schauplatz einer riesigen Motorshow, mit vielen neuen Autos von Japan und der ganzen Welt. Aus diesem Grund gab mir mein Chef ein Ticket und den Tag frei „um mich über die neuesten Trends weiterzubilden“. Und da die meisten von euch wahrscheinlich keine Chance haben selbst zur Tokyo Motor Show zu gehen, dachte ich mir, dass ich einige meiner Impressionen mit euch teile.

I saw old cars, new cars, big cars and super tiny cars; family cars, transporter cars, sport cars, racing cars; cars running on fuel and millions of electric cars; many Japanese cars and lots of German cars (French cars too, but hey who cares, they are French); cars in every possible colour, shape and even material (one had a skin made of Jeans),  cars standing still, spinning around and even cars hanging from the walls; cars that looked like Motorbikes, Motorbikes that looked like cars, toys in the shape of cars and cars in the shape of toys; and on top of that all lots of sexy girls(Believe me even a booth advertising tires became super crowded once a cute little Japanese model was standing next to them.) So yeah; all in all the perfect place for grown up boys!

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Let's Begin

Working at a Japanese factory for one month gave me a unique insight into a special part of Japanese society; full of chain smokers, machine-slaves and endless conversations with myself.

Meine einmonatige Arbeit an eine Japanischen Fabrik gab mir einen einzigartigen Einblick in einen sehr speziellen Bereich der japanischen Gesellschaft, voll von Kettenrauchern, Maschinensklaven und jeder Menge Selbstgespräche.

Two months ago I started working at a Japanese manufacturer (check out my first month). Even though I already entered the sales department of the company, I had to work for more than a month at one of our factories as part of my training program. I thought it would be a brilliant way to get out of the office and get some firsthand experience. And believe me, I gained experience that will last a lifetime!

Vor zwei Monaten begann ich meine Karriere bei einem japanischen Manufakturunternehmen (seht euch meinen ersten Monat an). Obwohl ich schon vom Sales Department eingestellt wurde, sollte ich noch im Rahmen meines Trainingsprogrammes für einen Monat an einer unserer Fabriken arbeiten. Ich dachte, dass mir das eine einmalige Möglichkeit geben würde um mal aus dem Büro rauszukommen und Erfahrungen aus erster Hand bekommen. Und glaubt mir, die Erfahrungen, die Ich sammeln konnte reichen für ein ganzes Leben.

The Machine-Goddess

Have you ever seen the movie METROPOLIS? No, well it’s about time for you to do it! I never thought that an 87 years old movie (!!!) could capture my feelings in such a strong way, but as soon as I started my first week at the factory I thought: I am caught in Metropolis. My first job was to stack little metal tubes on top of each other and to put them into a machine. A little bit like Jenga for adults. The man, who showed me how to do it was a nice little grand-dad, probably just one year away from his retirement; but gosh he was so quick in doing it. And then he said “I’ll be right back” and gave me a cheeky smile…The next 4 hours he was never seen again and I was stuck with a machine that was eating my metal tubes much quicker than I could stack. This was the day when the machine became my goddess (in German the word machine is female). Every day I would talk to the machine, pray to the machine to let me stack my little tubes really quick, swear at the machine when it was too quick for me and hope that it would break down just for a couple of minutes, so I could gain a little break from stacking. I was working at the machine and for the machine….never with it. The machine became my master, telling me when I would get a break and when not, and I; I was its humble servant. (more…)

Testing the products...

Testing the products…

When I arrived a month ago in Japan I had no idea what to expect. All I knew was: I am going to work at a Japanese company, for many many years! After a 3 days long special introduction to the company I finally met the other new employees that entered the company the same year. I received a super warm welcome from everybody and despite starting 4 months later than them they made me feel like being a part of the family from my very first day. Thanks to their help, support and patience, especially regarding my very low Japanese understanding, I was able to master all the challenges of my first month and actually enjoyed it quite a lot.

Als ich vor mehr als einem Monat in Japan ankam, hatte ich noch keine Ahnung was mich erwarten würde. Ich wusste nur: Ich werde in einer japanischen Firma arbeiten, und das für viele viele Jahre! Nach einer 3 Tage langen Einführung in das Unternehmen, konnte ich endlich die anderen Neuankömmlinge, die auch dieses Jahr anfangen, kennen lernen. Alle hießen mich herzlichst willkommen und obwohl sie schon 4 Monate vor mir angefangen haben, gaben sie mir sofort das Gefühl ein Teil der neuen Familie zu sein. Nur dank ihrer Hilfe, Unterstützung und Geduld, vor allem im Zusammenhang mit meinem schlechten Japanisch-Verständnis, war ich in der Lage den ersten Monat erfolgreich zu überstehen und sogar zu genießen.

All in all the first month felt like being back at school. Every day we received lectures about various topics, ranging from “Japanese Business Manner” to “The 7 Ways of Success” and even one lecture on “How to read a Newspaper properly”. Since they were all held in Japanese my biggest challenge was to make an interested looking face even if I only understood fractures of what was going on and never to fall asleep. So basically just like University.

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I started my journey at Limbo, the midpoint between two different worlds, the dividing line between my past live and an unknown future… or in my case the Berlin Airport. 30 minutes ago I was still in my own house, surrounded by people that speak my language, understand my habits and culture. That is all gone now. I am at the one place that no one really wants to stay long at, unless he is hiding from the NSA, and I know as soon as I board the plane there is no turning back: A new life awaits me…

Ich begann meine Reise im Limbo, dem Mittelpunk zwischen zwei unterschiedlichen Welten, die feine Line zwischen meinem bereits gelebten Leben und einer unbekannten Zukunft… oder in meinem Fall der Flughafen Berlin Tegel. Vor 30 Minuten war ich noch in meinem eigenen Haus, umgeben von Menschen, die meine Sprache, Gewohnheiten und Kultur verstehen konnten. Das ist nun alles Vergangenheit. Ich bin an den einen Ort angekommen, an dem eigentlich niemand so recht lange bleiben möchte, es sei denn er versteckt sich vor der NSA, und ich weiß sobald ich in das Flugzeug steige gibt es kein Zurück mehr: Ein neues Leben erwartet mich…

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Ueno at night

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Being able to work in Japan as a foreigner can be a long and nerve-racking process! There are many different websites and blogs (further down is a list of useful sites) on how to get a Job in Japan, but I have the feeling that around 90% of these sites only talk about teaching positions. What about NON-teaching jobs? What kinds of jobs are there? How can I apply for a job in Japan? What skills do I need to bring? I am certainly not able to answer all the questions regarding Job-hunting in Japan. However what I can do is to share my own experience in the field of Shuukatsu (就活, Japanese job hunting) and how I got a workplace there. If you really want to work in Japan you have to keep the 6 P’s in mind!

Have a PLAN

Just as with every kind of job hunting it is important to have a plan. The most important question you have to ask yourself apart of “Do I really want to work in Japan?” is “When do I want to start?” If you want apply for teaching positions with the JET it is often enough if you ‘only’ apply 9-6 months in advance. However if you are looking for a non-teaching Job in a Company the application period becomes usually much longer. Japanese people tend to start applying for jobs 2 years in advance. I myself got my job offer a year in advance. That does not mean that you cannot apply later, but the earlier the start the better! Most companies have also only one date during the year when they welcome all their new employees (usually in April). So it is important for you to keep in mind for what year and period you will apply for. This however can be also negotiable. My company allowed me to join them 4 months later then everybody else, but again that was an exception rather than the rule of Japanese companies.

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This is the english article, bitte hier klicken für die deutsche Version.

My 10-steps instruction of how a simple thing like printing one single page can turn into a 2 hours odyssey, where you will get to know nearly all of your campus and will make a lot of new friends!

Step 1: It is 10:30 and you want to print a page in your own dormitory, but the Internet doesn’t work. But hey, don’t worry you have to submit the paper by 1 o’clock (more then enough time) and you life next to your own University. So you decide to go to one of the many printing-places that are shown in your campus map!

Step 2: You arrive at the Building and everything is closed. You wonder what is going on and decide to go to another Building.

Step 3: After going the whole way up to the 6th floor you are standing outside of another closed Computer room. Confused as you are, you decide to go to the office and ask someone. There someone explains to you that there are only a few computer rooms open, because of the summer holidays. The nice and friendly person sends you to the closest available room which is on another building. (more…)