April 2012 Archives

Last week George talked about his experience while working in Japan, he talked about the Japanese work ethic and very expensive fruits and vegetables. Today we will read about Karaoke and temples - a way to escape the noise.

Karaoke time - work hard, party hard

2_shopping_in_shibuya_kl.jpgJapan is a country characterized by extremes. Work hard and relax harder. An intensive day in the office can easily turn into an after-work karaoke session that can be just as demanding as work. When your stylish manager in his impeccable suit with matching Louis Vuitton socks lets loose and breaks into a bad ass rendition of Ricky Martin's "Livin la Vida Loca" and receives dance backup by cute office ladies, you know you have finally arrived in Japan. Fifty year old engineers take out their smokes, light up and start singing classic Japanese love songs. When you all are done the company pays and the two hour karaoke session has cost the equivalent of one month's rent.

Even though there's this prejudice that Japanese people are very reserved, they aren't shy to ask you personal questions when you're going out. Your girlfriend or boyfriend will be a major topic besides who you'd fancy in the office. Your mum-in-law is nothing against a bunch of curious Japanese office ladies. Japanese people are very friendly, polite and well mannered though. In the suburbs you'll see unlocked bicycles and people leave their bags unattended when going to the toilet in the Shinkansen. You can be sure that it's still there when you come back.

In this part of our Working Abroad series, George talks about his time and experiences while living and working in Japan.

1_people playing pachinko-a_pinball_game_kl.jpgPachinko, a pinball gambling gameJapan - the land of the rising sun, the land of worker bees, neon skylines, high-tech gadgets and cats as train station masters. There are a lot of cliches and mysteries surrounding Japan. Quirky Japanese TV shows, weird gadgets and a pop culture that's strange and mesmerizing to non-Japanese people, have all done their part. Japan is far away from most people and its culture is impenetrable to the majority of these people due to the language barrier. Nevertheless most people are curious about how Japan really is.

I have been to Japan several times since I was a little kid - to visit relatives, to go on holidays and to sight see. But it has always been a big dream of mine to live and work there, to see how the country really ticks and not just experience it as a mere tourist.

Our Working Abroad series has already taken you to New York City, Kuala Lumpur, twice to Great Britain and to the Philippines. In the sixth part of our series, Maria is telling us about her experience while working in Strasbourg as an intern at the Franco-German television channel arte.

Hauptgebäude_Arte_kl.JPGTowards the end of my studies at the University of Mainz (Germany) I had the opportunity of doing an internship abroad. I chose Strasbourg in France for the internship because I like this country very much and always wanted to look behind the scenes of the famous Franco-German television channel arte.

Fortunately I was able to conduct a three-month internship during the summer because during the summer, Strasbourg is the most beautiful place to be and it shows its most lovely side.

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