Friday, March 26, 2010

Conquering the city of Tokyo

Day 4:

Last night I thought ahead about buying breakfast for this morning so I wouldn’t have to leave my room. What a smart decision. It was nice being able to have a slightly slower morning. We met down in the lobby for our daily meeting/briefing at 8:30am. After a slight recap of the week and reminder of the day’s events we took the trains to Kreab Gavin Anderson, an International PR firm. They have offices in 25 different countries on 5 continents. William Sposato spoke to us for a while about the company, his career and his time in Japan. He’s worked in Tokyo, London, and Bombay/Mumbai. I’m envious. I really hope that I can work abroad. I’ve been so fortunate with all I’ve seen thus far and I hope I can continue to explore this beautiful world of ours.

We also heard from a Japanese employee there. It was interesting to hear her perspective regarding the Japanese and business. Their culture is very different from ours. It’s a complete hierarchy system and everyone is very introverted. All of that said, Americans (and many other cultures) really stick out here.

After their presentation we spilt up for lunch in the area. Two friends and I tried a noodle shop down the street. It was delicious, like most of our Japanese meals. After lunch the entire group headed back to the hotel. I changed into some more comfortable clothes to explore the city with more friends. Four of us decided to go back to Asakusa to continue our souvenir shopping. We had hoped to visit Ginza too, but we got a little carried away in Asakusa. Since we cut it too close to do both of them we had some down time at the hotel before going out to dinner with several Japanese professionals.

We headed to a very interesting/strange restaurant on the other side of the train station. I didn’t look at the menu, but I can’t say I was a big fan of the food, at least what they ordered for us. Actually, I felt pretty sick after the meal. Rule to live by: don’t eat parts of a chicken you cannot identify. Aside from the mediocre food, the people I got to sit with were exceptional. We sat with several PR professionals who work at Fleishman-Hillard and David Marks who is the press attaché for the US Embassy. It was great to hear from the PR professionals who PR functions in this country and it was also great to hear from David Marks about living in Japan, working abroad and being in the foreign service. We also got a chance to speak with David Marks the following day (which I’ll mention in a bit). All in all, he really convinced me to look more into the Foreign Service.

After dinner I was pretty tired, so I just went to bed. I wanted to end this post with an observation about Japan. We had been warned that there wouldn’t be a lot of garbage cans, so many people have to walk with their trash. I thought it was kind of strange when our professor and guest lecturers mentioned this, but I didn’t think much of it. It was only when we got there that I realized how strange, or different rather, that is to the States. It was virtually impossible to find trashcans. You might see one at a train station, but other than that it was only in your hotel room. I tried to find one in the lobby of the hotel and couldn’t. So weird. Also, the ones in the rooms are tiny. Both of ours were filled daily. I don’t know where all of their trash goes!


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