Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Juunbi No Syuu 「準備の週」

September is near. It's barely a week before my scheduled business trip. It's quite hard to prepare and pack up a bit earlier since I still don't know what things to bring. I'm torn in between, whether I should bring more business wear than the casuals or the other way around. What are the essentials that ould fit in the 20kg check-in limit? Oh, I just hope I would be able to optimally bring the things I may need for my 90-day stay in Japan.

With regard to my Nihonggo, well I'd say I had improved a bit. At least I've reached a JLPT Level 3 standard now. I do acknowledge that I still need improvement though. We've just crammed the whole 25 lessons of Minna No Nihongo book 2 in about a month and a half. There is more to learn when I get there anyway.

Last week, we just had our medical check-up and I was a bit worried because of my high bp streak last summer. I did check up with a hypertension specialist prior to work and I was given prescription meds. Those meds were supposed to be taken regularly, but ever since I have noticed my bp had normalized, I stubbornly stopped taking pills. I do believe that my hypertension was just a mild case, and my youthfulness would take care of it. No need for pills.

My latest clinical bp measurement was 130/80. A barely passable one, but hey, that's without taking any drug at all. Sometimes, drugs become overrated. We become too dependent on them that sometimes the meds themselves complicate things and confuse our immune system.

Aside from the medical check-up, we were also given flu shots and were subjected to a PPD test. The test was for TB detection. It is a skin test wherein the doctor injects the PPD into the skin and then a blister/bubble forms. The injected part of the skin will then be analyzed and measured after about 48-72 hours. If the blister did not die down or swelling occured, it is an indication that the person MAY be a carrier.

The 2-day wait really made us paranoid because the blister does not just die down immediately. So after the injection, we instinctively checked our forearms(where it was injected) almost every hour, wishing that we would no longer see the dreadful TB indicator. Thankfully after 2 days, I'm a declared negative.

Preparing for the business trip proves to be costly. I've just bought myself a suit; and If we are required to bring more business attires, then I have to buy more of it. Despite spending a lot here, it is rather more practical than buying last minute in Japan because for sure those are going to be way more expensive. I just hope my Greenhills black leather shoes would be able to endure 90 days in Japan. It wouldn't be its first time anyway.

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posted by ScIoN 1:41 PM |

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Work is Fun(ny)

I have been following up my UP clearance for weeks now. Almost everyday, I tried calling up the clearance hotline but just I couldn't connect. Out of the 2 local line numbers given, one seems to be always busy, and the other rings but no one answers.

Yesterday afternoon, I tried my luck calling again. The 'always busy line' finally connected with a ring on the other side (now that's a first). Someone picked it up, and since I was the caller I waited for the 'hello' answer. For about 20 seconds, there was no reply then I heard a doubtful 'hello' coming from a not-so-old woman's voice. From then, I said my hello and fired away with my clearance follow-up question.

Unexpectedly, the woman on the other line shrieked. It turned out that at the same time I called, the woman picked up the phone intending to call somebody. I think she was not actually a Registrar staff since she put me on hold and called another person to answer my queries. The woman, whom I can hear from the background, even told the staff she thought I was an 'aswang' for pouncing her on the telephone. They should not blame me for having a phone that does not ring. No wonder my previous calls were left unanswered. If only I've known, I could have imitated the icy 'bhooooooot' ym audible to give her a real scare. Anyway, the reg staff says I'm now cleared. yey! (transcript and diploma to go!)

Yesterday, Adrian, the company's first hired engineer (I thought it was me, later found out I'm just 2nd, hehe) just came back from his business trip to Japan. At the same time, it was also Cyril's (new hire) first day at work. All in all, our company is already 7 engineers strong. woohooo!(hahaha). Together with Ms.Tina, our General Affairs Manager, we had our very first company 'outing' err... lunch which we had at Barrio Fiesta.

Adrian is also a UP alumnus who had an undergrad degree of Computer Science then later on took MTM(Masters in Technical Management) in TMC(same bldg with ASTI). He worked under CiTech(Canon) for about 5 years, Lexmark(about a year?) and now is also a Bridge Engineer assigned at A-Link(Japan).

Adrian reported to our office to brief me and Elvin-san prior to our soon-to-be departure. Aside from the instructions and tips, he was also sharing his funny experiences in Japan. Adrian barely finished Minna No Nihongo book 1, which means his Nihongo knowledge was still inadequate.

One time, Adrian wanted to order softdrinks; thus told the waiter he wanted 'Softo'. Lately did he realize that 'Softo' means software in Japanese. 'Kola' is the apt term for softdrinks. He shared so many bloopers, which he refers to as 'kalokohan', that we had such a laughtrip in the office the whole afternoon. Since he had no companion in Japan, he usually just laughed at himself alone, which I think made him go loco a bit.

Next time, I would be the one doing those sort of 'kalokohan' in Japan.


posted by ScIoN 1:13 PM |

Friday, August 03, 2007

2 Weeks Notice


EDIT - with translation: (August 13, 2007)
I have just applied for my visa. Most likely, I'll be going to Japan on the 21st of this month. I am surprised. It was earlier than I thought, which was supposedly on September. I am not yet ready. In 2 weeks time, I have to study in order to be better in Nihonggo. I feel troubled...

[ I bet you guys had tried using the online translators. See and compare. :D This is just a direct translation of what I had posted weeks ago. Any information gathered from here may no longer be valid.]


posted by ScIoN 1:14 PM |

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Nosebleed Everyday

While studying at UP, I was able to take 12 units of Nihongo even though only 6 units were required (for eng'g students: 3 units free elective slot = 6 units language elective). All of the grammar lessons in Hapon 10-13 are actually based from 1 textbook, which is the Minna No Nihongo book 1 (Japanese for Everybody book 1). This book, containing 25 lessons, seems to be the standard reference for those who want to learn Elementary Japanese.

I enrolled Hapon 10 and 11 in separate semesters, in order for me to at practice Nihongo for at least one full school year. 2 years later (my graduating year), I opted to take 6 more units (Hapon12-13) in Nihongo in order to have something to do aside from Thesis. All in all, it took me 3 semesters to finish book 1 of みんな の にほんご。

Now at work, I am continuing my Nihongo studies for my upcoming client-based deployment. Under the same sensei (Weng-sensei) from Hapon12-13, I am to finish book 2 by mid August. Book 2 of Minna No Nihongo means 25 more lessons and a lot more Kanji (~500). Just a few months fresh of being JLPT level 4 certified, I am now given less than 2 months to be equivalently skilled at level 3, finishing the whole Elementary Japanese course. At least, good for me that I already had a background. My partner had to start from scratch; thus, taking a crash course in Nihongo. For his part, he has to finish the whole book 1 prior to our deployment. Good luck for both of us! ;)

I feel like a student, in fact I still am. Haven't felt the pressure of 'work' yet, at least while I'm still here in the Philippines. As for now, all we have to do is study Nihongo. I guess I should be grateful for now.

This month, 2 more Engineers have joined our company. JC has just transferred from NEC Toppan (same building, 15th floor) while Paul had been in Canon for 5 years before his 1 year job at a software company in Makati. The more the merrier, I believe.

We're still stuck at our temporary office here in CyberOne. I can't wait to transfer at our REAL office at IBM Plaza. I wonder when it would be finished.

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posted by ScIoN 2:57 PM |

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Location: Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines

ScIoN is a former Systems Engineer in Japan who specialized in industrial imaging and digital hardware design. He is now back in the Philippines pursuing graduate studies in Finance at the University of the Philippines - Diliman.



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