The Bilingual Career Forum Story

So, the way I even heard about this bilingual Japanese/English career forum is that my Japanese roommate from before I had considered studying Japanese, Ko-star, went to the Boston version. It both inspired me and made me jealous when I realized that “wow, Ko-star is totally fluent in two very economically valuable languages, and here I am messing around with nothing but a good-but-not-4.0 GPA to my name”.

Where did I get the idea to finally go myself? Well, as you probably know, a lot of colleges in the US have career days and stuff. But somehow, I couldn’t bring myself to go through the suit-wearing, resume-writing, smiling motions. I always admired my classmates who were capable of doing that. Because, dude, we all know what college is actually like. Why, suddenly, when it’s a “career fair”, do we wear suits and act like we really learned from those classes, when, at the time, we were just trying to get them out of the way? I’m not saying this to put down education, I am putting down classes, which even professors and instructors will readily admit, are flawed. I don’t know. I sound like a whiny teenager, but, I really did feel like a complete fraud in interviews, wearing a suit, doing my adult-sounding “deep voice”, talking about my school experience like I actually gave a crap, and trying to spin every little tangentially related job I had done into “work experience” and talk about the “skills and strengths” I had built, like…I don’t freaking know!! I don’t know…it’s probably just me and I need to “grow up” or something.

Anyway, somewhere in there, I realized that I wanted to go and make cool electronics at one of the great Japanese electronics giants, especially the one responsible for CDs, MDs and even floppy disks. At some point, I figured that to do that, I would first need to go to grad school in Japan to get the necessary linguistic and technical knowledge. But then, somewhere else in there, I started this “all Japanese all the time” experiment and was rapidly acquiring Japanese proficiency all on my own. When American kids saw me speak Japanese with my Japanese friends, some would ask if I had grown up in Japan; I guess they didn’t know better, but, still, it was a sign that I was getting good. And so it dawned on me that I could skip the grad school stage and go straight to my Japanese electronics giant. The career forum would be that opportunity.

Khatzumoto wearing a suit and playing the adult
Four or five months before the career forum itself, I decided to go. As it happened they were having a technical version of the usually economics/finance-based career forum, so that was right up my alley. I reserved a room at the Renaissance Hollywood Hotel – the same hotel as the career forum – in L.A., and bought the cheapest Southwest Airlines ticket I could find. My Japanese study went into overdrive; I was afraid as many people are that “Japan” would be like “what the heck do you want, bwoy!?”, so I wanted to have really, really, good Japanese. I learned about keigo/敬語, business manners and “interview talk”. By now you’re probably realizing that I was learning to do the very same “act” to which I had such objections at regular college career fairs. I guess the reason I was so against even going to the regular career fairs was that I didn’t want to live or work in America that much. Plus the career fairs always seemed to be going on when I was busiest with my schoolwork – they say a busy person is just a bad time manager, and that may well be true; I always gave my schoolwork far more time than I should have; I wish I’d known about Steve Pavlina and Brian Tracy earlier in my life (didn’t find out about them until near the very end of my undergrad). Anyway, so…

Skip to the day of the bilingual career fair. When I got there (straight off the plane from Utah, took a cab driven by the rudest man I have ever had the displeasure of meeting…don’t swear at me because it’s “inconvenient” for you to take credit cards, bee arch!), I almost turned back — I mean, 100% fear; my stomach was churning, everyone but me, it seemed, was Japanese, and I just had the biggest feeling of: “Dude, OK, game over. Who are you even kidding? You’re not Japanese! Just ’cause you’ve watched hundreds of hours of Gokusen and your friends from Japan say you’re jouzu, that doesn’t mean you’re gonna make it; this is the real world. Go home now before you embarrass yourself. Just get on the plane. Speak English like you were raised to”. And I almost did turn tail and head for LAX, but for the fact that I saw two 20-something Japanese kids in suits…who were clearly lost…and asked them if they were going to the career fair and told them I’d show them the way…in Japanese…and they were excited that I was speaking the nihongo and they were nice to me, and I thought: “maybe we’ll be fine after all”.

Anyway, so there I was in my $100 suit (still own it) with my $20 business satchel (still own that, too). I had interviews with all these companies whose electronics I had used as a kid:

  • Matsushita (now Panasonic)
  • Toshiba (did you know that this company dates back to the Meiji era?!)
  • Sony
  • Fujitsu (I even owned a Fujitsu laptop at the time, which I later sold to a soldier on eBay…I wonder if it runs military programs now, LoL)

Plus a couple of smaller or less-well-known operators:

  • Tata (from India, and not really that small at all) and
  • Fullcast (the shaaaaaaaaaaaadiest company ever; I thought the interviewer was going to take my resume, use the address to find my house and try to molest my cat; he was just that greeazy; as it turns out, my instincts were right, Fullcast are guilty of all kinds of legal violations. I don’t usually make statements this strong, but, Fullcast as an organization is the scum of the scum on the socklint of the scum of the earth).

Tata were nice. Fullcast were evil and a little scary. Fujitsu didn’t go so well because I sucked. The Toshiba people were kind of…condescending jerks who called me “君”/kimi; I don’t think that reflects on the organization as a whole, though, just those two guys. Panasonic were super-nice, but when they found out I knew some Chinese, they wanted me to do parts procurement in China, but I wanted to actually make stuff so that didn’t work out.

The very last company I interviewed with, the one for which every other interview was actually just a practice run, the one company I really wanted to go to, and the one where the interview was less like an interview and more a relaxed chat with a group of my closest 40-something engineer friends, was Sony. Funny story – the lady from personnel/international HR used keigo that I had never read in any of the keigo websites I had studied. It’s kind of a “new keigo” and actually very common in Japan right now, to the point that it’s getting recognized as legit. The keigo in question is: “-させて頂きます”/sasete itadakimasu. When I first heard it, I was always like “wait, so are YOU doing this action or am I”? From my reading, I was expecting her to use “致します”/itashimasu or just “-ます”/masu. I seriously had to confirm what the HR lady was saying by repeating it back to her, whenever she went and させて頂くed on me. She also talked at like 500 words per second even when she was sleepy (trying to save on international phone bills?), but all the rap music I had listened to had prepared me for that.

Long story short, I owned the Sony interview. I was all warmed up from the previous 5 interviews, and I genuinely loved Sony. I even owned a Sony MD player at the time, and I proudly busted it out to show the interviewers/40-something engineer buddies. This is what Dale Carnegie in How to Win Friends and Influence People/人を動かす called using drama and display to win the audience. It’s one thing to say you like Sony goods, it’s another to fish one out of your butt-pocket, put it on the desk and then discuss and analyze it, all in Japanese.

So all this is happening in LA. Two weeks later Sony call (ring-ring!), and it’s the rapping HR lady, whom I am by now quite used to listening to. She させて頂くed a follow-up interview for me in Japan. And so my first trip to Japan (October 2005) was very kindly paid for. It was also my first trip out of the US in almost five years. In order to line up my visa, I called the Japanese Consulate-General for my region and always spoke in Japanese. This had a HUGE effect. When you call the Japanese Consulate, they first speak in English, in a “we’ll be polite, but keep it quick, OK?” voice. But if you speak Japanese, it’s suddenly “You just done entered the root password, what is your will, okyakusama? The cherries are blossoming beautifully, please allow me to be allowed to be of service to you.” Even though I clearly was not Japanese by blood or nationality (I’m applying for a visa, right?), just by speaking Japanese I got the “citizen treatment”; the visa desk guy treated me like a long-lost son. Whenever there was a stupid rule (like the one about how college students must have TONS of money – hello! That’s why I’m looking for a job!), he waived it.

Shinny Prince
Japan was just like I expected it to be. Technology 15 years ahead of the rest of the world (ohhhhh the toilets, my boy, the toilets…even the toilets させて頂く your hiney all nice and clean). LCDs on everything. Small-but-comfortable hotel room (Shinagawa Prince, baby)! To this day, Shinagawa Prince is my “実家”/ancestral home in Japan. It’s where it all started for me. Whenever I’m lost, I’m like “if I can just get to the Shinagawa Prince everything will be OK”. The other day, I had this meeting for some IT consulting I do, and I needed an adapter to make my 3-pin laptop power thingy plug in to a 2-pin Japanese outlet, and I was like “how far is the Shinagawa Prince? They have this shop in the lobby…”, and the other IT guy was like “dude, I have a converter downstairs”, and I was like “yeah, but the Prince…”

One thing that struck me as weird was how busy Shinagawa station was even at 10pm. I was like “do these people ever sleep?” The answer is “no”. But more on that later.

Coming back to the US sucked because the immigration lady was caught between her irresistible attraction for me (see the photo on the About page for details), and her apparent duty to screw over foreigners, which only made her act more mean to hide her real feelings. I waited in line for-ever.

A couple of weeks later Sony called and made me an offer. I was super happy and I (rather foolishly) thought that being at a brand-name company meant “success”. No one among my peers, teachers or family disabused me of the notion, not that that’s their job, but…hmmm…I don’t know; it’s complex. But like I said, more on that later…

  31 comments for “The Bilingual Career Forum Story

  1. Daniel
    May 25, 2008 at 14:24

    I really enjoyed reading this part of your story of the actual move to Japan. Thanks for sharing.

  2. sarius24
    May 25, 2008 at 14:27

    ú_ù such a good story man *props*

  3. Daniel
    May 25, 2008 at 16:10

    勝元さんは大学の同朋に似ていると思うんです。カリスマチックで、軽妙洒脱な人ですね。いつでもどこでも友達が出来て、面白い好機を作っています。As always, interesting and inspiring… 日本人の友達を出来てみたい、俺。。。

  4. May 25, 2008 at 16:36

    Wow, really interesting reading how it all happened! I look forward to more, and especially your experiences at your company; how things met up to expectations and where they failed, and what your particular linguistic challenges were in your company and life in Japan.

    I didn’t realise ‘sasete itadakimasu’ was ‘new keigo’; I suppose I studied that much more recently than you and so am down with what’s hot on the keigo block, lol. It’s very much like the English “If you’ll let me …” I suppose.

  5. Richard
    May 25, 2008 at 18:20

    Quite an inspiring post, thank you.

  6. May 25, 2008 at 19:44

    Khatzumoto –

    Interesting story. You make it sound so easy. It only takes a second to write something like ‘so I busted my ass studying Japanese for 4 or 5 months before the interview.’ It’s a completely different thing to live that and actually be busting ass for that long and that hard.

    I just finished the Heisig book yesterday. I know I’ve got a couple of weeks of steady flashcard practice before I can relax and just let daily SRS take care of them. Some of them are still weak because I didn’t really do a sustainable pace, finishing the last 2/3 of the book in the last 2 months while working full time and not cutting back on work out, social, and (Japanese) TV time.

    I’m thinking of taking the JLPT 2 kyuu. That may be my semi-distant goal. I know a test doesn’t mean proficiency or fluency but it’s something to work towards and more tangible than saying I want to be able to take fluently with my co-workers.

    I do have to disagree with you on one point in your post though. Japan is not 15 years ahead in technology. Perhaps Tokyo is. Maybe Osaka is. But not Japan. Come live in Kagawa for a bit. Took 2 months to get an internet connection. And it goes out on me occasionally. Oh and June 1st. Big news. Our prefectural capital city’s main train station is getting electronic gates. Yes, at that one station in our whole prefecture, we will no longer have to hand our ticket to an actual person to collect as we leave. We will simply use the machine. Amazing!

    But the keitais are amazing and easy enough to get anywhere.

    Anyway, keep sharing your experiences. They are helpful and inspiring. When I return to the states and the classroom, whatever I may be teaching (who knows, maybe Japanese), I will likely refer students to your website for inspiration in their language learning and in life in general.

  7. May 25, 2008 at 22:10

    do you know how much i’m going to run up your page counter refreshing now left with a cliffhanger like this?

    come on man, let’s see the rest of the story!

    or … at least within the year… (planning to move on over if your language technique works out for me)

  8. Nate
    May 25, 2008 at 23:42

    I’m curious what you mean about Japan’s advanced technology too. The toilets and cellphones are indeed nice, but my general experience has been that Japan isn’t too concerned with new advancements. Talk to a foreigner (particularly Americans like me)who lives in a part of Japan that gets cold, and you’re likely to get an earful about complete lack of insulation, kerosene stoves and kotatsus instead of central heating, etc. Many Japanese websites seem roughly 5-10 years behind their Western counterparts, but that’s just an impression.

    Part of this is probably because I live in the countryside. But I’ve got friends from Osaka and elsewhere who don’t even have a computer email address (partially, but far from totally explained by cellphone email), and I’ve gotten a business card from a 25 year old working in finance in Tokyo with no email listed(!!!). There are all kinds of little examples like this that paint a picture in which people have the opportunity to utilize technology that is available in Japan, but for one reason or another choose not to. What do you mean when you say Japan is advanced?

  9. mzmz
    May 26, 2008 at 10:04

    Great story!

    There’s one thing I’d like to know though. As you said you dislike this whole act people put on on such events. You don’t like how much effort it requires to maintain an intelligent appearance, effort that could be used on actual learning. I personally don’t like that much either.

    So my question is: how did you manage to become skilled at something you dislike? After all you *did* manage to play a good role and that got you a job. You said it yourself before and I agree with it wholeheartedly, it’s that one can’t learn something one doesn’t like. So how did you justify to yourself in your mind doing the “evil” stuff?

    Sorry if the question sounds a bit weird but I’d really want to know the answer. It’s something that’s been bothering me for a while, before I even found this site. Exercising the ability to look smart and being just like all those fake people is evil… or is it not?

  10. May 26, 2008 at 11:44

    Dude, 4-shizzle mang!

    lol, I thought you had told me about this story already. Seemed like ya
    left out the minor details, but in the end I gotcha.

    Like we’ve talked about:

    “Always remember that ‘bag-like’ appendage between your legs and USA IT!”

    Stay Black

    -Sam out

  11. May 26, 2008 at 12:33

    haha! Can’t believe they’re beating you down so bad over the 15 years ahead thing.

    Maybe I’m totally wrong– but maybe you have the same idea as me, and it’s not so much literally that they are 15 years ahead, but that every minute detail of everything around you seems to have been given thought. The “common knowledge” of Westeners in Japan is that Japanese are so-called collectivistic and have no chance for creativity. But in reality it’s ridiculous–look at the creativity that goes into mangas, look at 711 which changes their product lines and has totally new beverage flavors bi-weekly while USA convenience stores have the same stuff as 10 years ago, look at a coffee shop where each product’s flavor is specificed down to a science on a 5 point scale of factors like aroma level, bitterness, sweetness… Even in my dorm room I was totally impressed with the way everything felt as if someone sat down and thought “a HUMAN BEING will live here, what possible things can we do to make light switches and everything make more sense TOGETHER AS A WHOLE”, while in the US a room is a room and there are light switches and sockets, but they are just installed — there isn’t that feeling that it was thought about as a “whole entity”.

  12. Madamada
    May 26, 2008 at 14:30

    Saseteitadaku is new? How do you figure that? Alphonso’s Japanese Language Patterns (1966) discusses it

  13. khatzumoto
    May 26, 2008 at 23:03

    You guys are right — that was just sloppy writing on my part. The whole advanced technology deal was just my impression of what I saw of Shinagawa those 2.5 days. Later on, I, too, was as somewhat shocked to find people not using dishwashers or clothes dryers: “wash dishes with HANDS?? Are you MAD?!”

  14. khatzumoto
    May 26, 2008 at 23:43

    1966? SNAP! I had no idea. At Sony, there was a 敬語 training for new kids, and the professional 敬語/etiquette lady said that “させて頂く” was a new thing in that it hadn’t previously been recognized as proper 敬語…so it’s all her fault! THAT WOMAN…!!
    But, wow, 1966…good looking out :D

  15. khatzumoto
    May 27, 2008 at 00:34

    So, I double-checked some Japanese sources. It seems like there’s quite some 議論 about させて頂く…[I hate people who mix 言語s] the basic consensus appears to be that it is being overused and that the overuse is incorrect. One camp appears to be pushing for its limited usage, another camp is like “throw that mother out”. What did Alphonso say?

  16. mzmz
    May 27, 2008 at 08:11

    Khatzumoto, you’re not responding to my comment I take that maybe you are offended by it or are not sure what I’m on about.

    I seriously didn’t mean any offense.

    I know many people who are smart but don’t look like it. They don’t wear glasses, don’t wear suits, don’t use many words when talking, are super-humble when they have to say something about their skills. They don’t act like wise people, yet they know their stuff. I always thought showing off is counter-productive and influences learning in a negative way. Yet, presenting skills is necessary on interviews, otherwise the interviewers may not believe you know the stuff you know, or am I mistaken somewhere?

    “I couldn’t bring myself to go through the suit-wearing, resume-writing, smiling motions.” <– yet you decided to go through it anyway? Why? “I realized that I wanted to go and make cool electronics” <– Well ok but how were you able to become good at something you dislike so much? Is it even possible become skilled at something you don’t like, even if the goal is something good?

    IMHO The AJAT methods presented on this site are incredibly effective when it comes to improving the skills, but unlike college classes (which I don’t like myself either) they don’t make a person appear like he/she was doing something “serious” and was brainy. If someone centers his/her whole life around learning a language in such way he/she doesn’t actively exercise the “look at me I’m smart” skill.

    I’m totally confused.

  17. khatzumoto
    May 27, 2008 at 10:41

    Oops! Sorry! I skipped over your comment accidentally when answering (don’t worry, it wasn’t offensive (lol) ).

    >So my question is: how did you manage to become skilled at something you dislike?
    That’s a really good question. I guess the whole willingness to play the game for the Bilingual Career Forum was that I truly wanted to live in Japan, and I genuinely had respect for all the cool things that had come out of this country and filled my childhood. So at the worst it was a “means to an end” thing.

    But with the regular American career forums, I was just being carried by the assumptions and values, the 流れ,of people around me at college, namely: “If [insert major American organization here] in all its glory and mercy decides to hire you, then thank the stars, for you are truly blessed”…type thing? Truth be told, I hadn’t even wanted to go to college in the first place, but I let myself get swept up into that 流れ, too, and once I was in college, I played that game like it was my life. Stupid. Stupid.

    Another issue may be that I was “acting” at Japanese anyway (like I’ve discussed previously — imitating speaking styles, usage and pronunciation). So, the “acting” at the career forum didn’t feel as unnatural as it might have in English, where I’ve been “acting” so long it seems more or less real.

    It may well all come back to my attitude going in. At American career forums, I was sucking up. At the BCF, I was breaking the mold just by being non-Japanese at what was essentially a forum for Japanese kids who had been to college in the US (there were a few other non-Japanese kids there, too, and a Japanese-American guy…good people). So, it was a game, and I was playing on my on terms. I chose to learn keigo, where I didn’t feel like I was actively choosing to do anything, in the US. Like many people, I’d been in school almost my whole life (most of it boarding school, to boot)…and school isn’t really in the business of teaching people to make actual, active life choices…

    Anyway, as it happens working at a company isn’t that hot; there are much smarter economic (and emotional…and intellectual) options, IMHO.

    But, yeah, that’s a really good question and I’m not sure of the answer myself. But I guess one answer might be: I didn’t dislike doing the BCF interviews as such, I was scared to pieces, but I also saw it as a chance to prove my Japanese proficiency in a much more realistic and meaningful (and profitable) and direct way than something like the JL-freaking-PT.

  18. Madamada
    May 27, 2008 at 12:46

    Alphonso descibes the form as;

    …a VERY POLITE (upper caps are his) was of saying “Would you please let me do..” or “Please excuse me for….. “.

    Although it strikes me as being more along the lines of “I’m going to take the liberty of doing…..”

    Did you really never come across it? Not even the sasete morau form? Something like: 個人的な事言わして貰えれば。。?I’m guessing if you’d seen/ heard the latter then the former would have been no problem.

  19. khatzumoto
    May 27, 2008 at 13:14

    Yeah, I did hear 言わせて貰う/読ませて貰う and stuff…but for some reason I didn’t make the connection to させて頂く (maybe if it had been along the lines of 言わさせて貰う that relationship would have been clearer, but apparently “言わさせて貰う” is considered incorrect usage…which would explain it never coming up).

    The only 敬語 I came across was 尊敬語/謙譲語 verb replacements, 美化語 additions of 御, and of course 丁寧語 です/ます. This is actually one of the very first 敬語 sites I used (maybe the first) , out of about four. So, I was expecting people to 致す/為さる, to 拝見・拝読/ご覧に成る rather than される/させて頂く.

    Anyway, after the initial surprise I figured it out quickly enough from hearing it in context, so…no animals were hurt.

    [A]>Would you please let me do..” or “Please excuse me for….. “.
    [B]>“I’m going to take the liberty of doing…..”
    That’s funny you should mention that. When you read the sources in the link up there, one of the things that people are taking issue with is the fact that a construction that means [A] is starting to mean [B]; something that implies action with permission is being used for unilateral action.

  20. danx
    May 28, 2008 at 08:09

    Hi Khatz,

    Love your blog as always.

    Just a couple things about your recent post:

    I know people have already harped upon the advanced technology in Japan, and I’ll be one of many people who’ll tell you (including you) that there are some amazing stuff over there, but at least in the sciences, Japan is deficient when it comes to equipment. I know they have that giant neutrino detector, but when it comes to “simple” things like electron microscopes, they are a bit strapped. Wonder why so many people come to the States to do their research?

    And about the させて頂く stuff. There’s a funny anecdote in Jay Rubin’s book (Making Sense of Japanese) about coming across a sign that says 本日は休ませて頂きます. He decided to make a plaque out of it and there it sits in his office to this day (from what I know). He says that the politeness expressed by the sign is similar to English equivalents like “thank you for not smoking”, or “gone fishin’” (OK, the last one is not so polite) and the usage has more force than a direct imperative sometimes.

    Anyway that’s me. As always, keep up the great work!

  21. danx
    May 28, 2008 at 08:33

    Oh yeah, and one more thing:

    I understand what you mean by being scared at the whole interview process: the suits, the resumes, and all that. That’s part of the reason why I wanted to go into the sciences. The interview process (if you want to call it that) is much less formal, and in most ways the interview is for you to find the right advisor, not the other way around. I believe the reason you went and did your Japanese interviews was more about making your ‘act’ become real than about ‘playing the game’ or any of the other reasons you would interview for American companies. You’re trying not just to take your proficiency to the next level, but to actually live the language, at work and at play. Basically you’re living your motto to the fullest.

    I suppose your answer to MZMZ’s question was sufficient: sure you don’t like to interview, but since it’s in Japanese, it’s an entirely different story. I don’t know for sure if you liked interviewing in Japanese, but it’s a heck of a lot more interesting than if you did them in English. But my question is: if you’re so scared of doing them in English, wouldn’t you be that much more scared when you’re doing them in Japanese, a language that still (at least up to Oct.2005) lags behind your English?

  22. Tony
    May 29, 2008 at 09:10

    How did you get the Alfonso book? I’ve looked for it before but it’s not available (ie. out of print) everywhere I look. I’ve also been struck by the difference between what it’s like in the 田舎 and the conception of technology in Japan that we have in America. However, I’d say there are a lot of underlying reasons for not having insulation in the houses, for using kerosone heaters, and for not having an electronic gate until now. Another example I can think of is that in the states we have those automatic lights that tell you when you can go during construction, and in Japan I’ve seen a few, but it’s a lot more common to see people waving flags. My idea is that for jobs where machines could do it, they’re reluctant to take peoples’ jobs away. Also for insulation, I’d say it’s hard to change a lot of the older houses because they’ve been there for a long time and weren’t designed to ever have installation put in. And it is pretty inefficient/wasteful to heat the whole house versus the one room you’re using.

  23. gav
    May 29, 2008 at 20:55

    It’s so interesting and inspiring to hear your story. Steve Pavlina says that he maintains his motivation by listening to and reading inspirational material. In my Japanese study I look to this website both as an instructional guide and as a source of inspiration. Keep up the good work and well done! It’s great that you went for your dream.

  24. Madamada
    May 30, 2008 at 10:42


    Blue Parrot Bookshop Takadanobaba

    They specialize in second-hand English language books.


    OK, thinking about it, I don’t recall seeing sasete itadaku described as keigo, just as a polite turn of phrase.Looks like it’s been creeping into uses previously the reserved for keigo. Things have gone down hill since 1966.

  25. Peter
    May 31, 2008 at 06:41

    Khatzumoto. I don’t have anything profound or educational to say but that was a great story!

  26. mzmz
    June 2, 2008 at 00:18

    Any recommendations for a good inspirational read (like the Steve Pavlina stuff and/or things about 本音 & 建前 frictions) in Japanese? :D

  27. khatzumoto
    June 2, 2008 at 12:52

    I wasn’t so much afraid of the English ones as…I mean…they just tickled my gag reflex.

  28. Metrovino
    January 31, 2009 at 16:46

    Khatz, I’m with you on the Shinagawa Prince, love that hotel. Shopping is great. Starbucks. Wine shop. Shinkansen, Narita Express, Yamanote, train to Haneda. For me that is the center of Japan. I made friends with the bartender at the Italian restaurant. There’s a coffee shop there, where the owner went to Italy and won some barista contest. The shopping inside the Shinagawa station is great-cool things you can’t find outside Japan.

    By the way, I highly recommend Din Tai Fon in Takashimaya in Shinjuku-great Chinese dumplings.

  29. September 8, 2011 at 22:13

    Wow, this is really interesting. I need to learn English better. I also want to master the “root password” :p

  30. Yamachan
    October 18, 2014 at 05:06

    I just LOVE your writing style. 超笑える!あなたの言葉遣い、まじで天才的だよ。結婚してください!(爆)

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