Ten Year Reunion

I am not supposed to be here today. I was hoping to be in Seattle this evening for my Ten Year High School Reunion. But I’m not. I’m in New York. Working. I don’t feel that bad about missing it, although I must admit that I always intended to go. I won’t be there not because I wasn’t willing to spend the money, but because the timing doesn’t work out well. Why did they have to have a reunion in late September instead of July or August, like most high schools? At least I am still in touch with some of my best friends from high school. But it would have been nice to see the many other friends I had in high school that I have lost touch with over the years. There’s always my twenty-year high school reunion, I guess.

Japanese Class, Day One

I attended my first Keizai and Business Japanese class at the Japan Society the other day, as mentioned in my previous post. For the first time in a long time, I felt in over my head with Japanese. And it wasn’t that I couldn’t understand what was going on. I could. I just couldn’t read the article we were going over. Granted there was a lot of new vocabulary, which is of course helpful to know, but I do not have the readings skills needed to be at that level. I went and spoke with the teacher after class and she said that I should stay in the class, hang in there and have it be a challenge because I will learn more. She’s right, but to do so will require time – time I am not sure that I have. On top of the class being difficult, she expects us to come prepared each week based on the weekly homework assignment and be ready for a quiz. It’s like I am in college again.

The problem, however, is that once the class is over in ten weeks, I will not have a chance to use the Japanese I just studied. It could be easily forgotten. I do not currently use Japanese at work or at home and I do not live there or travel to Japan freqeuntly. For now, it’s nothing more than a hobby for me with perhaps the hope that it could one day become more. When people learn I speak Japanese, which, I don’t think, is disclosed in a boasting way, but in a matter-of-fact, Japanese-is-a-big-part-of-my-life kind of way, they often believe that there would be numerous job opportunities available to me and that I might have an edge to people with similar backgrounds. That is hardly the case. When I have tried to play the Japanese card as a way to help get my foot in the door at certain law firms or banks, it has done nothing for me. And, as was evidenced by my first Japanese class this week, if I ever was given an opportunity partly because of my Japanese, I do not have the skills that many people in this city have. Speaking Japanese in New York is like speaking Japanese in Hawaii – it’s nothing special. But I will keep trying to find work more focused on Japan because I believe that it is something I would still like to do with my life. In the meantime, maybe I can find a way to use all of my new vocuabulary from my Japanese class.

The Japan Society, Round Three

Tonight I begin my Japanese class for this fall semester. This is the third class I have enrolled in at the Japan Society in New York. I have been impressed with the classes so far and the caliber of the professors. The two previous classes I have taken have been with the same professor, Aizawa Sensei. I enjoyed her so much that I decided to take her again even though the second class I took earlier this year was a level down from my previous Japanese class. The class that begins tonight, I’m afraid, will be a bit over my head. I enrolled in the highest level class that the Japan Society offers, the Keizai (Economic) and Business course. Given that I am interested in Japanese business, I naturally wanted to take the class in an effort to improve my vocabulary and overall language skills. But I am not sure of the background of the other students in the class and what level of Japanese I will be expected to have in comparison. While I still speak frequently and am comfortable with the language, I do not have the business and economic Japanese to compete with those at the business level. I say this not only in reference to my speaking ability, but to my reading and writing skills as well.

Part of me wanted to attend the class to network and meet the other students in the class. There is no doubt that there will be good opportunities to speak with them before and after class regarding what they do and, if appropriate, how I can be a part of it. I am a good networker and am not ashamed to admit it. In looking down the road and what I would like to do, I find that it’s a simple equation: I am not working with Japan now and I want to; if there is a chance to get closer to doing so, I am open to exploring it.

As for my class, tonight will be revealing as to how good or bad my Japanese skills really are and how far I have to go before I am at the level that I feel I want to be at. Stay tuned for my thoughts later this week. 

Freedom

I finished a book recently that will stick with me for a while.  After seeing the book remain one of the best-selling books in the past few months, I was eager to read it for myself. The book is A Thousand Splendid Suns and the author is Khaled Hosseini, the author of the global hit, The Kite Runner. Splendid Suns took my emotions for a ride and left me wanting more. The book also made me grateful for the freedom that I have enjoyed in life. I have been free from war, hunger, sickness, destruction, hate, and evil for all of my life. I have a good family and I have good friends. There is little more that I could have asked for. On a daily basis I think of how to improve the life of me and my wife and daughter and how I can accomplish my goals and get to where I want to be. That attitude has brought me to where I am now, thankfully, but has made me somewhat oblivious on a daily basis to the difficulties people face around the globe. Pardon the sentimental post, but be grateful for what you have. No matter how hard life is for you now, remember that someone always has it worse.

Tell Me What You Think

For those that have visited this site before, you probably noticed that I have changed the design after 122 posts on Sound to Sound. What do you think? I like my new simple design, but also enjoyed my previous layout, with its muted colors and illustration of midtown west at night. I have finally also added a blogroll, or a list of links to other blogs that I check regularly. I have intentionally left off blogs of personal friends and have instead only included more commercial, heavily-trafficked blogs that focus on a particular topic. As you can see, I am interested in law, business and technology. Another thing I find fascinating is the idea of blogs itself. I now have a forum to write whatever I want and have it published on the web for free for anyone to view. WordPress is great. Technology is great. As for life, I have no complaints.   

24/7 All Access Assistant

I recently discovered a service in select cities in the U.S. and London that I found to be quite a good idea. After exploring the website, I kicked myself for not thinking of the idea on my own. The company is Sunday LLC and it claims that its service will boost busy people’s productivity and mobility. Essentially, you provide the team at Sunday with your contacts and personal information, including web log on and password information and they will check, confirm, follow up or investigate anything you need or want at any time on any day. If you need to know where the closest Chase ATM is in TriBeCa while you’re on the run, send an email request to Sunday from your ‘Berry and you’ll have an answer in minutes. Need to confirm a story of the deals that your friend’s buddy was boasting of at a recent event, have the dudes at Sunday look into it for you. Want reservations at a certain restaurant for a large group, need evites sent out, and want a car service to be able to provide your guests with a ride home, call Sunday. Looking for the cheapest flight or hotel reservations, want information on what to do when you arrive at your destination, and need a wake up call for every day that you’re out of town, arrange it easily with Sunday. With Sunday, anything that can be done by phone, email, or the Internet can now be personally outsourced to someone else for a cost. It’s a brilliant idea, although the business plan only caters to a certain demographic and I have no idea how the business is doing. But the idea is great. Maybe I could start something like this in Japan . . . .

Four Months With Hanna

Before my daughter was born, I remember a friend of mine who has two kids saying that his kids didn’t like him and he didn’t like them until they were four months. I can now say that there is something magical about four months. My daughter Hanna turned four months this past weekend and she is much more fun to be with. Her personality is showing, she is constantly laughing and smiling (except when she is crying) and daddy likes to spend time with her now. Prior to four months, she was a baby that needed to be taken care of, but could do little in return. But now, what a joy she is to have in our home. She laughs and talks and drools all day. From here on out, she’ll be daddy’s little girl.