Saturday, June 23, 2007

June 20, 2007 First Day of Work!

Phew, estoy hecha polvo...what a day! I already feel like I've been here for weeks and with all the stuff I want to do, I start running out of weekends =)

About work I won't tell you everything in detail, but just the highlights are quite enough for one day :o) And I want to go to bed SOON!

I met Mutsuko-san and Arima-san in the lobby at 8:30am. Eric had told me to wear something like business casual, but as I didn't bring a "normal" jacket, I decided to throw on the business jacket - which proved to be a bad choice as it was a lot warmer outside than the air-condition inside made me believe!

We take about 40 minutes to get to work - 10 walking, 10 on the train, and another 20 walking - Arima-san had brought me a train ticket from HR (Human Resources, Personalwesen), so I didn't have to pay anything in advance.

The head of HR, Ozeki-san, welcomed me to the company and gave me a brief explanation. We firmed the contracts and now I am officially a trainee at Sumika Bayer Urethane, Amagasaki =) He then handed over to (Ms.) Okada-san, whom I had gotten to know on Monday already. She'll be in charge of me, HR-wise. I listened to her presentation about SBU and Bayer in general, she gave me a tour of the building and introduced me to all the senior staff members she could find *g* The proper words to say when you meet someone for the first time ("Hajimemashite. Peters desu. Yoroshiku onegaishimasu.") mean something along the lines of "We meet for the first time. I am Peters. Please be good to me". Okada-san also gave me the money for the first 1,5 weeks, until the end of June - all of this is way less complicated than I thought it would be!

For lunch, she handed me over to Eric, the Dutch coordinator of my internship. The two of us joined a group of Japanese girls/young women and we went to typical Japanese place. Eric translated a lot for me and ordered rice with fried chicken, salad and noodles for me - delicious! Only the tofu that came along with it isn't quite my thing.

I didn't understand very much of the conversation, but every now and then, Eric would translate for me, and one of the women who has lived in Dubai and studied in England, speaks fluent English, so I was integrated alright.

For the afternoon, Eric gave me a more detailed intro to the chemical side of the company. He also helped me to access the blogspot website to see how to switch languages - so you owe him thanks =)

And I have my own laptop now. I'll have to memorize about a million passwords, which also means that I won't be allowed to do any private work with it. I guess this doesn't really come as a surprise.

AND: Eric gave me his old cell phone to use for this summer! I had briefly asked him whether he thought it would be necessary for me to buy a cell phone when we met on Monday, and he remembered! So now I have a cell phone. The number is ***************. In case you want to call, just remember that I am 7 hours (Germany/Spain), 8 hours (UK), 12 hours (Michigan) ahead of you, so the best time for calling would be between:

Germany/Spain: during the week 12 to 16h, 23 to 1h; on weekends 3am to 5pm/17h
UK: week 11-15, 22-0; weekend 2am to 4/5pm
US: week 5 -9am; weekend 9pm to 11am

Be warned though, I don't really know how to use the phone yet, as it is in Japanese =)

Around 6pm, Eric and I took off from work and said goodbye at the train station, He lives in Osaka and therefore takes the train into the opposite direction. Arima-san had told me which line to take, so I got home without any problems, was greeted by a happy "o-kaerinasai" (welcome!) from ryoubo (the owner's wife), and went straight to bed to sleep for an hour :o) So now, I'm back from dinner, a kind of gulasch, thick, brown, with meat and onions and rice! "Totemo oishii desu"!! And when I was about to go to the internet caf`e, two girls that live right next to me, invited me into their room and we talked a lot - in English, Japanese, French and German ;o) Natsumi-san speaks English quite well, is 20 years old and studies cross-sultural studies, so I already like her a lot *g* I forgot the other girl's name, but both are very cute little Japanese girls, and both play the piano amazingly! (Natsumi-san has a keyboard in her room that is bigger than she is *g*)

And now, I'll be dropping stone dead and won't move until the alarm clock bugs me!!!

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