Tag Archives: work

Food & drinks

Just a general update + food

As usual, work has kept me from performing any kind of update lately.  Due to, shall we say, “internal reasons”, one of my colleagues is on indefinite leave.  What this means in the long, I have no idea, but in the meantime it has effectively doubled the workload for the Tokyo office and that has greatly reduced my free time.  Lunches are rushed or eaten at my desk, I work longer hours, and there always seems to be something that needs to be done.

In one sense, the challenge is not all bad – I find myself doing new things, or trying to solve established problems in different ways since we are now supporting other overseas offices.   So, for the short term, it’s sustainable.  The downside to it all is that I literally feel tethered – I step away from my desk, and am already replying to emails on my blackberry one minute later in the elevator.  I leave the office, go home, and continue work from there.  The amount of emails I’m getting have at least doubled, till it feels like I’m ALWAYS replying to something –  before I’d maybe send out 30-40 messages a day, now up to a 100.

No doubt things will settle down at some point, but I do hope that folks in the management can settle on how things are going to turn out sooner rather than later…

Today’s my first full day off, with nothing planned (though I did spend an hour or so this morning going over work email).  The rest of my day has been a lazy one, just doing a bit of grocery shopping, and going through the final season of Battlestar Galactica. 🙂

I have been doing some cooking too, believe it or not.  Not today, but I’ve been doing a bit of baking recently.  Food-wise, I’ve tried my hand at a few “rough-and-ready pizza’s”, and for dessert, I’ve whipped up a couple of apple pies.  To my surprise, everything turned out great!

no images were found

 The pizza was indeed rough and ready – I grabbed the crust recipe off PW, the sauce recipe from allrecipes (with some personal customizing), and the toppings consisted of bacon, green olives, mixed cheese, and pesto.  I made a total of 4 pizzas (2 on one day, and 2 on the other).  The first time I didn’t make too much sauce, but turns out that that was actually good – the second time I made TOO much sauce and I learned that leaves the center of the crust a tad too soggy.  Gallery below!

no images were found


no images were found

The apple pie was something I was especially proud of.  The first pie I made turned out pretty decent – I ate most of it, but shared perhaps half with a couple of friends that visited.  With the second pie though, I brushed egg white on the bottom of the crust and used foil around the crust to prevent excessive browning.  This turned out (visually at least) picture perfect!  I say “visually” because I didn’t taste this second pie.  You read that right – I actually passed on eating that delicious looking pie.  What came over me?? 😮

Actually, I brought in the second pie to work.  I left on on the counter of the common area and left a note telling folks to help themselves.  It was gone in 30 minutes, so I guess it must have tasted alright. 🙂

no images were found

For those interested, I grabbed the recipes for both the crust and the apple pie off allrecipes, tweaking to add a tad of cinnamon, and also pouring in the sugar/butter paste over the apples before creating the lattice crust.  The crust by the way, is dead easy (makes 4 individual crust or 2 double-crusts) and can be made and frozen ahead of time.  For those of you without a rolling pin, a bottle of organic Sangria left over from Christmas works just fine. 😉

Oh, and there was a small amount of crust left over – I flattened it out, filled it with some spam and cheese for a “hot-pocket” type of meal – delish, but definitely not for the weight conscious!


Still around

no images were found

I realise it’s been quite a while since my last post.  Unfortunately, real-life has taken precedence over even blogging.  

As mentioned in my previous post, my co-worker and friend had been laid off and this has meant that the amount of work I’ve needed to do in the office has skyrocketed.  I’m now on early shift which, given the distance I live from the office, makes it necessary for me to wake up at 0430 every day to make it to work by 0700.  From that point, I’m usually on the phone with my counterparts in the US, or running around troubleshooting any number of issues our users are experiencing.  Alot of the time I also find myself acting as the go-between/intermediary between the main support branch in the US and our local Japanese users – and it’s like pulling teeth sometimes to get people to reply or follow-up on trouble requests.  The time zone difference doesn’t help, NOR does the fact that the people in the US typically go home at 15:30!!  I keep thinking they should try coming here, where I have users in the office from 0645 to 22:00.  In fact, that’s been my schedule all week – in the office from 0700 to anywhere between 1900 to 2100.  

Last weekend I also came down with a strange stomach bug.  I literally woke up on Saturday morning around 0900 and had to immediately run to the bathroom to throw up.  Rinse and repeat the same process (with the addition of other unmentionable bodily excretions) each hour throughout the day.  I would literally spend a good 20-30 minutes locked in the bathroom, come back to my bed and collapse for another 30 minutes before having to dash back into the bathroom again.  

Finally in the evening I asked the host family I am staying with if they could drive me to the hospital (well, first I asked if they had any medicine but they recommended the doctor).  We were lucky enough to find a clinic open on the weekend and there I got an IV drip for a couple of hours to replenish all the nutrients/minerals I had lost.  After giving me some medicine, I headed back home.  I stayed in bed all Sunday, weak as a kitten, but was able to pull myself together enough to head off to work on Monday.  I know if my coworker had been there, I would probably have taken Monday off as well, but… 

Well… it’s been a rough week.  At least as of Thursday I’ve been able to move beyond rice gruel (known as okayu here in Japan) and can eat real food without my stomach cramping up and feeling like I might still throw up.  Today I’m staying home all day and catching up on sleep.  Tomorrow will be back to work.  Yay.



My co-worker, colleague, mentor and most importantly, friend, got laid off today.  I know that in these times people in every field are losing their jobs and that he is but one of many.  However, reading about these happenings and actually being close to someone to whom it happens are very different.

We worked together for nearly 3 years, seated across from each other.  I’ve gone out to lunch with him on innumerable occasions, have been invited over to share dinner with his lovely family, and have spent about 6 hours with him every week day for 3 years.  He’d worked at our company for about 10 years, applying his knowledge and creativity to ensure that things went smoothly.  And just like that, he’s gone.

He got a phone call yesterday morning, I waved him off as I went to help someone with some issues – and never saw him again.

I don’t understand how or why this all happened, save that it was in the “in the name of cost-cutting”.  I know times are hard for all companies now, and perhaps they really tried everything else they could think of to save money in other areas…but I doubt it.  At least not in a way that would make us little people feel like they cared.  I can’t imagine what my friend is feeling, what it must be like to go home and tell his family that he no longer has a job, but I feel betrayed.

It’s just not right to call someone in, strip them of their badge, and send them home.  Not after so many years of service and dedication.  He didn’t even get a chance to pack up his desk – I’ve just finished putting everything in a couple of boxes and mailing it to him with the help of one of the admin staff.  It’s just not right.

There’s already a replacement set to come in from next week, and I’m sure business will run as usual soon enough.  But it’s a shocking feeling, knowing that one is so…replaceable, an insignificant cog in the corporate machine.