Tag Archives: work

ima wo ikuru!

Robin Williams have said it, Cher and Christian reiterated it, “Seize the day!!!”
But how do you say it in my mother tongue (Japanese, of course!) ?

ima wo ikuru!

This is the exact sentiment of two-year old Japanese fusion restaurant and fine dining, Toki (which means this moment in Japanese). The cozy yet classy ambiance mixed with the amazing, amazing, AMAZING food served in this restaurant is best enjoyed in the company of beloved family, good friends and like-minded colleagues.

restaurant facade

Somehow, the combination of all three (good food, nice place and great people) are the foundation of great memories and (hard-to-come by) moments.

Me, I am grateful for the opportunity to discover Toki (thanks to my company and my job as PR). The place was small yet doesn’t feel crowded. For those who want privacy, you can opt to dine in their private dining areas and on the truly pretty “Tatami” room, which seats about 15 pax. (This is good for barkada bonding!)The tatami room was decorated with a mat, a small futon, Japanese knick-knacks and bric-a-bracs.

Joyce, the affable and friendly head server, told me that there is no set amount or cover charge for you to utilize the room. So, just bring your friends and family–and enjoy Toki’s personalized and impressive service.

close-up of that heavenly food from Toki (on the foreground was the beef teriyaki which literally melts in your mouth!)
This is what I had for lunch
The cutest cakes!

The food is simply awesome. Shucks, it’s like being transported a thousand miles away from good old Manila and seeing yourself in Japan, on a lunch break from a grueling (and enjoyable) shopping trip in Harajuku. The food is that good!

And what’s the best thing about my Toki experience?

It’s the bonding with office mates…

KamikazeeGirl with Jeza and Fresh

…picking brains and sharing ideas with the boss

…and capping off a successful event!

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Work-cred, Japanese style

I love working for a Japanese-managed/owned company.
I’ve always been someone who likes the feeling of equality and loyalty in a workplace and I see this in my current company.

When you work for the Japanese, you are expected to be loyal (maybe that’s why a lot of Japanese companies have employees that’s been with them for many years) and work hard for the company. Discipline and courtesy rank high in their books–thus, absences and lates are usually frowned upon.

I’ve worked for two Japanese companies my whole life and I can say they take high regard for attention to detail. They value exceptional work output as result of hard work. And they are not stingy when it comes to criticisms when they feel that you need to improve, and praise when they know that you deserve it.

Unlike Western offices which puts premium importance to securing the corner office and your own personal space — our office (and that or my previous one, a Japanese publishing company) advocates offices minus walls. The company general manager is seated a few steps away from the first row of business consultants, the door of the CEO/owner’s office is always open. The CEO is available the whole day for consultations, for project briefs, and knows each staff by name. And oh, our big boss–shacho–likes kids. So employees are allowed to bring their kids on Saturdays.

Came across these tips from an article, titled “How to get ahead in Bijinesu” from Alt Japan. One thing’s for sure, some of the tips might be too extreme or will make you go “wtf?!?” But hey, you take it with a grain of salt…

1. If someone above you (your senpai) tells you crows are white, they’re white.

The word of your superiors is like the word of the Emperor. While there are idiots out there, most of the time they won’t be asking you to believe things that are patently untrue. So give them the benefit of the doubt. If someone gives you flack about it later, you can just say that your boss told you to do what you’re doing.

2. Nobody is depending on you.

That stuff about how “we’re all depending on our newest employees?” Lip service. What they mean is that they hope two or three years down the road you’ll turn into someone they can depend on.

3. The only proper response is “yes.”

You don’t have the right to refuse anything at this stage. If someone asks you if it’s possible for you to do something, the only proper answer is “yes.” Nobody cares about your opinion. But if you try your best and can’t pull it off, tell someone before it gets out of control.

4. Feel free to ask the same questions over and over.

Some people will tell you never to ask something twice. Ignore them. But don’t be a nudge, either. Most of the time, using a simple memo notebook will help you avoid having to ask about the same thing repeatedly.

5. Abandon your pride.

Bowing your head costs nothing. In fact, it can reap rewards. Apologies are nothing but sound waves. If apologizing fixes something, apologize on the spot. Even if you were right, let it drop. Say you were wrong.

6. Forget about what the client wants. It’s about what your BOSS wants.

Occasionally you will see superiors doing things that appear not to be in the client’s best interest, or that seem technically flawed in some way. Ignore it. The people doing these things have far more experience than you. It is one hundred times better to learn to change your own way of thinking than it is to work on trying to change others.

7. Just get it done.

At times you will get overloaded with work requests from superiors. The important thing is just to get it done however you can. Don’t be a perfectionist; that’s the road to physical and mental stress. This isn’t an excuse to slack off. But you are the new guy. If you mess up someone will fix it.

8. Give up.

If a job is impossible, it’s okay to give up. Someone else will do it. Your superiors are there to fix the mistakes you make. The worst possible thing is to escalate a problem. If you are definitely in over your head tell your superiors right away.

…or just don’t take it seriously.

Officially employed

I received good news today that I am now a regular employee of my current company.

God is good.

The path wasn’t easy. For a time, I contemplated leaving because I don’t feel like I was part of the company, and that I was having a hard time finding my place and my purpose. I have rants and I whine almost everyday. I was always late or absent. I hated seeing my office building.

Then it hit me.

Six months ago, I prayed that I find a job that is located in Makati, that will not lead me to my early grave and with superiors that will treat me as a human being and not as a robot. I wanted a job that will make use of what I know in terms of writing, in terms of communications. In short, I was looking for a career that will guide me and will tide me till I grow old.

In a few weeks, I received a call from this company–located in Ayala Avenue, a rising beauty brand and filled with young executives. The fact that the company is Japanese-owned and reeked of Japanese culture made the deal more sweet.

In short, this company was the answer to my prayers.

And by being so negative and stubborn during my first two months, I was ruining this gift. I came to understand what I really mean to the team, to the organization. I have come to love my company and its people. Lastly, I finally found my place in the organization.

I started to change. I began going to the office earlier and with a more positive outlook. I began treating criticisms from the boss constructively. I began to tolerate and understand people.

I am glad I stayed. Hopefully, this is the beginning of good things for me here…

My work desk – the source of brilliance and crap

Are you the type of person who wants their work desk clean, organized and devoid of any clutter?

Well, good for you. Because, in my case–I can’t work with a clean work desk.

My work desk brings to life the saying, “calm in chaos and organized clutter”

I’ve always been this way — my work desk from previous companies looks like a cross between a high school student’s locker and work area of a writer, moonlighting as a mad scientist. Family pictures, stickers from rock bands and Japanese fashion magazines, witty quotes, print outs from fashion magazines, post-its in their varying colors, reminders, a calendar, plus collectible Japanese toys litter the desk. Most likely, a planner (or two) sits on the top, filled with random notes and the usual “silent curse or two”.

Here’s a bit of my desk from my previous job.

Note the company phone which I filled with Team Manila stickers (at that time, it was only J.Rizal’ likeness in there) and my iPeeeenk lying on the top, competing space with other junk…

Here’s my current work space….

A lot of things happening at once on my small work station:

1. Notice the Nerds Sour? As I’ve said on my previous post, I subsist on Nerds and fruit juices/iced teas. Maybe that’s why I can’t shake this damn extra weight

2. Disney Eskulin Kids Hand Sanitizer (Donald Duck on its label!) and Bench Alcogel Aromatherapy which I think are really important, especially when going outdoors and going to that (revolting) loo that we have on our floor

3. Team Manila purse which I am using as a camera case

4. 2 pieces of toys — a Pinky Street collectible (which looks like me!) and a Yuijin Super Mario Brothers wind back toy princess (a gachopon gift from my former supervisor here at the office).

5. Starbucks insulated drink container

6. My file cabinet with a print out of a page from “Fruits Magazine” February 2010 issue

7. A pink “monkey pencil” which I bought at Fully Booked

8. A planner from my previous company (my ninong gave it to me) which I am using as a planner here at the office.

9. A print out of the current press release I am working on. My computer screen on the first two pictures shows research for a prospective trip to Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia (Air Asia has the dopest deals!). But then again, I got shy (you might think I’m not doing anything but cr@p) so I started working on the press release I am developing for the company.

10. A print out announcing the recently concluded Shonen Knife concert tacked in my message board

I really should start cleaning up my work desk. But a too-clean work area, unnerves me.
So, never mind….

Too much Creative-ity can kill you

I am working with only four people. Only four but the size of our collective egos is enough to fill up the Madison Square Garden if needed. Currently, it is 2 artists and 2 writers in our team — the perfect combination for disaster I tell you.

To be quite honest, one of us is new on team and thus totally exempted from the daily showdown of egotistical aptitude. But what do you get when you put a bitchy, jaded writer, an over-eager 22 year old and a graphic artist who bemoans the trespasses we writers have accorded his “craft”. You get a daily recipe for disaster.

courtesy of CartoonStock

The company is probably one of the best I’ve worked for so far; the people (especially the gays!) are funny and heartwarming; the plans is worth investing your future to — it’s the lack of teamwork, communication and the daily display of gladiator battle participated by our fragile egos THAT really GET ME DOWN.

We could have done a lot of things that will wow over the management and the competition. We could have been more than good. But instead everyday we try to pretend that we don’t care about each other’s projects (while pathetically peeking on the end) as we each try to sound and look great in the eyes of the powers that be.

Creativity is good, but too much of it is just tiring…

Are you working on Dec 23?

It’s 2 days before Christmas.
Outside the office window, last minute shoppers rush by Ayala Avenue, while some hurry home after half a day of work. Yours truly is sitting by her desk, typing madly on her keyboard, blogging, passing time stealing/downloading Japanese magazines over the web after finishing a minor copy for work.

Can we go home now? *sigh

This is what happens when employees are still required to report on the 23rd. It’s like people’s minds are already off somewhere for the Holidays with only their bodies present, pretending to do some serious work.

Working on the 23rd is simply excruciating…

For some, it’s the ominous voice, reminding you that you have yet to finish your Christmas shopping and that you have five more additional inaanaks this year, if you could only remember their names. For others, it’s the incessant messages on your cellphone–your friends, family and other people–inviting you out, only for you to answer that you are still at work.

Working on the 23rd is like waiting for a time-bomb to go off–the continuous looking at the watch, counting the minutes and the hours till its lunch, till its 8PM and you can home.

The tale of the corporate bottom feeder (AGAIN)

This is one of those days when I went to work to spend a few times crafting a speech that I have yet to finish. I have nothing else to do–finihing the unfinished speech is like pulling teeth and most of the words I come up with fails to get the deliver the gist of the story. So, here I am– the blinking cursor of the yet-forgotten speech teasing me with its annoying *blink-blink-blink*

When I left my previous work more than a month ago, it’s because I was worried that I’d be dead (due to stress and sama ng loob) before I turn 31. This is a not an over-statement. In my last year at my old company, I have grown a close and endearing relationship with the emergency room people of Makati Med. I’d have needle marks all over my arm, enough to put any druggie to shame due to the intravenuous drugs that had to be fed to my body each time I get stress attacks. I used to claim that I was clinically insane–spending 2009 in my old department validated this claim–yes, I had to see a psychiatrist the same year due to my "over exhaustion" I got acquainted with government-issued drugs (complete with the stamped "Dangerous Drugs" warning on my government-issued prescription note.

To say that I was emotionally and physically exhausted in my old department is an understatement.

In October 2009, I applied on a whim on this company that I just chanced upon while applying (guerilla-style) in Makati. I was on leave that day and I’ve decided to spend my "sick day" looking for a new work place.

The exam was easy, too easy in fact…and the series of interviews (I think I had almost 5 in all) wasn’t enough to faze me. Another company was interested in me and in the end, it came to a point on who would call first.

This company was the one who first offered me the position and me, eager and itching to bust out of the hell hole that was my previous department, needn’t think twice.

At first, I thought I could wing it that I’ll be starting in December. I figured this will give me enough time to say my goodbyes to the company that I’ve come to love so much (I loved my former company–it’ my department I can’t stand) and to the people who made leaving so difficult. In my three year stay there, I developed really close relationships with people across all departments and corporate standing (from the senior managers to the maintenance boys) and their friendship was the only thing that held me from leaving for 3 years.

But I had to start immediately. DUE TO THE HEAVY WORKLOAD waiting (I was told) so in a matter of 15 days– I was already reporting to my new job.

And here starts the tale of the new corporate bottom feeder.

For the longest time, I was one of the people calling the shots. One of the movers and shakers, as they say. But now, as all newbies, I am starting again from below. There are days when the work is heavy, it’s like reliving the stressful days of yore…but on some days — the inactivity will kill you.

I guess I am still lucky cos I am sharing my department with some of the most talented people I’ve met. Super PLUS points cos my current supervisor is a nice and like-minded individual who encourages us to do our thing at our own pace. Siguro, it helps that she understands the creative process. I am pretty much sure that she wasn’t some psycho slave driver in her previous life as she is the silent, nice type who’d usually surprise you with her interests and talents.

I belong to a department called "Creatives" which pretty much handle all things that needs the use of imagination and creativity. I am learning a lot of new things that I haven’t been given the chance to learn before. At the same time, there’s just too much things and experiences that I am raring to share with the group. Work is slowly starting to trickle in, and quite honestly I am starting to appreciate the nice "normalcy" that I didn’t experience on my previous department. A photoshoot and media launch is coming up in a manner of weeks and surprisingly, I look forward to the chaotic and stressful activity that looms in the week ahead.

There are a lot of interesting people: people who you’d never thought you’d meet in your lifetime, but definitely worth knowing. There are also those who you’d prefer to remain a nameless face . There are people whose talents I am immediately in awe, and whose personalities I sincerely appreciate.

Yes, there are days when the responsibilties are not yet that much, and I can finish a single proposal in 60 minutes or less (this I credit my previous company for the impeccable training given to me), or maybe even in my sleep.