Sunday, July 29

Oh let’s see… what’s happening.

(I’ll explain it later in the post, but… donate to my friend Amy!)

It’s hot.  Really hot and really humid.  No – it’s not the temperatures that have been racked up in the states, but you didn’t have the humidity and you did have a car to move you around.  We (the people of Japan) are here walking in the heat / humidity further than the parking lot and it’s tough.  At the same time, what else would you expect?  Complaining doesn’t help, so it’s just better to get used to it.

Take today, for example, I ran (yeah, wow, that’ll push your body temp up in this weather) to meet friends for lunch.  My body sweated for another 30 minutes, I ate, then we headed out on the street again.  All we could accomplish for the next 2 hour was to move from the lunch spot (White Smoke) to the Tully’s patio then to the Starbuck’s patio down the street.  At each place we just lamented the heat, hah!

I came home around 3p and sat in my underwear (you wanted that mental image, right?) going through Minus the Bear videos on Youtube.  I found out that they are going to release a new album at the end of August – exciting!  Eventually I made plans for dinner… Pizzakaya.

So… beyond today, let’s see.  On Thursday night I attended a picnic at Tokyo Midtown with some new friends.  That was a blast and a supreme challenge to the idea that I would leave Tokyo at any point.  It’s almost indescribable, the Japanese picnic scene.  First, there are lots of really great green spaces.  Next, in the vast majority of those green spaces you can carry / consume alcohol.  Third, picnics are collections of loosely connected people that all get along without really knowing one another.  Take Thursday for example – the 2nd batch of people to show up to the picnic were asked by the organizer how they got the invite.  She didn’t mind that they were there, but she had no idea who they were, and just the same they were welcome!!

I debated, around that time, with my new friend Ad (a Dutchman) how this could be replicated in the states.  I’m not sure that it could.  I think the idea that you can’t carry a six-pack or a bottle of wine into the event hinders a certain aspect of the gathering, and second the comfort level of half-strangers in the US isn’t quite the same.  Or maybe it’s just the south.  Or maybe it’s just me.  I dunno.  What do you think?

On the work front I’ve had a challenging week, but a good one just the same.  We did performance evaluations this week but these were some of the most comfortable I’ve ever done, no matter the culture.  I changed the format at the beginning of the year and it seems to have paid off really majorly.  In parallel I’ve had a several conversations with leaders in the US that have bolstered my confidence for the future, something I really needed after some things that happened last week.

One of the calls was with my (new) primary point of contact in the US.  With him I finally formally pitched the idea for my next job (something I’ll share another time…) and he expressed both interest and enthusiasm for it.  We not only talked about that, but the situation in the company, etc. which all-in-all calmed me down.  On Thursday I got to talk with someone in the region that holds lots of influence who also exhibited interest in the pitch.  Finally, on Friday I got to talk with a guy that I absolutely hated 4 years ago, but really mended fences with 2 years ago, and as of a few weeks ago I was advocating for him to be in Japan working with me.  He gave me some fantastic news – apparently my selling efforts had actually stuck and were making some rounds in the upper management!  I’m trying to stay reasonable in my expectations, but so far it’s working in my favor, so I’m pumped.

I don’t really want to get into too much detail, but I will say that the job that I’m pitching does afford me plenty of time in the US, so don’t get any idea that I’m moving in for good in Tokyo.  Susan and Olivia will be in the states, so I need to be there too.  On top of that I’m really struggling being away from the support system of friends and family.  Sure there are some super awesome people around here, but it’s never going to replace the people at home.

On a different note, I’d like to point out that a very good friend of mine is working with Team In Training to prepare for her first ever (half) marathon in San Francisco while also fund raising for the Lukemia & Lymphoma Society.  She just made her first major fund raising goal, but has a good bit left over the next couple of months.  It would be a lot – to me, to her, and to the society – if you could donate a bit.  I’m super proud of Amy – this is a big change for her in a lots of ways and I am so happy that she is achieving her goals.  Please consider any level of donation.

I’ll be in the states in just a little less than 3 weeks – I can’t wait to see my little girl that apparently has grown an inch and a half in the last few months, plus all my friends and family.  I should be in Nashville around the time Ben has his grand opening, something I’m super excited about as well.  It’s just a 2 week trip, so time will be tight, but I’ll do my best to make the rounds.  I’ll be back again in December for Olivia’s birthday and Christmas in the states.

I miss you all.  Thank to everyone for your support from a distance.  You’re still welcome to come crash here if you’d like to visit Tokyo.  And don’t forget – give Amy some donations!

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