Sunday, March 24, 2013

The Cleansing

Burn those books, you'll feel better afterwards!
As I in the quite near future will start working a lot more from home (assuming toddler Sunshine and Baby Salaryman will kindly allow me to do so) I did a purging of my computer/work room to throw out some old stuff. I threw out two large cardboard boxes of books and a large part of my trade paperback collection of comics went deep into the closet.

There was a time when my most valued possessions was my "stuff", things like books, comics, DVD collection, games and CDs, everything else I didn't care too much about, even if the TV was expensive it would be easy to replace while my "stuff" had taken some time and effort to acquire and not as easily replaced. The change to digital media has piece by piece ruined this for me, the first to go was my CD collection as the iPod and iTunes came into play. My 2000+ CD collection now sits in a drawer (all hard plastic cases exchanged for thin plastic sleeves to take up less space) and I have not taken out a CD for over 4 years... Selling it off does not really seem like an option considering that I would in best case only get a pittance for it, particularly here in Japan as the music is obscure, but I can't bring myself to throw it away either as many of the CDs hold a story for me, so I just keep it.

When I got the iPad something similar happened to my comic collection, as I just read comics digitally now and can download all the stuff I have, the comics are just sitting there on the shelf, taking up space. I'm torn between trying to sell them somehow as they probably have a little more value to some than obscure CDs but on the other hand I might want to keep them for a rainy night after the apocalypse has killed the Internet and North Korean EMP bombs have rendered my electronic devices useless.

In one way it feels a bit sad as I often have memories attached to the stuff and can remember when (and what I was thinking) I ordered and got the CD/Comic/Book and a sense of accomplishment as the collection was growing bigger. Nowadays it's way too easy to find most stuff online without any real effort more than google or an iTunes search and it's a process that's basically the same every time. Now my "stuff" is all digital and sitting on a harddrive without anything physical to touch, sort and fondle with. I used to enjoy going through the stuff from time to time and figuring out how to sort it the best way, but moving folders around on a computer is just a hassle that feels like work without any enjoyment.

I don't want to come across as a technology hostile Salaryman, all in all the the joy of physical stuff is outweighed by the convenience of the digital age. But the collector in me was rudely woken up, killed, dragged outside, mutilated and hung in a streetlight as a warning to others... What's the challenge in collecting when everything is readily available and easy to reproduce (control+C...)?

However, just recently I realized that the collector had reawakened in me again, although this time directed towards the exciting world of... ... ... cables! With all the electronical devices in the house, I have accumulated a significant range of cables for all imaginable purposes and recently got these two babies for the house and as I unpacked the stuff and felt satisfaction looking at them I realized that these are the depths that I have sunk to now... Is this what is has come to?

(I actually got the pink one for Mrs. Sunshine and initally felt a bit miffed when she didn't share in my excitement of the convenient and stylish power outlet (with USB ports!))

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Hitting The Motherlode

"War Outlawed!" - Why didn't we think of this before?!
Ooops, it looks like it's been over a month since I last posted again... Well, now I can now reveal one of the big reasons why I have been a bit distracted a bit lately (as if two small kids wasn't enough of a reason...). Again I will venture out on new adventures and I am quitting my current job at the big US corporation for something a bit closer to home.

I will be starting to work for a German based healthcare consultant as their man in Japan, assisting their European clients in building relationships in Japan in the field of healthcare (pharma, devices, hospital planning etc.). The firm is so small that we'll only be two people working in Japan so a big change from the large firm I am working for now. The firm is so small that there is no legal entity in Japan and I will be under a contract directly with the German office, this has the main benefit that I will be subject to German working conditions. This means a significantly longer vacation per year while still lifting Japan competitive salary, basically the best of both worlds! Also, frequent business trips back to Europe will make it a lot easier to get back home from time to time and bring the family to use up all that vacation time. No more early morning or late night teleconferences with the US east coast either sounds pretty nice too.

As I no longer will have any Japanese colleagues I am actually starting to get a little bit worried about fitting in in a non-Japanese work environment... A mini-organization in Japan also means that I do not have to put up with all the politics and stuff that comes with it, but also that I will have to do all the stuff myself as no one will be there to help out.

The timing is not perfect though as I actually was enjoying the work at the big US corp and with just a little under two years in I had started to establish my base of power from which to further extend my reign of petty terror, but opportunities like these are very rare so I decided to take the jump again. 

That's the quick update, if not particularly funny, as I will soon have more time to spare in between the jobs you can expect a little more frequent posting from me in the coming weeks!
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