The Constant Exhaustion of Being a Minority

The Constant Exhaustion of Being a Minority

I recently listened to a podcast where a New York Times journalist interviewed employees at Conde Nast about corporate culture at a company famous for being predominantly white and upper class. The journalist focused on one employee in particular: a black woman who served as the personal assistant to one of the chief directors. The personal assistant said she was treated well, her opinions were heard, and she was given the utmost respect from her boss and colleagues.

Yet in the end, after a year and to the shock of her colleagues and boss, she resigned. read more

Top 5 Most Livable Cities in the World (Ruby Ronin’s Pick)

Top 5 Most Livable Cities in the World (Ruby Ronin’s Pick)

Whenever I travel to a new city, I explore the sights and take in the sounds with a lingering question in the back of my mind: could I live here?

When I was younger, cities like New York and Shanghai appealed to me for their sheer number of job opportunities, excitement, and cultural amenities. As I start to get older and think about what I truly want in a city, I tend to choose easy-going over exhilarating. In other words, I ask myself: Could I raise a family here?

Ranked below are my top five most favorite cities that I would easily relocate to if given the chance. I selected and ranked these cities according to six criteria: safety, convenience, culture, stability, comfort, and cost. read more

5 Reasons Japanese Companies Are Not All Bad

5 Reasons Japanese Companies Are Not All Bad

The view from my previous company’s Tokyo office

Working for a Japanese company actually has many unseen benefits compared to an American company. Despite what I wrote in my previous blog post, it’s definitely not all bad. While there are still many drawbacks to being employed at Japanese companies, I think it’s worth looking at the silver lining.

For the first time in my 10 year career, I am starting a job that has absolutely zero involvement with Japan. I will not work with Japanese clients, I will not have Japanese colleagues, and I am most definitely not working for a Japanese company. read more

My World is Flipping Upside Down

My World is Flipping Upside Down

When I first moved back to Portland after my horrendous year in Dallas, I was angry and flippant. Once again I was moving to a random US city for my husband’s job, and to top it all off we purchased a house that would ultimately lock us to an unknown place I had never lived in. When we signed the papers to purchase the house, I had to repeatedly ask my husband that the house would not make Portland permanent for us. That we could sell it. He said yes. With hands shaking, I signed the papers to the house located in a city I knew nothing about. I was scared. I was nervous. I was confused. read more

The secret to long life for the overworked Japanese? A hot bath

The secret to long life for the overworked Japanese? A hot bath

It’s ironic that one of the most overworked populations in the world is also the country with the longest average lifespan.

Japan has one of the most grueling work ethics in the world, where the average employee is expected to put in more than 80 hours of overtime per month. In prior posts I wrote about a Japanese colleague who worked himself sick to the point where he came into the office with an IV drip; while another Japanese colleague sat at his desk to the point of unconsciousness, only to wake up in the ER and demand his work laptop from the hospital bed. From these examples, it is easy to see how the word ‘karoshi,’ or death from overwork, came to be part of the everyday Japanese lexicon. read more

The Badass Female Asian Bosses Who Inspired Me to Succeed

The Badass Female Asian Bosses Who Inspired Me to Succeed

Until my recent job, I have had unimaginable good luck when it comes to having a great boss. My prior bosses weren’t just amazing — they were all female, Asian, and extremely badass. Working so closely with such amazing role models on a daily basis not only inspired me to succeed, but also made me realize what good leadership truly looks like.

Takada-San: The Ad Executive

I remember when I first met Takada-san during my interview.  She had a black suit on and a stone-faced expression.  She questioned all of my credentials.  She was hesitant and suspicious of this foreigner from left-field being offered a high paying position at a Japanese company. As I faced her at the interview table, I could feel her ice cold stare diving head first into my soul. read more

Happy Holidays from Utah

Happy Holidays from Utah

Happy Holidays from Utah! Like I do almost every year, I’m spending Christmas and New Years in my home state of Utah, where I usually share a plate of turkey with my small family of four (plus husband). Unlike previous years, however, there is a big difference in 2020.

I didn’t just fly in for the holidays. I have been in Utah for the last four months — almost half a year.

The Full Wrath of 2020

At least I have a cat to cheer me up in Utah

Saying that 2020 sucked is an understatement. Similar to many others out there, I was also hit by a storm of misfortune. Most notably, the decline in my father’s health in spring 2020. read more

Working at a Japanese Company – The Good, The Bad, and The Crazy

Working at a Japanese Company – The Good, The Bad, and The Crazy

In honor of Labor Day, I thought I would share some good, bad, and…. well, downright crazy stories I have from working at a Japanese company during my tenure in Shanghai. Although I already recorded some funny stories in deeply buried posts from the past, there are a few more memories that deserve to see the light of day. These memories are so unique to Japan (and China?) that I have just have to write them down.

Can we make her more global?

When I was working at a Japanese company located in Shanghai, I was the only westerner in the building. Besides myself, everyone was either Japanese or Chinese. I was the ultimate unicorn: a trilingual American who somehow ended up working at one of Japan’s top companies in Shanghai. read more

My New Normal Under COVID-19

My New Normal Under COVID-19

Since the pandemic hit, everyone’s life has changed. It’s hard to believe that it’s been seven months since COVID-19 locked down the USA back in early March — mostly because time has been flying. Under COVID-19, the days feel long and the months are short. I’m utterly dumbfounded that September will soon be upon us.

It’s also unbelievable that, despite the intense difficulties that COVID-19 has wrecked upon the United States, many of us are coping. The ability for humans to adapt to new circumstances and difficulties is truly amazing. Americans are (finally) wearing masks to conduct daily life activities. We keep our distance when passing someone on the sidewalk. Hand sanitizer multiple times a day is normal. Working from home is now widely accepted and no longer an astonishing new hurdle to overcome. It truly amazes me how we can so quickly adjust ourselves to such intense hardship. read more

Dear Mom and Dad: Happy Interracial Marriage Day

Dear Mom and Dad: Happy Interracial Marriage Day

Today is “Loving Day,” the day when the 1967 United States Supreme Court decision Loving v. Virginia struck down all anti-miscegenation laws remaining in sixteen U.S. states. In other words: it’s the day that all interracial marriages in the US can give thanks to Richard and Mildred Loving for enabling us to legally marry the person we love.

To be frank, I only learned that today was Loving Day this morning thanks to some posts on social media. I wish I could say I was more aware, but I’m not. My lovely friends and acquaintances help keep me informed. read more