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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?

Maybe this pink wig would have done the trick?

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

The Japanese View on George Floyd and Racial Riots in the USA

The Japanese View on George Floyd and Racial Riots in the USA

After living in Japan for two years and China for five, I determined that the handling of racial inequities in the USA is very different from Asia. In America, race is an open book. It is a topic that we approach head on. We touch on race in televised speeches and graduation commencements; we comment on race on our TV shows and stand-up comedy (hell, we even have TV shows classified by race), and we openly discuss race among friends and family. Unlike in Asia, race is not something we shove under the rug in the USA. It’s out there for all to see. read more

Work from home without losing your mind during the COVID-19 crisis

Work from home without losing your mind during the COVID-19 crisis

As I predicted, the USA’s turn for COVID-19 has finally rounded the corner and we are on track to join our Italian brothers on a viral free-for-all. We have Trump to thanks for that; but hey, that’s an entirely different post.

In an effort to keep the economy afloat while enacting quarantine, many companies are asking their employees to work from home. In the glorious age of the internet, all of us are making the ‘virtual’ our new norm.

Well, for me, it was always the norm. I see many of my friends (and in-office colleagues) stressing out about being cooped up at home with a laptop, and are even googling tips about how to cope with the isolation. Not only that, I noticed a slew of articles online being released about the art of remote work and various opinions on its pros and cons. Some workers even paid a premium to sit with a community of buddies in silence over webcam (no thanks), while others complained about how working from home honestly aint all it’s cracked up to be (totally on board with that one). read more

Inferno: Traveling around Milan and Florence in July

Inferno: Traveling around Milan and Florence in July

Infero. It was a fitting name for our July trip to Italy because we were going to Florence, the hometown of the writer Dante and his works on hell. Inferno is also the name of the famous Dan Brown book featuring Robert Langdon, symbologist hero extraordinare, who ventured through the nooks and crannies of Florence and Milan to ultimately save the world.

Inferno was the perfect word to describe our late honeymoon because, well, it was hot. Really hot. Like, hotter than Dante’s inferno hot. In fact, it was so hot, it was the the hottest summer ever recorded in Europe. read more

Barcelona in February: A Tale of Two Stomachs

Barcelona in February: A Tale of Two Stomachs

Chances are, you have a friend, family, or coworker who has traveled to Barcelona in the last few months. Barcelona is a hot destination, especially in the winter months like February, because it’s a city with plenty of sunshine, fairly warm weather, and sandy beaches to lounge around on.

Last year everyone, including my best friend H and her husband, were fed up with winter. We had it with scraping ice off the windshield, walking around in freezing wind with rain and snow, and never seeing the sun. Our friends raved about Barcelona’s good food and weather and, after googling a few photos of Spain and Catalan cuisine (and consequently drooling on the keyboard), we ended up booking February flights for Spain. read more

The Ruby Ronin’s 2019 Year End Roundup

The Ruby Ronin’s 2019 Year End Roundup

Tulip Festival March 2019

Happy 2020 everyone! While this post is very tardy, I will reply with the age-old excuse: better late than never. And honestly, no one probably gives a flying crap about how my life went in 2019, but I like to write these kind of posts for myself. It’s always interesting to look back on my year-end summaries and see just how much my life has changed in 2, 5, and even 10 years (wow, this blog is so old).

Compared to my whirlwind life in 2018, I have to say that 2019 was much more “calm”…. and that’s exactly what I needed. It’s been the year to sit back and settle down (somewhat), and figure out my place in life in this new city called Portland, Oregon. read more

Need a good rom com? “Love the Way You Are” is one of the best Chinese Love Stories of 2019

Need a good rom com? “Love the Way You Are” is one of the best Chinese Love Stories of 2019

I was on a Delta flight and saw “Love the Way You Are,” or 我的青春都是你 as a Chinese film up for viewing. It looked like a sub-par romantic comedy, but I was surprised to find it a sweet Chinese love story that, even after the credits rolled, I still find myself thinking about it with a smile on my face. It’s definitely the best Chinese Love Story (rom-com) I’ve ever seen.

The rom-com has become a formulaic and a nearly dead genre in the West. Aside from “Crazy Rich Asians,” the rom-com has failed to make cinematic profit in decades. Hell, the genre has gone so downhill that there’s even a rom-com about how ridiculous rom-coms are. read more

How studying Italian helped me learn Japanese

How studying Italian helped me learn Japanese

I recently fulfilled my lifelong dream of going to Italy, but many (including my husband) wondered….

Why Italy?

As many of my long-time readers know, I’m half-Vietnamese. My mom is a refugee from Vietnam and her native language is not English. While I grew up in an English speaking home, my mother struggled to adapt to her non-native tongue. Not being able to fully communicate with my mother made me feel like a stranger in my home.

Since I cannot speak Vietnamese, many of my friends often assume that I was not exposed to Vietnamese whatsoever. However, while my mom never spoke Vietnamese directly *at* me, the language was actually all around me growing up. My mom watched Vietnamese music videos and dramas constantly. In fact, whenever I hear the string of an erhu and guqin with the long winded cry of traditional Vietnamese singing, I am immediately taken back to my childhood living room. read more