02 June 2015

Memorable May

May has been a special month for me, as it signifies progress in my life for the past 2 years. 

In May 2014 I went back to KL briefly and successfully landed my first job. 

A year later in 2015, after spending 2 weeks back home, I came back to Tokyo fully recharged and looking forward for the challenges in work. 

Work hard on weekdays, and play hard in weekends. 

The Thai Festival in mid of May is an annual event that I wouldn't miss, for it's glorious Thai food, which suits well for my Malaysian taste bud. 

The next day, joined fellow committee members of MSAJ for fiery dinner at Manhattan Fish Market. 

A week later, went to Naruto and Star Wars exhibition at Roppongi Hills. 

Attended the official Dinner with Malaysian Prime Minister Najib with fellow Malaysians at Palace Hotel Tokyo. 

And lastly, enjoyed some nice curry rice at Penang Restaurant near Tokyo Tower. 

So as you can see, May has been a wonderful month for me. I'm grateful for everything and everyone who's been involved. 

Let's hope June and months to come will be as great as May! ;) 

07 May 2015

My Experience Working in Japan's Marketing Industry (1st year)

I'm currently having a short break back home in KL, and have a bit of time to write about my experience working in Japan so far. At the moment I'm 2 months away for my 1st working "anniversary".

I'd like to share it in few phases on working in Japan so far.


Home sweet home KL, somewhere I belong.

Just over a year ago, I arrived back home in KL 2 months after I've graduated in March. I was in the middle of job-hunting, it was an uncertain time and I wanted to unwind myself back home for awhile, before continuing job-hunting again soon.

After fully recharged back home, I headed back to Tokyo and successfully landed my first job.

Phase 1: Entering the Marketing Industry

View of Shinjuku from the office.

While I was hired as SEO consultant, my initial job scope was to manage a media website introducing life in Japan from the perspective of foreigners. That's my first encounter with content and search engine marketing.

The boss gave me the freedom to manage the site whatever ways that I want, and in return demanded the increase of unique user' session counts each month. All this while the industry has been emphasizing on creating original content, and we tried to employ it as part of our strategy. How's the verdict? To put things short, it didn't went as planned.

However, it was a valuable experience on trying to manage such a website from end-to-end, namely the maintenance of the platform (WordPress for this case), recruiting writers, update & fine-tune the blog posts, and finally spread it out on the social networks.

After working at the first company for few months, here comes an offer from the parent company who're looking for staffs to fill up the larger parent company. I took the chance and looking forward working at a different environment.

Phase 2: Shifting to the Bigger Arena

The parent company is a total different story and scale.

The number of employees in the Tokyo office is about 500 compared to 20 at the previous company.
As one of the top Internet marketing agency in Japan, the parent company handles quite a number of big-name clients' cases. It's SEO solution is one of the most sought-after services provided by the company.

During the initial 2 months, I've went through various training courses about the basics of Internet marketing, something I should've done it at the previous company. Good thing about company of this scale, is that there are opportunities to attend seminars hosted by big G and other major players in the industries. It's certainly helpful to keep myself updated with the latest trends happening in the industry. Sometimes this kind of talk is much effective in making a point than reading it online.

At that moment, I was trying to absorb as many knowledge as I can by doing things at my own pace. I didn't really understand the need of staying back til late night. Those days were the honeymoon period when I'm able to leave the office on time around 7pm.

Christmas cake sponsored by the boss.

Phase 3: Facing The Reality

One of my favourite pastime is take a stroll after lunch enjoying sakura bloom.

As I was a freshie in the company, I was eager to proof my worthiness to be in the company quickly by handling cases.

Over the next few months I was given the tasks of making proposal to clients on how can they improve their websites. I did struggled but that's normal as it was my first time doing it. After all, we learn the most by embracing mistakes that we've made along the way.

However, when the dateline presses on, it's not uncommon to leave the office after 10pm, and on extreme days, barely able to catch the last train of the day. When I reached my apartment, it's already passed the dateline (12am) and when I finally managed to settled down, it's already 1 or 2am. After sleeping for a few hours, I'm back in the office working just like zombie.

I don't mind to stay up late once in awhile, but I'm alarmed that this continues for weeks to come, to an extent that the unhealthy work-life balance has taken a toll on my own health. Plus, sleep deprive makes me a very different person than I'm usually is.

Fortunately, I've supportive supervisor and colleagues around to guide me when in need. I'm thankful for that, really.

Surprised to know that 2 other colleagues are sharing the same birthday as mine!

To Infinity, and Beyond!

Exploring an unknown territory in life.

I realized that I'm fortunate able to work at this current company because it's not be easy to be able to get into such a big agency.

When it comes to future prospects, there are a few points to ponder.

1) Over the few months or years to come, I wanna learn as many things as I can to become an independent marketing consultant. It takes time so I shouldn't rush for it.

2) If the work-life balance issue still persists, I may need to reconsider my plan in order to maintain myself to be able to work at the optimum rate most of the time.

3) For the next few years, I shall decide should I renew the working visa, or not. It's obvious where I'll be heading, should I didn't renew the visa.

I believe I have to make some key decisions sooner or later.
Life's having a little turbulence right now, but as I sort it out gradually, things will get better and I'm eager to announce it here, should there's any breakthrough progress.

Until then, thanks for reading this blog all this while. :)

20 April 2015

I get wings to fly, oh~ I'M ALIVE.

Hi there, it's been awhile, really.... 
Doing pretty well here so far.... 

Mainly wanna test just how good is this default Blogger app for iPhone. 

A cool graffiti in somewhere near Naka-Meguro, Tokyo. 

Sushi set lunch around ¥800+, pretty good deal for 12 pieces. 

Ramen for lunch. 

Just a few pics update for now.... I do have some stories which I'd like to share, will definitely try to write up something soon. 

Lastly, something exotic, Sakura meat. Google it if you've no idea what is it. 

03 November 2014

Fundamental Conflicts

It's November now, only 2 months left until the dawn of new year.

Today I'd like to reflect upon few things happening lately that has challenged my fundamentals greatly.

The first scenario happens at work, over the matter of "quality VS quantity".

I’m currently running this project of sharing life experiences in Japan, Makunouchi Japan. Our aim is to become one of the most-visited sites when it comes to Japan-related information.

For the first few weeks I took over the project, it’s just like update and maintaining the blog. However, as the honeymoon period comes to an end, the supervisor demanded the pace to be increased exponentially.

Initially it seems to be a tough call, demanding a rapid rise in the site visits in short amount of time. One of way of doing it is trying to increase the number of blog posts in order to boost the site’s reputation and increase potential visits through search engine results.

I admit that my pace of updating the blog is kinda slow as I’m being meticulous to proofread the articles’ texts and enhance the images before publishing them. After years of habitually updating blogs, I tend to spend quite a lot of time just to finish up a blog post, which is one of the reasons why I didn’t update this blog that frequently nowadays (yeah lame excuse I know…).

From this experience, I realized that when it comes to a job, it’s no longer about doing things the way you like, but to do it the way that others are pleased and with solid result. I still love writing blogs, but the mindset has to be changed in order to cope with a new demand, quantity over quality.

I do however, still enjoy making others salivating and envy with these delicious-looking sushi pics heh. :P

Anyway, I'm thankful that the supervisor and seniors who're guiding me all this while. Really appreciate it.

Sunset over Shinjuku.
Sunset Shinjuku 新宿の夕焼け

For the next one..... it almost knocked me off and makes me question myself, what have I've been doing over the past quarter of century? The question attacks the very core of who I am today, what kind of person I am. Curious to know...

Tokyo International Forum. Somehow the cross-bridges resemble my current state of mind.

Just the other day I've had a few glasses of wines and spoke to a few close friends. What we've discussed may not be disclosed, but after the conversation, I felt kinda awkward and frustrating for myself to be honest.

In order for me to "blend in" further, I will have to venture into unknown territory, ie: stepping out of the comfort zone. I totally understands that at times it is necessary and I'm willing to push my boundary further.

Changes can be made, but not in the matter of days or weeks I think, especially if it's a drastic one. Physically it can be changed easily, but mentally it does need more time and effort to adjust to the new ideas.

Some of the changes, however, challenges my fundamental greatly and I don't even know how to react, what should I do. I've become so numb. I'm sort of torn between what should I take in, and what should I leave behind. I asked, am I doing the right thing all this while?

So confused and even the Tokyo Tower appears to be slanted!

Things may look a little rough ahead, but I'm confident that as time goes by I'll definitely overcome it. I know that I have the problem's solutions in hand, as long as I did things accordingly things will be solved.

I had a feeling that once overcoming these obstacles, life ahead could be very different from now, for better or worse, it has to be changed anyway.

Surely you can do it, Cliff! ;)

22 October 2014

Coffee or Wine?

Would you prefer a cup of freshly brewed coffee, or a glass of vintage wine?
Well, if it's past 6 in the evening, the choice will be fermented grape juice over the black magic.

Perfect day = a cup of nice coffee + engaging conversation. :)

Lately I've had a couple glasses of the maroon liquor with bunch of friends. Worry not, as I remain sober all this while. I'd prefer to drink casually and socially, and not for the sake of getting drunk.

Surprisingly good wine from America.

When I recall what had happened over the past few months, oh boy it was something kinda different than what I had experienced so far.

As usual, the Pisces' mind runs wild with imaginations of all the wonderful prospects that seems to be happening.

Alas, all the visualization came to an end, when an arthropod* steps in.

As much as I tried not to be superstitious about horoscope, but at times some of the descriptions are shockingly accurate.

The red Velours

There's a saying, "three strikes and you're out!"

Thrice had struck and for the fourth to happen it will definitely drive things to points of no return. Being slightly optimistic, a temporary meltdown perhaps.

False expectations are shattered, grounded myself back to reality.
A rushed effort may not produce the desired result, to be honest.

Anyway, things had settled down a bit since then. Or at least I hoped so. Cool down period is crucial and an ill-decision will undo everything and it's not just me, but the collateral damage will affect some others around me too, which isn't worth it, really.

Bitter & Sweet

I thought I'm ready to dedicate and commit; I thought I had good intention, but it wasn't the right time for execution.

I do appreciate for some of the priceless moments.
Whatever happens tomorrow, we had today. Cherish the moment.
Cherish your friends, stay true to your principles, live passionately and fully and well. Experience new things. Love and be loved, if you ever get the chance.
Eventually, I realized that....

  • Being nice doesn't pays off at times.

  • Nobody is interested listening to technical blabber, really.

  • It's not about what's right or wrong all the time, but the feel for it.

  • Don't just think about yourself, remember to put yourself in other's shoes.

  • Be a little more patient, and sometimes it's best to say nothing at all.

    Nevertheless, I've learn a lot from this experience and definitely will do better next time.
    For the sake of everyone's interests, the story concludes with past tense for now.

    Blossom of Fall
    Blossom of fall May you bloom and grow, bloom and grow forever.

    * Arthropod refers to a horoscope which falls on fall, if you haven't guessed it.

  • 13 August 2014


    Here's a scenario I bet most foreigners are familiar with in Japan. We often get praised for our linguistic skills, for most of us can speak at least 2 languages (our mother tongue & Japanese).

    Japan is after all, pretty much a monolingual nation, which isn't necessary a bad thing. The other languages used here are English (due to US' influence), Chinese Mandarin & Korean Hangul. However, the chances of meeting someone who can speak these languages to an understandable level, is pretty slim on the street.

    Once in awhile, I witnessed or heard cases where tourist was rejected assistance by ordinary folks because they could not communicate with each other effectively. I'm trying to see it this way that given such situation that stresses and perhaps embarrassing for the Japanese, they would rather walk away to save all the trouble and hassle. As for the unfortunate tourist, the impression of friendly Japanese just shatters. Thankfully, they are also Japanese who are eager to help out the foreign guests, as seen at some tourist spots where one can find free volunteer tour guides.

    Quite a number of foreign expats have bashed Japan for it's overly grammar-oriented English education that neglects the speaking part mostly. I would think that it is because they lacked a proper environment to speak English. To make things worse, trying to speak English publicaly can still be taken as an act of showing off, something against the Japanese's modesty culture.

    Speaking as a Malaysian, I think that one of the best thing being a former British colony, is the solid English foundation built up over the decades. While the current Malaysian government seems to be trying to reduce English's influence in education, there is no doubt that English has rooted deeply into the Malaysian society. The fact that the newspaper with the most readership in Malaysia, is English-based The Star proofs this well.

    In Japan, sometimes we'll get commented for speaking "funny" or "weird" English. We are speaking Malaysian English after all, and there is distinctive difference than the mainstream American or British English. Only fellow Malaysians or our close neighbor Singaporean can decipher our English. For me, speaking our style of English comes very naturally with fellow countrymates, however other than that I have to be careful not to slip out the Malaysian English in me.

    Ada juga masanya apabila kita dalam keadaan yang kurang selesa, di mana kita ingin berkata sesuatu tetapi tidak hendak difahami orang lain kecuali orang sendiri. Masa itulah Bahasa Malaysia sangat berguna. Di Tokyo saya sering ada peluang bercakap BM kerana ada ramai rakan di sini, dan sebab itu BM saya masih boleh tahan lagi.

    Walau bagaimanapun, saya pernah jumpa dengan warganegara yang enggan ataupun tidak boleh bertutur dalam BM. Ada yang anggap sekadar dapat "memuaskan" dalam sijil SPM sudah cukup dan ia tiada gunanya di Jepun. Ada yang sudah lupa kerana telah lama tinggal di luar negara. Kadang kala ada kesnya ditanya warganegara lain, kenapa orang Malaysia tidak boleh bertutur dalam BM? Ia amat menyedihkan dan memalukan.




    日本では伝統、パターン、ルーティンとかは大切にしていることは決して悪くはない。ただ、時代の変遷によって、変更しなければ存在ができなくなる可能性がある。それに、変更のタイミング、方針も非常に重要である。例えば、かつて音楽再生機の主流であったソニーWalkmanは、革新が遅れて今iPodの後ろに追いかけている状態になってしまう。同じくソニーのPlay Stationも、XBoxとの競争は真剣に取らないといけないと考えている。


    Lastly, just to clarify that I'm writing this from the perspective of a Malaysian in Japan. Multilinguistic isn't our privilege only, and in fact there are others who can speak more than we do, just look at the Europeans. Being multilingual isn't something we should be proud of, but most importantly how can one make full use of each languages to it's best potential.