29 December 2017

Revival of The Blog - The Gap Between 2015 & 2017

The last update was back in June 2015 and oh boy, lots of things have changed since then! Looking back, things sure looked optimistic then. Things however, kinda swayed towards another direction after that. To put things simply, things kinda went downhill and I’m still sort of recovering from it even now.

I’d like to write about what happened in between the 2 years gap.

This peaceful park used to be part of the Edo Castle.


(1) Career

Few months ago I’ve quit the digital marketing agency that I’ve been working for about 2 and a half years. I’m grateful for the opportunity to grow at the agency, as well as giving thanks to my awesome colleagues who had supported me back then. Without the experience working in the agency I would not be able to got my current job.

That being said, while I had great relationships with my colleagues at the agency, there are some things that I couldn’t agree with the agency that prompted me to seek for opportunity elsewhere.

Taken during summer 2016 when visiting Izu with colleagues. It was one of the better times.

I was very lucky to have met the right recruiting consultant which happened to have a client (my current employer) in need of a SEO specialist to join their company. The whole process happened faster than I expected as I managed to progress from the first meeting with the recruiter to getting the job offer all within a month.

Currently I’m working as an in-house digital marketing specialist, specializing in SEO while also looking into content marketing and social media fields. It’s a highly competitive industry and I’m still picking up something new day by day. Then again, the more things that you don’t know, the more eager you’d want to learn more about it. Looking forward for the opportunity to build up my skills and experiences to advance into this digital marketing field. Speaking of which, perhaps one day I shall write something about digital marketing, as I’ve been involving in it even without realizing it.

Company trip to Hiroshima. It was a solemn experience and looking forward to revisit the city again one day.


(2) Health

Physically, thankfully not much major issues. I really should work out something to reduce the belly, and somehow i started to feel the symptoms of aging, though I’ve yet to reach 30’s. Mentally, that’s a different story though. To be honest, I wasn’t at the best state of mind for the past few years.

A few months right after the last blog update, something happened which prompted me to reshuffle my priority to be more immersed with the work. From that onward, things worsen while I wasn’t aware of it and the moment when I realized something wasn’t right, it was too late.

Some days I would work close to the 11th hour, literally.

At the moment I’m slowly recovering from it. Rather than keeping within myself I’d prefer to speak it out. Am considering of writing it out at some point, as mental well-being issue is not something people would be eager to talk about it openly, however if left unchecked it can destroy a person from the inside.

A bit of anxiety, but I wouldn’t call it as a depression, as it’s way messier than what I’ve been through. My case is considered juvenile compared to what those who had severe depression been through.

There were times when I do not look forward walking to the end of this corridor.

Perhaps I should have acted earlier to pull myself out of the mess, but better be late than never, as now I’m slowly taking steps to regain my life back. Updating the blog here is one of the initiatives to have myself do what I used to enjoyed doing. Besides writing, I’m also thinking of getting involved with sports again and have a real proper vacation for myself, sometime in 2018.


(3) Social Life

Those who had stayed in Japan for an extended period of time will inevitably face the fact that the social circle is shrinking year by year. Many people are eager to come to Japan, but after experiencing the reality here, some decided to leave and go somewhere else, which is totally fine.

I used to laughed that some people said that they don’t really have any friends, but now I started to feel the same and can understand their sentiment in it. As we advance into adulthood, we have different priorities to take care off, and we tend to be more selective on choosing who to hangout with. If you look into yourself, nowadays we tend to spend more time with colleagues than our friends, isn’t it?  

The most obvious solution for this, is to get to know more new people.

The winter illumination at Tokyo Midtown is one of the popular spots in the city.

Which brings us to another topic which I’m frequently asked, whether I’m seeing someone. At the moment, I’m slowly regaining back control of my life after the hectic working hours at the previous workplace. I’m looking for someone whom I’m willing to commit much of my time on. Hopefully, in 2018 I can have an answer for it.


(4) Post-PC Life, Mobile-centric

Another reason why I seldom update the blog, is because iPhone is good enough to handle most of my daily usages of Internet. Personally I find this change surprising as back then I was known as the kid who couldn’t live without turning on the computer for a day. Now, I haven’t switch on my personal laptop for almost 2 years!

iPhone 7 Plus' size is almost exactly the same as the original Game Boy.

Another reason would be, after starring at the computer screen for about 10 hours a day at work makes me shun computer during the off days. On weekends I would wonder outside rather than spending the time indoor playing with computer. The priority of spending the off days too, has changed drastically in that sense, as having a mobile device means you can get connected anywhere no matter where you’re going (except for places with poor mobile reception).


(5) Resolutions for 2018

Now that this is the end of 2017, as usual I’d like to write down a few resolutions for next year.
Things that I’m looking forward to accomplish:
・Cycling - There are still a lot of places to be explored in Tokyo!
・Photography - I’m taking pics mostly on iPhone but am thinking of getting back into my faithful Canon.
・Writing/Composing - Training to express myself better by updating this blog more regularly.
・Traveling - It's time to have a proper rest, as I haven’t had a long vacation ever since I’ve started to work.

That’s it for now. Thank you for reading til the end and I wishes you all the best in 2018! :)

Likely to be around Tokyo for some time.

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.