Wednesday, May 21, 2008

[ job-fair for foreigners ] trip@

I just got back from Tokyo this morning. My back-bone itches, my neck feels extremely weird, like I just got a neck surgery last night; I’m slightly dehydrated and I’m tired like a race-dog.

As soon as I reached home, I want to take a quick nap but I can’t because the room was unbelievably messy and it stinks like my own piss during a cold winter’s morning. I gotta clean up; put some flowers in the room. Like rose. Red rose. Or tulips. Or maybe a HUGE poster of some 80’s Swedish pornstar, I don’t know.

Then I realized that I have no time to relax or clean my room because I got an exam in 3 hours, and I haven’t prepared anything. What a dumb move. Now I know, studying for an important exam when you’re extremely tired, in a messy + smelly room, is quite a challenge. I can’t focus at all.

3 hours felt like 5 minutes.

So I took the test, and unsurprisingly, I did poorly. I was so tired that I fell asleep while scribbling ‘something’ on the answer sheet. When I woke up and look at what I’ve written on the paper, I knew I have to slap my face hard, several times.

Instead of proper Japanese words, I’ve written Chinese characters that don’t exist. So I start over from the top; scrub off my scribbling, wipe off my drool and saliva left on the answer sheet and write something. Hopefully the correct answers.

Heh, who am I kidding here? Of course I flunked the paper, hard!

Anyways, I went to Tokyo this time to attend (another) job fair. This time, it’s held in Sunshine City, Ikebukuro and it’s open to all foreign students in Japan. Out of all the attendees, I bet 90% of them are Chinese foreign students, and probably 80% of them are 文系 (bunkei – liberal arts course) people, not 理系 (rikei – science course) like me.

There were too many people, I felt drowned in a sea of foreigners. I’m sweating heavily in my suit. It’s too hot, too loud and too many people.

I went to the Hitachi, Fujitsu, Aimnext and Konami; then I left. I was supposed to attend a second interview for Aimnext later during the day, but I don’t felt anything about the company, so I left. I don’t think that the trip was worth it, because the companies that attended the jobfair mainly are searching for 文系 (bunkei) people, not engineers.

Forget about job-hunting for a moment, I went to the new Malaysian restaurant in Ebisu Shibuya (the nearest train station is 代官山 daikanyama) for lunch, and I must say, the food there is exceptionally Malaysian! They’re delicious!

The menu for the buffet for the day is white rice (beras wangi siam), ayam kurma, gulai (Norwegian) mackerel and chicken + vegetable soup.

I went during lunch time, and they had two types of menu to choose from: a buffet or ala carte. I want to eat a lot so I choose the buffet (with dessert) for 1000 yen.

On the way out, I chatted with the two Chefs (one from Pengkalan Chepa and the other from Besut) and they told me about the the restaurant.

Jom Makan (the name of the restaurant), is the first restaurant in a newly announced government program: the Malaysian Kitchen program. The program aimed to place at least one Malaysian restaurant in each county around the world. That’s quite a big aim, and they hope to eventually put 1000 Malaysian restaurants under this program, scattering all over the world. Who knows, a franchise of government-sponsored Malaysian restaurants might work! Sounds really interesting too.

But I’m curious about one thing.

Being a fully halal restaurant approved by the Malaysian Embassy, having muslim chefs and a strong support from the Malaysian government; all these ‘strong points’ are unfortunately not that strong enough to keep the restaurant from being binded by the Japanese restaurants tradition: selling alcoholic beverages.

Majority of halal restaurants in japan sell alcoholic beverages, including Jom Makan.

So why is it so inevitable that it is a must for (even) a halal restaurant to adhere by the tradition and sell alcoholic beverages? The reasons are not many but one of the main reason for this shocking confusion is that the Japanese has a very strong drinking culture that no one would want to go eat at a place that don’t sell alcohol. Just ask other halal restaurant in Japan, and they’d probably say the same thing: no alcohol, no customer.

It seems like this is how things work in Japan.

So the one question that comes from my curiosity is this: Can it be considered OK to do this? I understand that they’re doing this to survive; this is how things work here. The alcoholic beverages were sold at a price that would NOT create profit, as a note.

Oh well, I’d rather be enjoying the rare authentic Malaysian food that I’m having in front of my eyes then to think about the issue; at least for the moment. So as I was enjoying my meal, I could hear the two Japanese customers sitting on the table in front of me talking about Malaysia. They seemed to really like what they’re having because both of them couldn’t stop saying [ kore, oishii! ] to each other. I couldn’t help it but nod in agreement, silently.

Then one of them picked up a magazine about Malaysia and started to read it. I continued to bring the tasty solid materials little by little into my mouth, and then I used my strong healthy teeth to crush and mix the food to produce a combination of tasty feelings that could only be achieved by the co-operation of carefully cooked ingredients and spices.

Then I stopped chewing when I heard the customer said : え!マレーシアでも高速道路があるんだ。。。ふんん。。。[ wow, they have highways in Malaysia too! ].

マレーシアでも超高層ビルあるんだ。。。知らなかった。。。[ they have skyscrapers too! I didn’t know this! ]

Wow. Is Malaysia this unknown to the Japanese people? Maybe they think that Malaysians are still living on tree houses and the women bare their boobies walking around the village.


Well, I guess it cannot be helped. Probably the only source of information about Malaysia to these people is from the television. I don’t know why, but whenever they show something about Malaysia in the Japanese TV, they always show the ‘natural’ side of Malaysia; the aborigines, the long houses, tropical forests, women breast-baring walking around the village. Man, I have never seen any women baring her breast walking around MY village!

Anyways, it’s been a tiring trip and I just can’t imagine how more tiring and busier I’m going to be after this; I got more job-interviews, research projects, classes and exams.


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