Tuesday, July 29, 2008

n*i*f*c*o briefing

2 weeks ago, I went to Tamachi(田町), Tokyo to attend a company briefing for a plastic automobile-parts maker, n*i*f*c*o. There were only three students who attended the briefing, so the whole process was done in very informal way; like attending a technology expo except friendlier and with fewer people.

After the briefing, now I understand that the company is driven by creativity; and I was hooked.

So after the briefing, they asked us: so, who wants to try to be part of the company?

All three of us raised our hands.

“Well, then. Let’s first start by testing your IQ and aptitude abilities. Here are some test papers and try to finish it in 2 hours… starting from NOW!”

With so many questions with such a little time, I felt like being tortured. The IQ test is like a normal IQ test, and I don’t think it was painfully hard. But the aptitude test was a pain right in the center of my anus hole. How did they expect us to finish it with this little time?!

I guess it was not just a simple IQ + aptitude test. It was also an endurance test in disguise. I was tired like a stray dog after battling for 120 minutes.

When the 2 hours of pain was over, they told us that we could leave; but they asked me to stay.

“So, before we could accept you as part of the company, you have to pass two interviews: the first one is with the human resource department and the last one, the BIG one: with the boards of directors. You’re from Akita right? It must be hard for you to come to Tokyo 2 more times. So I have a proposal: Why don’t we do the human resource interview right here, right now? Then the next time you came here, it would be straight with the boards of directors.”

Although I’m tired as hell, there is no way I’m going to say no. This could significantly shorten the whole process!

I guess the main propose of the human resource department interview is to look at my character, my personality. They didn’t ask any technical stuff. They just ask simple questions. Like what are my hobbies. My likes and dislikes. Why I choose to further my studies in Japan. How does it feel when I first saw REAL snow. Do I like sushi. Bla la bla.

Just when the interview seems to have come to its end, one of the senior interviewers asked me a rather weird question that caught me off guard:

Do you have a girlfriend?” with a smile on his face.

A girlfriend? A living, breathing, human girlfriend?

“Unfortunately for me, I don’t have a girlfriend.”

Then they burst into laughter. I burst into laughter too, because my private social relationship life is so funny.

I guess an interview that ends with the interviewer and interviewee both laughing, is a good one. Then they told me that if I pass the IQ test + the aptitude test + the human resource interview, they will call me again for the final interview with the boards of directors.

When I was packing my stuff to get ready to leave, the senior interviewer pats my shoulder and asked when my bus leaves. I said 11:00 p.m. and until that time, I have nothing planned.

So he once again surprised me with a question: “You said that you’re doing nothing until your bus leaves, so why don’t you join me for a drink at my favorite izakaya? I know you don’t drink alcohol so you could drink fruit juice instead. Don’t worry, of course I’m paying!”

Is it normal for an interviewer to ask the interviewee to go for a drink after a job interview?

I loosen my neck-tie, take off my suit and said “Why not?”

The izakaya we went to was pack-full of salaryman. Then as he drinks his favourite Shōchū, and me with my apple juice, we talked about various, interesting topics. About how the Japanese young generation has changed compared to the old days. About how dangerous Japan has become (I still think that Japan has the lowest crime rate in the world though). The strict Japanese culture of seniority. How ones way of thinking changes dramatically over time. Lots of interesting things.

But I couldn’t really focus on the talking because the girl sitting next to me kept getting groped by his old, ugly ‘boyfriend’, probably her sugar daddy who was sitting on the other side of her. The drunken sugar daddy even tried to took her panties off, begging to let him smell it, but in vain because she said she didn’t wear any. That girl is a genius; that is why she has a sugar daddy.

Anyways, after we left the izakaya, he insisted to walk me to the nearest train station. Then I said my goodbyes. I think he is really a nice person inside. He is still polite even when he was drunk.

On the bus home, I can’t keep my mind off that panty-less girl.

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