Sunday, November 26, 2006

Thanksgiving Weekend

I hope everyone had a very Happy Thanksgiving with their family and friends. There is no Thanksgiving per say here but it was a National Holiday. Mazda worked that day and when I asked me Japanese colleagues what was the National Holiday for they said it was worker appreciation day. Apparently Mazda did not get the Memo on this because it was just another normal day at the office on Thursday. I have to accept that I was pretty down that day because I knew that on a normal Thanksgiving I would be at a friends house eating good turkey and lots of food and off course making fun of everyone :-( but that's OK. It's the little things that you really miss about home.
On Friday we played volleyball in the school in front of our apartment with the parents of the kids who attend the school. It was basically a bunch of Japanese parent, one tall German guy and us. Fortunately 2 of the parents spoke English and let us know what was going on. It was really interesting to see how they play. First of all everyone stretched and warmed up together. I felt like I was 15 years old again practicing in my High School volleyball team because they did the same exact drills we used to do!!! Once we started playing the teams had 9 people in them and no one rotated...weird. Nevertheless it was fun and we just kept setting the ball to the German guy who would spike it real hard. In the second set we sent the German guy to the back because he was killing the Japanese parents, who by the way played very well and had hard serves. At the end everyone helped in cleaning up the gym. By the way you had to take 2 pairs of shoes, one to walk to the gym and leave outside and your sneakers to wear inside of the gym., which I found really funny. The parents where very nice to us and even invited us for drinks afterwards, which was very interesting since only one person could translate. I was very happy to be able to go back to something I really enjoy doing. Now if we could only find a softball team we would be all set.
On Saturday we meet a bunch of friends over at Erin's house for our invented Thanksgiving dinner. The theme of the meal was a pot luck dinner with dishes made by the boys. I have to give the boys points because everything was really good. Here is Orlando with Erin in his favorite place, in front of the grill making some kabobs ("pinchos" in Spanish).
Here is the happy bunch of foreigners lots in Hiroshima, Japan.

On Sunday I met up with Erin and Aly to go hang out in the shops downtown. We found this really cool "Dave and Buster's" type of place and decided to take some funny pictures in the booth. At first we could not figure out the picture booth because it was all in Japanese so we just picked random backgrounds. Then we discovered you could write stuff on the pictures. Last but not least we invited the guy working there to join us ... I bet we made his day.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

New Events

Hello Hello everyone!!! First of all a few people heard that there was an earthquake in Japan and called to see if we where ok and as you can see from the pictures below we are fine. The earthquake was in the north of Japan and did not affect us at all. On a happier note, I found this old picture the other day and wanted to place it on the blog because Orlan has a big smile in it and I think it's cute.

Here we are with Orlando's section who organized a welcome dinner for me. We had a lot of fun everyone is super nice and shared a little bit about their culture. We told them that in Puerto Rico we roast pigs on Christmas, celebrate Three Kings day (like a second X-mas) and have "parandas" (basically everyone goes over to your house at 3am with musicians, wakes you up and eats all your food). They all found it very interested and came to the conclusion that the best Christmas celebration is in Puerto Rico, which off course we happily agreed with.

On Saturday we celebrated Keiko (white shirt), our neighbor's B-day with a girls' night. The picture only cover half of one table, there where actually 18 people there!!! Ok let me rephrase 18 very loud foreigners who asked the Japanese people in the restaurant to sing Happy Birthday with us, which they did. Here I am with the ganag and my friend Aly (the one with the peace sign) who is here from Michigan for a few weeks. She is the one that introduced me to Erin (there is a link to her blog on the right hand corner) via E-mail and the rest is history.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Working in Japan

Hello everyone!!! Nothing super interesting to report this week. Since I have been working, life has changed from adventure Thursdays (I would meet up with some friends and explore a little town or site around Hiroshima) to adventures on the train to and from work. I do want to share with everyone the good things about working in Japan. Here is my top ten list:

1. I always know which paper is mine in the group printer, the one with roman letters.
2. The girls bathroom is always unoccupied.
3. I realized that I really don't need to know what's happening in a meeting, so my day dreaming skills have increased dramatically.
4. Thanks to my European friends, I have come to appreciate a good cup of coffee at 3 o'clock.
5. I realized that there is no worse feeling in the world that watching the train leave as you run toward the station trying not to hit the other 1,000 people doing the same thing.
6. You can wear anything you want because your the only girl in the office and everyone else is wearing their Mazda jackets, so no one is going to care.
7. I have successfully mastered the art of bowing and smiling without saying a word.
8. My invented sign language vocabulary has increased.
9. My most important document is my English to Japanese dictionary.
10. I have less layers to wear because Japan is not cold!!!!! The average temperature for November is 61-45 degrees Fahrenheit, but people around here are already wearing scarves and gloves while I just wear a light jacket.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

2006 World Volleyball Championship

This weekend we went to see the Puerto Rico National Volleyball team play in Kobe ,about and hour away from Hiroshima. It was really good to meet and talk to the other Puerto Ricans there. We meet some of the team representatives, reporters and the team's #1 fan who actually came all the way from Puerto Rico to see the team play. That deserves a medal!!! Here we are with PR's #1 fan and a very nice Japanese girl who had met the team during the practice rounds and came to support them.

Guess what? We made it to the newspaper!!! Check it out at:

My name is misspelled but so what!!!! The pictures speaks a thousand words!!! I called home and they did publish the article in the sunday newspaper. The precise moment that I called my neighbors had already come over with the newspaper to tell my family. I could not believe it!!

Here is the tournament's mascot rooting for the right team:

Above you can see the whole team just before the PR's national anthem was played. I have to accept that I was very sentimental during this part because I was so happy to hear "La Borinqueña" on the other side of the world. We all had a really good time!!! I'm sure the players where glad to here a few "VAMOS, VAMOS" (Let's Go) in the midst of all the Japanese takataka...something...takataka. I only wish the best for the PR TEAM!!!!! I'm sure they will keep representing our little piece of land globally with the same class and style they demostrated in Japan.

Thursday, November 02, 2006


This Wednesday I began working for Ford at the Mazda offices in Hiroshima, so every day Orlando and I go to work together. Some times we go by car and other times we take the train. The train is an experience all of it's own. It basically consists of a sea of people all dressed in 1,000 combinations of black and white walking or bicycling (nothing is funnier than a guy in a suit riding a bicycle to work) toward the train station. I realized how safe it was around here one morning when I saw little kids just walking to school by themselves with no parental supervision what so ever, that would never happen in Puerto Rico. Once your at the station everyone buys their respective tickets, puts their ipods on and boards the train, where you try your best not to bump into anyone.

The SUV that I'm working on is the The Ford Everest which is developed and sold in Asia. The Everest is based on the local Ford Ranger platform and made in Thailand. The SUV is also sold as the Ford Endeavour in India (see picture beklow). In general it looks very similar to a Explorer with three-row seating. For more information check out:

I'm slowly working toward tackling the language barrier but it's not that easy folks!!! I'm the only foreigner in my group!! Just my luck!!! It's all part of the motivation factor to work on my Japanese ASAP.