This is, more or less, my complete diary as it survived describing everything from
arrival in Narita to my departure for Amsterdam. I will concentrate mostly on the
things that happened concerning Philips, leaving out the more personal things that
happened. On a couple of occasions, I wasn’t able to make a diary entry, and there might
be some pages that got lost over time, but I think this diary will paint for the reader a
good picture of how things went at Philips, and what my impressions were of the
internship. All dates are from the year 2002. When there is no exact time for an entry,
I’ll put (ADE) in front of it, meaning it’s an All Day Event.
14:45 Arrival at Narita airport. Because I have no visa, there seems to be some
trouble with getting into Japan, because I’ll be working during my time
there. After promising that I will talk to Philips about this, I get my stamps
and I’m cleared to enter the country.
18:00 After meeting a Japanese friend who drives me to Tokyo, I arrive at
Shinjuku, where we have dinner. Philips won’t arrange for a place to stay for
me, so this first night I stay at the Day Nice Hotel. Tomorrow my friend and I
will go look for a room in Tokyo, preferably close to a Yamanote train station,
because I’d have easy access to Shinagawa, where Philips is located.
15:00 After seeing a couple of decent rooms yesterday and today, I decide that the
one in Otsuka seems the best, as it’s cheap and close to the Yamanote line.
From here it will take me about 45 minutes, from door to door, to get to
(ADE) First day at Philips. Because of an erroneous email message, I was at Philips
yesterday, but it was a national holiday, so there was noone there from my
department. Today it’s tuesday and I hope to get my assignments today.
09:00 I arrive at Philips, and after getting a visitor’s keycard, I head for the second
floor, where I meet the department manager Sato, my mentor Yamauchi and
ms Kasahara, who I’ve been in contact with since before I went to Japan. Ms
Kasahara shows me around the Philips building, and after that we head for
the Tokyo Mitsubishi bank to open up a bank account. There seems to be one
form that’s missing. Ms Kasahara tells me that she will take care of
everything after lunch and that I don’t have to worry about a thing.
13:00 After lunch, mr Yamauchi tells me that today I’ll be getting accquainted with
the company. My main assignment has not yet been decided upon, I’ll have to
wait for that. I get assigned a desk which belongs to Erik Neelen, a Dutch
Philips employee who’s out for business. I’ll get my own desk this week. Ms
Fukuoka, a general office assistant, hands me a map for the second floor and
a calendar. I also receive a ‘Suica’ card, which enables me to travel back and
forth from Otsuka to Shinagawa for free for three months, a 22.000 yen
15:00 I’m told to study some Philips brochures which describe in detail the
products that they’re putting out. What they didn’t notice was that they were
all in Spanish! Fortunately, I could get the gist of it, and I learned the
interesting word ‘permanentemente’.
16:00 They tell me I have to wait until after a meeting, and I get a Japanese book
about economy to read through. After reading that for two hours I’m told
that the meeting is taking longer than expected and that I can go home.
08:45 I arrive at Philips before 9:00, which results in satisfied looks on the faces of
my superiors. Mr Kanda, the IT expert of our department, tells me that a pc
has been set up for me and that I’ll get my own account later this day. The
guards downstairs have remembered my face and getting a visitor’s keycard
goes really quick.
09:30 Mr Yamauchi gives me the schedule for the following two weeks. A lot of
training will be done. He tells me about the ‘Japanese mind,’ with an
example of a pen cap that won’t fit correctly, and that the Japanese can get
quite upset about these small details. He also tells me that he believes that
people who have been ‘on the market’ know much more about the way things
go than professors who’ve only read about it.
When calling the department manager saying ‘Sato-bucho,’ he tells me to
just call him ‘Sato-san,’ and that this is an unwritten company policy.
10:00 Mr Kondo gives me a presentation about Philips Lighting, about the
workings of OEM and AM. It’s a very clear presentation, he uses
understandable Japanese and the powerpoint files also help to make things
clear for me. Mr Kondo gets to a more personal level too, telling about his
time as a student, that he didn’t study as much as he should have, and that
whenever I had a question, I could always ask him.
13:00 The general manager mr Sato gives me a presentation about the automotive
lighting business and about the differences between Japan and Europe. This
presentation was scheduled for yesterday but it had been replaced to today.
He also tells me more about the Japanese mind.
16:00 Mr Ito gives me a presentation about OEM Technical support, about quality
control and the production of lamps. This presentation is also very clear, and
mr. Ito is very friendly like mr Kondo, saying that whenever I have a
question, I should never hesitate to ask him.
(ADE) My menor, mr Yamauchi has called in sick today. He was supposed to explain
me more about the workings of Philips, but seeing he is absent, I’ve got
nothing to do. An appointment for 17:00 is made with mr Rob Fletcher, the
general manager of automotive lighting in Japan.
11:00 Mr Yotsui, who has only joined Philips about 4 months ago, takes me to a big
Toyota showroom and to Autobacs, Japan’s biggest car-accessories store.
Because of the Tokyo traffic, we return to the company at 18:00, too late for
the 17:00 appointment.
18:30 After getting to know mr Fletcher, he, another intern from the Netherlands
and I go out for dinner, and a drink. The rumors about our general manager
appear to be true, as it turns out to be a long evening with much liquor.
09:00 When I get to work, I ask mr Yamauchi about my assignment, but he says
that he’s busy and that I’ll get more information later. The morning is spent
configuring my computer account, and customizing my desk.
14:00 Finally, some concrete information shows up. It seems like I’m going to
investigate the Japanese automotive market, especially the use of headlight
in the new models for 2002 and 2003. Mr Yamauchi asks me if there are
things I want to do during my time in Tokyo. I don’t know exactly what he
means by this, but I tell him I want to improve my Japanese and learn about
the Japanese way of doing business. He says he’ll incorporate that into my
16:00 I start work on a database of the newest cars of the most important car
manufacturers. I write down the names of the cars, the type of engine that’s
in them, and the lamps which are used as head lights and rear lights.
Surfing the internet to the various car manufacturer sites, I collect as much
data as possible. As nothing is written about the types of lamps which they
use in cars, I have to go out on field work to collect that data.
08:45 I continue work on the database, until it’s time to go to Stanley Electric in
the city of Iwaki. Stanley is a business partner and competitor of Philips. We
go there with mr Nishida and mr Yotsui, who still has to learn also. My
assignment is very simple; say nothing unless asked a question. The goal is
to let me experience a Japanese business meeting.
12:45 Because of heavy rainfall, we arrive too late. While driving, a plethora of
phonecalls have been made to let the people at Stanley know where we are
and how late we’ll be arriving. The polite introductions at the beginning soon
dissolve into a less formal language. I’m introduced shortly as a foreign
intern, and during the meeting, I take note of everything that happens. At
the end of the meeting, the people of Stanley ask me about the Netherlands,
and they say they’re impressed with my Japanese.
20:00 We get back to Philips a lot later than expected because of the rain and
traffic jams. I do some more work on the database before going home.
08:45 I continue work on the database before joining mr Yotsui to Alps and Totas,
two companies who import, store and distribute their products. Mr Neelen
warns me on beforehand that it might be a boring day, since there’s not much
to see there. He also gives me an insight into the ‘Philips-father’ theory,
which shows that sons of Philips employees can get into Philips easier than
11:00 At Alps and Totas, I witness several sections of quality control, where every
single lamp that is brought there is tested manually on performance and
looks. The manager there tells me in a funny way about the headaches he
gets from quality control, something that the women who are working there
are more than happy to confirm. He also tries to hook me up with his
youngest employee, but I decline.
09:15 Because of a problem with the Yamanote train, I arrive at work too late, but
with Philips’ flexible working times, this is no problem.
09:30 I’ve completed the database, but mr Yamauchi gives me four more car brands
to add, which will take me a lot of time.
10:00 Meeting with mr Fletcher. He explains the other Dutch intern and me about
the workings of the Japanese market and the way of doing business. We
gather a lot of useful information, but some information is off-limits,
13:00 Together with the other Dutch intern, I go to the Foreigner Registration
Office to take care of our visa. We receive a form which we submit right
15:00 I continue work on the expanded database, while having to cancel a meeting
with mr Bunazawa, who was going to explain me more about the business
relationships Philips has with other lamp manufacturers.
(ADE) A whole day of gathering information for my database. I find some useful
and trustworthy sites on the internet.
11:00 Mr Matsunaga gives me a presentation about the marketing strategy of
Philips Japan. This is very useful for the investagtion that I’m about to do.
Later on I hear that probably, tomorrow will be my first day of real field
08:35 After getting to work, it’s important to find mr Yamauchi, but he’s not there
yet. When he comes to the office, I ask him what to do next, seeing the
database is nearly finished. He tells me how to investigate the cars by taking
me outside and showing me. He also tells me more about the presentation I’ll
have to give to my department at the end of the internship. After this, I’m
allowed to join a meeting in which the results from the last quarter are
discussed. Lunch is provided by the company, and while everyone is quietly
eating their bento, the results from last quarter flash by on a big screen.
14:00 Mr Yotsui and I go to Amlux in Ikebukuro, which is a big Toyota showroom.
There, I can collect a lot of data needed for the database. Figuring out what
fog lamps they use in the different cars proves to be an impossible task, so
this item is deleted from the database.
08:30 When I get to work, I see Mr Bunazawa, so I ask him when we can have our
meeting. We decide upon today, 13:30. Until lunch, I figure out how to most
effectively transfer my written notes into the database.
13:30 Mr Bunazawa explains me about the business relationships Philips has, and
about his speciality, signalling.
(ADE) Everyobdy at the office seems to be complaining that it’s a slow day.
Customers are not sending any emails and the overall atmosphere in the
office is not very energetic.
16:00 I visit Amlux again, this place is so big I could probably spend a week here
and still find new information. I call the office to ask if it’s necessary to go
back there first before going home. They probably trust me, seeing they say I
can go home from there, as long as I stay until 18:30.
(ADE) On the internet, I search for showrooms and other useful places I can go to. I
bookmark them all and make a list in Excel of a lot of showrooms and their
Ms Muto comes to me to explain the travel expenses reimbursement system
for when I go to the various showrooms. She says that the program has been
glitchy, but it seems to be working now.
I receive an email which tells me I’ll be at the Philips Kahoku factory, which
is located near the town of Ishinomaki from 5 until 7 november. I make a
table of the various lamps used in cars with Excel, something that will come
very much in handy when going to the various showrooms.
(ADE) Today we’re excited, as Mr Bando, Ms Ozaki and me get to go to the 31st
annual Tokyo Motor Show. During this big event, all the car manufacturers
try to outdo eachother in new car design, road safety and nifty gadgets.
Philips is not represented with a booth of its own this year, but a couple of
our products are present in the Autobacs booth. The famous ‘car girls’ at the
Motor Show try to impress the customers with the cars they’re supposed to
show off. Most of the customers though are more interested in the girls
themselves. While recognizing this, I have to admit I’m more impressed with
Asimo, a humanoid robot created by Honda. It’s not only me, more people are
impressed with the talking and walking robots than with the cars. We collect
mountains of car brochures, which will all be carefully documented back at
08:40 Still impressed by Honda’s robot, I decide to go to a big Honda showroom,
hoping to find lots of cars there and maybe an Asimo. First I continue work
on the database though.
13:00 After finding the address of Honda’s biggest Tokyo showroom, I head there.
Honda doesn’t disappoint. Overall, the service and presentation is great for
all the car manufacturers, they really treat their customers as kings, but
Honda seems to be even more committed to their products and to their
customers. I ask a lady if she can tell me something more about all the cars
there, and she does so, showing off that she really knows the cars well. I also
receive a lot of brochures. Furthermore, I’m happy to see two Asimos, who
are actually the main presenters of the new Honda cars. They walk around
and tell the people what the cars are about and what their strengths are.
After having a short conversation with one of them, a Honda representative
takes a picture of me with the robot.
19:40 I return to the office and try to notate everything I’ve seen and learned at
Honda. I notice that I have the information for all but one of the Honda cars
which was in my original database.
5 ~ 7 November
In Kahoku, near Ishimaki and Sendai, we are subjected to an intense lamp
training programme. From early in the morning until late in the evening we
have lectures, tours around the factory and practice rounds in making our
own lamps using the high-tech devices in the factory. In the evenings, we
have dinner with the Kahoku colleagues, who tell us even more about
Philips and about the wonderful fish you can eat during this time of year. Mr
Yotsui and I get along really well, and together we explore more of the
nightlife in this part of Japan. On the last day, we make our own personal
Philipa lamp, a wonderful thing to remember this great training by.
(ADE) A day spent only at the office, searching for more information on the internet.
Some colleagues show me a file cabinet where I can search for information
within Philips, as long as I have permission from my superiors.
08:50 The morning ritual has become emailing people in Holland, looking for
information about cars on the internet and planning my day. Most colleagues
usually come in at around 09:30, wondering what I’m doing at the office so
early every day. I discuss my assignment with mr Sato, and we talk about
the possibilities of me doing more than only the market investigation. Ideas
that come up are weekly reports, short presentations to several colleagues
and doing test-drives with colleagues in the cars I’m investigating.
11:00 I ask mr Kanda if it’s possible to get Photoshop installed on my computer, as
I’m probably going to be needing this to cheer up my powerpoint
presentation. He says he’ll look into it.
13:00 After lunch, I visit two Nissan showrooms in Ginza. They’re very futuristic, I
feel like walking around in one of the newer Star Trek movies. I’m able to get
a lot of information about Nissan cars.
10:00 This was bound to happen someday, I’m just glad it didn’t earlier. I overslept,
arriving at the office at 10:00. My colleagues don’t seem to have missed me a
lot though. I try to catch mr Yamauchi to talk about the progress of my
assignment, but he’s busy, so we make an appointment for today at 19:00.
19:00 Mr Yamauchi lectures me about the presentation I’m going to have to give at
the end of my internship. He tells me what I should mention and what I
shouldn’t. I notate everything and start making a rough framework of the
(ADE) Today is spent going to several Daihatsu dealers. I notice that this company
focusses a lot more on Joe Average, with cheaply priced cars and a not so
over the top presentation.
08:50 Mr Nishida will be reviewing my progress on a regular basis from now on, so
I try to make a file in Word every week in which I write down in Japanese
what I’ve done and what my plans are.
11:45 Mr Sato, mr Yotsui, mr Ido and I go to Alps, where we’ll install a new lamp
testing device. Upon our arrival, we notice that there’s a part missing, so
someone has to go back to Philips to pick it up. Deciding to do this tomorrow,
we head for Autobacs, where our colleague mr Kido is trying to get
promotional posters hung up.
(ADE) Today is a big day, seeing the infamous TOEIC test is being held in our
department. I ask our main secretary ms Abe if I’m eligible to participate.
She tells me that it is for true employees only, but she will look into it.
13:15 I visit two Subaru dealers in Ebisu, where I act as an interested potential
buyer. They seem to buy it and offer me all the information I could possible
17:00 When I come back to the company, ms Abe tells me that I can make the
TOEIC test if I want to. I do so, and it turns out to be quite fun.
(ADE) A normal day, I spend my time gathering information on the internet, and
eventually going to Amlux, trying to complete my tables for Toyota, by far
the biggest entry in the database.
(ADE) Today I search the Philips files and the internet about business practices,
such as business to business (B2B). I collect data for Friday’s meeintg with
mr Yamauchi. I put everything down in Word. The TOEIC results are also in!
Seems I made 3 errors, which makes my score 975, the Philips Japan all
time high-score, including the native english speakers who participated. It’s
with a faint smirk that I ask some of my colleagues what their score is.
(ADE) Mr Nishida comes at my desk to tell me that I’ll be going to Ishinomaki in
four days, and he adds that they got some people from over there to explain
me all about Japanese business. Seeing I have to talk about this in my
presentation too, I’m very happy to hear this.
(ADE) A productive day. I calculate the percentages of the types of lamps used in
car headlights from the data I’ve collected up until now. After that, I work on
my Excel sheets and I collect business information from the Philips files and
the internet. In the afternoon I talk with mr Yamauchi, and he advises me to
talk more to mr Sato and mr Nishida. He also gives me the assignment to
check every car, if it has a 2 or a 4 headlight set. Given the amount of cars
involved, this will take quite some time.
08:50 I arrive at work and start working on the 2/4 headlight data. Mr Sato tells
me we’ll be leaving at 10:30.
13:00 At Stanley Electric, I notate all the minutes of last meeting and the notes for
this meeting. When we get back to Tokyo, my notes appear to be the most
complete ones. They’re copied and distributed amongst my colleagues.
19:50 I collect a lot of data about Stanley Electric and make a file about it, which is
stored in our office.
(ADE) After finishing my Stanley FAQ, I make appointments with colleagues to
talk more about their role at Philips. The rest of the day is filled with the
usual data collecting.
10:00 Mr Sato tells me everything about quality assurance. His presentation takes
about two hours and it’s very useful.
12:20 Having eaten no lunch yet, I decided to do this near one of the car dealers I’m
going to visit today. I visit a couple of them.
08:40 Today the office is buzzing with anticipation, because we’re getting
reorganized. All the desks will be moved to different locations. If all goes well,
I’ll get to sit closer to my automotive colleagues than before.
(ADE) I do a little bit of 2/4 headlight research, but most of the day we’re all
working to clear out our desks and move them.
08:40 I realize that the last month of my internship has started. Time is getting
ever faster and I have to start thinking seriously about my presentation.
When I get to work I’m happy to see that my desk is now officially part of
automotive, so that I don’t have to walk around the office anymore to reach
13:00 After lunch I have a talk with mr Yamauchi about my presentation. A
preliminary skeletal framework is set up, so that I can begin ‘adding meat,’
as he calls it. He tells me that I really have to mention that the Japanese are
a bit jealous of their European colleagues, because they get to go home a lot
sooner than the Japanese.
(ADE) Today we’re off to Shizuoka, to visit Koito. I carefully make notitions during
the business talk that follows, and I try to absorb everything they’re saying
and doing. We leave very early and get back home kind of late, after 21:00.
(ADE) Today marks the beginning of the final stage of my internship. I start
working on my presentation. I start up Powerpoint, a program I’m not too
familiar with, and I go through all the options to figure out how everything
works. After a while I make a fake presentation, just for myself to see if I’ve
gotten the hang of it. I didn’t get Photoshop, it wasn’t possible according to
mr Kanda, so I’m going to have to modify all my pictures for the presentation
with the dreadful Paint.
I’ve collected so much data on my computer that it has sparked the interest
of several colleagues. Two of them have come to ask me already for some
specific information on a car or a Japanese company. I try to sell it to them,
but rather than buying, they threaten to tell a couple of girls that I like them.
An email with the requested information is sent to them ten seconds later. I
put in this bit (that actually happened) to show that it isn’t just serious work
all the time, there’s plenty of room for the occasional joke here and there, as
long as it doesn’t interfere with business.
14:00 Ms Hanai tells me all about her position at Philips. She works for the
automotive logistics department. She explains the whole process from
making an order, to the final product reaching the customer. Carefully, I
notate every step of the way, so that I can use this information in my
08:45 Research goes on for the 2/4 headlight assignment. Today I finish every data
for Daihatsu and Suzuki.
13:00 After lunch it’s time to continue working on my presentation. It seems that
I’ll be doing this a lot more the next couple of weeks. I also do some more
work on the Excel sheets. They’re coming along quite nicely.
6 December ~ 12 December
(ADE) In this period I basically continue work on my presentation and I try to get
as much data as possible for my Excel sheets. I visit some more showrooms
and car dealers. A couple of things that happen are as follows. I learn about
Philips’ ‘reconstruction experiments,’ during which they break lamps on
purpose to see if the claims of customers who complain about the quality are
correct. On a different day, I’m late for work because of snow. The whole city
is baffled by it. On the 10th, we go out for dinner with French colleagues.
They’re not trying real hard to improve upon the less than favorable
reputation they have with the Japanese.
12:45 My Yamauchi accompanies me upstairs, where I do a first test-run of my
presentation. When I’m finished, he gives me very useful tips about timing,
about how to use Powerpoint and about what I should leave out and put in.
He also tells me that the language for the presentation is going to be English
after all. This was a discussion point at first, but later it was decided that
English was the best thing to do, seeing a couple of the listeners will be
native English speakers who don’t know Japanese.
17 & 18 December
(ADE) As the day of the presentation keeps getting closer and closer, I try to
practice my presentation before as many people as possible. While my
colleagues here snippets of it, mr Yamauchi and later the department
manager mr Sato also, get to hear and see my whole presentation including
the Powerpoint file, which turned out better than I had first expected. Much
credit goes to mr Yamauchi for having to hear my presentation over and over
again, and still keep concentrated every time, and always being ready to give
me more tips.
(ADE) The big day has arrived. Tonight I have the official presentation. Of course, I
have been wearing a suit to work every day, but today I seem to take extra
care of everything. Annoying my housemates quite a bit, I take a long time to
shower. My suit, which just came from the dry cleaner’s yesterday, is
wrinkle-free and I intend to keep it that way. Once I have it on I try to touch
nothing. When I get to work at 10:15, I make copies of the hand out for my
presentation, which is basically the Powerpoint file printed on paper, six
slides per sheet. I spend the day running through the presentation in my
CK, the other Dutch intern, is the first one who offers his presentation to the
attendants. I’ve followed him the whole time, keeping track of what he has
been doing, and I know that he has had a real hard time trying to get
information for his assignment. While the things he did were well executed
in their own right, he strayed from his original assignment too far, and mr
Fletcher tells him this straight away. The information CK collected is good,
but it’s nothing that they haven’t seen already. Another remark is made by
mr Fletcher about the presentation itself. He tells CK that he needs to have
more confidence when speaking in English, seeing it was quite slow at times.
It’s right after this that I’m called up on stage. Quite intimidated by the
direct words from mr Fletcher, I try to stay as cool as possible and start up
the Powerpoint file. CK and I were allowed to test out the computer in this
room for one hour earlier this day, and when we fired up our presentations,
they looked different. Probably due to a different screen resolution of this
computer, some words were misplaced and the presentations didn’t look the
same as on our own computers. Nothing too serious, but the fact that it
didn’t look the way I intended and that we didn’t have time anymore to
change this was bothering me. At the beginning of the presentation I follow
CK’s example and apologize for this.
The presentation itself is just as I had expected. I practiced it a lot of times,
so there are no sudden surprises. I didn’t write out everything, so I improvise
my way through things. There are of course a couple of things like sentences
and jokes that I rehearsed, and I’ve put them on a little piece of paper. This
also worked wonders when I participated in the Japanese speaking contest
this year, so why not use the same tactics during this presentation. I try to
keep my English simple enough for the Japanese to understand, and I speak
slowly with a calm voice. This seems to work very well, seeing at the end of
the presentation, every attendant is still listening to me.
Mr Fletcher is quite more positive about my presentation than CK’s. He says
that I’ve built up the story quite well, and that the information will be very
useful for my colleagues. He has two points of criticism though. First, he
would have liked to hear more about the business aspect, and he says that
things like the basic logistics system is known to everybody, and that I could
have gone deeper into that. I try to defend this by saying that even though it
is known to every experienced Philips employee, there is no clear data about
it in the Philips files, and that this might be useful for new employees. His
second point of criticism is about my apology at the beginning of my
presentation. He says that I could have taken the different computer into
account, and that I had plenty of time to address these kind of problems. I
try to go against this by saying that we only had one hour on the day of the
actual presentation to test out the local computer. CK agrees, but mr
Fletcher still thinks we’re not in the position to apologize for this, seeing we
could have done something about it. We both succumb.
Mr Fletcher gives me more compliments, and after this we all head back to
the second floor, where we drink a beer to celebrate that our internships are
over and that we completed our assignments. A lot of colleagues and other
people who attend the presentation come to me to congratulate me and
thank me that my English was so easy to follow. I go home at around 17:45,
(ADE) Because my assignment is over, I have very little to do now. I play around a
bit with the Excel sheets and print them out for anyone who wants them.
The same goes for the presentation. The rest of the day, I write addresses on
envelopes in Japanese and I help a colleague to make boxes out of some
cardboard that is lying around the office. I do the very same thing on the 25th.
I write more envelopes and make more boxes. I also help a colleague with his
Powerpoint presentation, he liked the way I used pictures in mine.
(ADE) Today it’s the last day at work for everyone. After this, there are a couple of
free days because of the new year. I spend the morning in Yurakucho, where
I buy my Nikon camera. Mr Ito from automotive is kind enough to help me
pick one from the internet. Back at the office, I make pictures and I clean out
my desk. I have a bit of a hard time saying good-bye to my colleagues, but I
know this is not the last time I’ll be seeing them. Not much work is done in
the office, as everyone is preparing for their upcoming short vacation.
Slowly, the day comes to an end and everyone goes home. I will be back here
again soon, to offer my colleagues a present before I go home. What I don’t
realize is that it’s vacation, so noone except the guards are at the office. I
hand over the presents to them and they promise they’ll give them to my
colleagues. That sure was a stupid move by me, but according to an email all
my colleagues were very happy with the things I bought them.
Apart from this, I spend the rest of my time in Tokyo all over this wonderful city, saying
good-by to friends, visiting some places I haven’t visited yet and preparing to go back to
Holland. Finally, on the 30th, I leave for Narita airport, to take the plane to Amsterdam,
feeling a bit down-hearted, not only because I had to say good-bye to Philips, but I sure
had good time there.
Converting my diary to the digital format brought back great memories. Of the
wonderful people I met in Tokyo, at Philips, and in Ishinomaki, Sendai, Shizuoka, the
list goes on. It also brought back memories of the frustrations I had to deal with, like not
getting information from my superiors and the travel expenses system which was never
repaired while I was there. Overall though, the memories were more than good. Being
able to have this experience has helped me a lot to gain a more detailed image of the
working life in Japan, how the salary men live, and more importantly, how business is
being done. Being a salary man myself for three months was a great experience. Sure,
the lack of sleep and the sometimes horrendous food we had at highway restaurants are
not amongst the most pleasant of my memories, but everything I have gone through in
Japan has added up to a wonderful experience which is highly recommended. Being at
Philips also helped. The combination of the Dutch origins with a Japanese mentality
was a great thing to notice, and overall I’ve learned more than I could ever have wished
for in these three months.