Diary Diary

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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.

10 October

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.

12 October

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

15 October

(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.

16 October

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.

17 October

(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.

18 October

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.

21 October

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.

22 October

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.
23 October

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,
             company confidential.

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.

24 October

(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

25 October

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.

28 October

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.

29 October

(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.

31 October

(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
         the office.

1 November

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.
8 November

(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.

11 November

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.

12 November

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

13 November

(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.
14 November

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.

15 November

(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.

18 November

(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.

20 November

(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.
21 November

(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.

22 November

(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.

25 November

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.

26 November

(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.

28 November

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.
29 November

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.

2 December

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
         my colleagues.

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.

3 December

(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.

4 December

(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

5 December

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.

16 December

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.

19 December

(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,
         very satisfied.

24 December

(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.
27 December

(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.

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