The mission was simple; fly to Kobe Japan, meet with MHI on Monday, meet with Niigata in Tokyo on Tuesday, fly home Wednesday…and that is pretty much what happened.
When you tell people you are going to Japan on business, you get a lot of, “oh, how exciting” and it is exciting but it is also a business trip and it doesn’t matter if I am in Tyler, MN or Tokyo Japan, I am really only there to work.
“Work” in this instance means sitting in a poorly ventilated conference room arguing heat rise calculation with a man who spoke English but not every day, for 10 hours. Okay, we only argued about heat rise for two and half hours, but the meeting did last for easily 10 hours… then dinner and bed.
Speaking of bed, we stayed at a fairly Americanized hotel, I think, I guess I don’t really know what a typical Japaneses hotel looks like. I do know the beds where only about 8 inches off the ground and the toilet had a lot of buttons…and there was this thing. I think it was a air purifier. Whatever it was when I pushed buttons it blew air, I pushed buttons until it went off and left it that way.
Tuesday we took the bullet train to Tokyo. There is a sentence I never thought I would type! As we hurtled towards Tokyo at 300km/h I did get to see Mt. Fuji.
Tokyo was another very long meeting, this time the ventilation was better, but surprise, no one was comfortable speaking English, luckily we had a translator.
Doing business through a translator is a less than efficient process, which meant another long meeting, dinner on the train back to Kobe, and sleep…by this time my internal clock was all kinds of out of sorts.
Wednesday we were supposed to have a quick meeting in the morning, then maybe actually see a few things before getting back on the plane home. There is not such thing as a short meeting in Japan. Long story short, then long again, I flew back home in my suit because we didn’t have time to change.
I would love to visit Japan, it seems like a very interesting place, but what I did while I was over there wasn’t visiting, it was work.
We did end up getting both contracts, so I guess it was worth it.