Blog Post 2: Japan

Working another week at the factory closes out my time with the kegging team. I really enjoyed lifting and carrying heavy things all day and getting along with my coworkers. Being on the front lines of fulfilling both domestic and international orders has shown me how hard people work to get the finished product to customers. There’s a lot of process behind putting a keg on a pallet, such as ensuring the beer is correctly carbonated, everything is clean, the mixture of gas and beer is right, and the taste is on point. It was a good couple weeks spent with hard working Japanese men, when I rotate back to them I’ll be excited to power through everything again.

Next up is tank cleaning and transfer team. Although the work seems less exciting than lifting 70lb kegs, the toll on my body will be less. Also, I’ll get a better understanding of the fermentation process and what factors into the quality and taste of the beer. My supervisor will be fluent in English, a welcome change from the keywords and gestures that have been getting me by for the past couple weeks. I don’t like being in training and learning new things, but I will be happy to gain all the new knowledge and experience that comes with taking on new tasks.

I still feel pretty lucky about my situation in the company. As an intern I have more days off than most employees, work fewer hours, and am treated almost like the owner’s son. On the one hand I want to have the respect of being “one of the guys” but on the other, I wanna get home before 7pm each night. I can’t complain about how everything has played out.

This weekend saw me heading into Tokyo. It’s such a stark contrast from the village I live in, trading in the rice patties and grain fields for neon billboards and buildings reaching into the clouds. I was very fortunate to be able to get a ride into the city with the company President, which helped to save a lot of money. At first I didn’t know I’d be rolling into town with him in his BMW, I assumed I would fit into the back of the delivery van. But when it was time to go, I wound up delivering 5 kegs to a small restaurant on the outskirts of Tokyo with the owner himself. After that I headed into the city to find and hangout with some other English speakers. Living in rural Japan can be pretty and peaceful, but it’s definitely not exciting. And if your Japanese isn’t on point you can forget about making friends or meeting any girls. So I was determined to make the most of my 2 days in the big city. It ended up being a great diversion from the same ol same ol of life in Naka, and I got some great advice about what to eat in Japan. Although money goes fast in Tokyo, it was worth it to blow off some steam.

4 thoughts on “Blog Post 2: Japan

  • June 12, 2017 at 7:52 pm
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    I’m glad you’re enjoying your internship, and learning a lot about beer like you hoped. Given your time in Naka and then Tokyo, do you think you’re more of a city person?

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    • June 12, 2017 at 10:07 pm
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      Hello,

      I’m definitely not a city person. I was raised in the Michigan countryside in a village smaller than Naka. I’m pretty used to being in rural areas, but now that I’m in my twenties looking toward my thirties I want to have some fun while I still can. Naka doesn’t afford many opportunities for leisure, with all its rice and wheat farms. Tokyo however, has everything. The easiest and best way to meet other English speaking people (both foreign and Japanese) is hanging out in Tokyo. There are a few foreign English teachers in cities nearby, but I haven’t clicked with any of them. So, getting out of Naka for dancing, bars, and other stuff on the weekends is nice for letting loose from a hard week.

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  • June 12, 2017 at 8:17 pm
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    Andrew, it sounds like you have a unique social position in being an intern, which isn’t something that I would have expected. Is working past 7 pretty typical in Japan in general, or more so just for the brewery?

    It’s great that your supervisor for this next step will be fluent in English. Perhaps he or she can recommend someone who wants to learn English to be a language partner, and that way you can learn more Japanese while also making a new friend!

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  • June 12, 2017 at 10:12 pm
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    Hello,

    In my experience, both working here and talking to random people in Tokyo, working past 7 is fairly common around Japan and standard for employees here. This hardcore work ethic is also present in Korea, and I’ve heard the mentality explained as a result of both nations trying to overcome the aftermath of their respective wars in the 20th century. I talked to a Japanese IT worker last weekend that said he didn’t wanna work too much, so his hours are only 7am – 6pm.

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