Elizabeth Spencer

Elizabeth SpencerOccupation:
Intern at Tokyo Classified
Time in Japan:
this time 6 weeks

My first day at Tokyo Classified, I was kind of worried. After flying thousands of miles from Philadelphia, what was I going to do if this job didn?t work out? To complicate things, since all communication had been done over the phone and email, I was getting an interview after I was hired. Sure, I?d been to Japan countless times before, but I?d never actually had a job. I had no idea what to expect. Nevertheless, I took a deep breath and opened the door to Maison Tomoe Building.

Through one of the most brilliantly painted red doors I?d ever seen, I entered Tokyo Classified?s office. It was bright, everybody was young and I distinctly remember techno playing somewhere in the background. ?What a relief, they?re cool!? I thought. Not bad for a summer internship that started by picking up a Tokyo Classified last January. At home few months earlier, while absentmindedly paging through, I noticed a ?Work for Tokyo Classified? ad. ?I wonder if they have interns?? I thought. ? 2am here, that means it?s about 3pm in Tokyo.? I decided to call and find out.

It turned out that TC didn?t have interns, but was willing to give me a shot. It is a fun job and I?ve done a little bit of everything. For example, if you receive TC through the mail, I probably sent it to you. Last week somebody needed an emergency restaurant review, so I got to have a free dinner. Somebody needs movie listings? Proofreading? Typing? I?ve done it all. My task this week: Life in Japan. It?s interesting because the amount of people who work at TC is considerably less than I expected, but at the same time it takes a lot more preparation than I thought to put together this magazine, especially within a week. Because TC isn?t a huge operation, I?ve had the opportunity to get hands-on experience in the magazine business. I?m also seeing how business operates in Japan.

Working in Tokyo also has an added benefit. Since I?m half-Japanese (or double depending upon with whom you talk), I?m able to visit with relatives that I usually only see once a year. I?ve learned that the Japanese I speak while visiting relatives is completely different from what I speak at work. I?m also realizing that I have a lot more studying to do when I return to school this fall. Knowing two hundred Kanji on your final exam pales in comparison with actually reading in Tokyo. I have so many problems simply trying to use Windows95 or a fax machine, stuff that is usually second nature!

Lucky for me, the apprehension of that first day was unnecessary. Everything has worked out even better than I expected. My friends, interning in the States, are jealous because while they make coffee and copies, I eat in great restaurants and interview people on the street. Now, if I could only get my picture in the molecule!

Do you know an interesting person in Tokyo? E-mail us at

199: Diane Morris
Media & Advertising
198: Ross Mihara
NHK Sumo Announcer
196: Corky Alexander
Tokyo Weekender
195: Edward Obaidey
194: Merry Angel
Managing Director
193: Alison Pockett
Managing Partner
192: Zack Konno
Car Export Representive
191: Pamela S. Caudill
Assistant U.S. Customs
190: Caroline Power
Being a Broad
189: Geoffrey Tudor
P.R. Section Chief JAL
188: Ryuko Ishikawa M.D.
Family Psychiatrist
187: Georges Hassam
Arabic Dance Instructor
186: Larry London
DJ at InterFM
185: Richard James
Photographer & Writer
184: Alan Kidd
Rock Musician & Editor
183: Adam Hitchens
Mobile Hairdresser/Masseur
182: Lylian de la Vega
181: Annie Chang
Computer Training
180: Mike Jacobs
179: Jimmy Angel
Rock'n'Roll Singer
178: Dante
177: Elizabeth Spencer
Tokyo Classified Intern
175: Paul E. Ainlay
Proprietor of D.B. Cooper's
174: Steve Bindon
173: Nanae Nagata & Naji Rahman
Proprietors of Heart Cocktail
172: Tom Holiday
171: Gordon Hutchingson
170: Barry Cardinal
Renshi Aikido Instructor
169: Tammy
168: Steve Feldman
Computer Dealer
167: Eve Suter
Flower Designer
166: Paul Goldsmith
Computer/H.R. Consultant
165: Avry Gottesman
Auto Dealer
164: Russell Pollard
Financial Advisor
163: Sa'dia
Belly Dancer
162: Marcel L'Esperance
Choral Director
161: Gregg Alan
Used Motorcycle/Car Dealer
160: Dr. Greg Sapplers OMD
Oriental Medical Doctor
159: Ute Ikuta
Cat Lover
158: Pam Adkins
Shaw College
157: Cloudy Bong Water
156: Melissa
Internet Company Director
155: Paul Gibson
Proprietor, The Fiddler Pub
154: Ann Spiers
153: Evans M. Asare
152: Sandy Weiss
Acting Teacher
150: Kike

Issues 300-360

Issues 250-299
Issues 200-249
Issues 138-149