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. ?Hmm...it?s 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 email@example.com