This is like magic.  Apparently, there were not so many stuff in my room, and I even wondered how to handle empty boxes when I move out.  I was planning to pack in this morning, and did not expect it would take until night.  Where have the stuff been hidden?  Now I wonder if I have enough boxes.

I even wonder which is better, having more or having less.  Oh, it’s a long long story, and now I need sleep.  I will be driving a truck tomorrow.

November 11, 2012Permalink

The last day of the class (as a TA)

I have served as a teaching assistant for Design Thinking course at McMaster since the beginning of September, and today was the last day of the class for me because I am moving to Orillia soon.  (Yes, it is a bi-weekly Saturday class.)  It is good to teach at where I had learned.  I can use my experiences to help students from a closer position. Since the instructors did not give me specific directions (which is good), I tried to find ways to contribute for the class differently from the instructors.  Let me assume it worked.

I like teaching and have many experiences in teaching: as a part-time science teacher, Japanese instructor, TA at EVDS, volunteer instructor at McMaster, and so on.  Seeing students’ improvement and their aha moment is my delight.  Now many people don’t know that I was not a good student in my high school and university in Japan.  Some teachers and professors even disliked me.  So, I know what not-so-good students feel when their classmates are doing good.  I like to encourage them.  Experience of being a bad student helps me teach.

I will miss the class.  I hope I will have a chance to come back to McMaster to see their work again.

November 10, 2012Permalink

Talking with people

One of the things I learned in the Engineering Design program at McMaster is talking to people; when I worked on my engineering design project, I frequently talked with my “clients”.  It was a good experience.  Now I imagine/daydream how I would work as a freelance designer.  Definitely I will need to talk with my clients a lot.  Why only imagine?  Because it is safe to have stable income to be eligible for Provincial Nominee program.  While I’m a temporary worker, I take a safe way.

Today I talked with a classmate in McMaster.  I wanted to meet him before leaving Hamilton.  One of the good things of the program is that there is a diversity of students with different background, just like EVDS.  One of the items on my to-do list of my career plan phase 1 is to talk to people who run a small business, entrepreneurs, and local artists.  He is the first one.  It is always good to talk with people who have something in common and have a different perspective.

I will start the contract job in Orillia next week, and my main duty will be to talk with people i.e. interpretation.  This is very different from what I did in my engineering design project, but I expect I will lean something in a different way.

November 9, 2012Permalink

Status Update

I applied for Post Graduate Work Permit program after finishing the master’s program in September, and today I got a work permit.  I can stay in Canada for three more years to do any job with some exceptions.  Now I have a few options to apply for permanent resident, and my current plan is to apply for Ontario Provincial Nominee program.

Many people wonder why I got a second master’s degree, and this is why.  As I mentioned before, when I graduated from University of Calgary, international students only had three months to look for a job after finishing a program, and had to get a job in the field of study in order to get a post graduate work permit.  That’s why I had to go back to Japan.  Now Immigration Canada is way more generous than before, and I’m trying to use this opportunity.  Of course it is still too early to be relieved.  This is only one of the first steps to settle down in Canada.

Here are some FSAQ (Frequently Self Asked Questions)

“If I chose that option then, what would I have done by now?”
“Am I really on the right track?  It doesn’t look like so.”
“Why did I choose this?  Why am I doing this now?  Will this lead me to the place I want to go?”
“Where do I really want to go?”

As I mentioned, I revised my personal mission statement recently; when I am lost, I need something that shows me a way to go.  I know it still needs to be refined, and hope that keep refining it will eventually lead me to a place where I settle down.

November 8, 2012Permalink

Corporate Culture

I don’t miss Japan a lot, but check Japanese internet news daily.  In last few days, two tragic incidents shocked Japan, and there is a similarity between them; Oops!… they did it again.

One happened in China.  A Japanese travel agency, Amuse Travel, ran a guided tour that included a hike to the Great Wall, and a group of elder people participated.  They were snowed up before getting to the Great Wall, and three people died.  According to some different sources, it happened because of the travel agent’s reckless planning. Three years ago, Amuse Travel ran a reckless guided tour in the Northern part of Japan, and eight people died.  They did it again after receiving administrative punishment.

Another incident was by Schindler Elevator.  A cleaner was killed when their elevator malfunctioned.  A similar incident happened six years ago and a high-school student was killed.  They did it again when they were being sued.

I visited Schindler Elevator’s web site.  They publish their “vision & values” on their web site, and it is filled with beautiful words.  If the employees act based on the “vision”, the incidents, at least the second one, must not have happened.  I have worked for some different companies in Japan, and even in the smallest one, their (more precisely, his) “vision” was nothing more than rhetoric.  In other words, use rhetoric and do whatever they want is their corporate culture.  Still, I want to believe some other companies have a clear mission statement and their employees act on it.  I just have never seen it by myself.

Today I revised my personal mission statement.  I will soon update it on my web site. Whether I act on it or it ends up in rhetoric, it’s up to me.

November 6, 2012Permalink

Happy Birthday, BoA!

I know my voice does not reach her, but cannot help saying this.

Happy Birthday to You, Happy Birthday Dear BoA!

BoA is a Korean singer, and speaks and sings in KoreanJapanese, and English.  If I understand correctly, she is the most beautiful girl in the human history.  Correct me if I’m wrong :p

She tells me a lot, but let me pick up a couple for now.

First, if you want to tell something, language doesn’t really matter.  I have all seven Korean original albums of hers.  Do I understand Korean?  No, I only know some basic expressions.  But it’s pretty enough to feel it.  Her Korean singing is more touching for me than any other Japanese singers.  How touching?  Like this.  Or like this.  Her singing even makes me cry in some situations.  Probably many singers use techniques to sing beautifully.  But I want to believe BoA touches me deeply because she sings from her heart.  Suppose I am correct, what can designers learn from her?  We need techniques, of course.  But we need something before choosing and using techniques.

Second, she has served as a bridge between Korea and Japan.  Now K-pop (Korean pop) dominates in Japan, but as far as I remember, BoA is the first Korean singer who became popular in Japan.  Japan had learned a lot from Korea in ancient times.  But in modern times, there have been conflicts between the two countries.  She must have known it, and chose to come to Japan.  Some Japanese, including myself, came to be interested in Korean culture because of her.  Now the conflicts between the two countries are even more critical than before.  I hope they will re-evaluate what people like BoA have establishes and reach a peaceful solution.

She is my No. 1 and Only One.

November 5, 2012Permalink

What cures your cold?

I often catch a cold when the seasons suddenly change, just like last few days.  In fact, I caught a cold….. 🙁

I have met many doctors.  Some of them are good, and some others are cold.  I still remember a good doctor I met many years ago.  I got sick, but did not know it was cold or flu.  It was not severe, but I went to a hospital just in case because some old people died because of flue in that season.  After the doctor prescribed medicine, I asked him “is this the flue that killed the elder people?”  He answered like this.

“No, according to the symptoms, I can tell this is a common cold.  Whether this is a common cold or the flu, what doctors can do is to prescribe medicine to mitigate the symptoms.  But medicine does not cure cold or flu.  Patients have nutritious diet and have a rest to cure themselves with their natural healing ability.  Doctors only help.”

This was a new idea for me; I admit that I had assumed medicine cures.  Typical TV commercials of medicine tell that you can go back to your normal life and keep working by taking medicine.  But what patients need to do by taking medicine is to have a rest to let their natural healing ability work.

Aren’t we missing something in today’s life style?

November 3, 2012Permalink

Where should I go in April?

I will start the contract job in a couple of weeks, and it will be by the end of March. From April, I will start (or look for) a new job.  Now, I am daydreaming; if I start a business from April, where should I go?  Since I am planning to apply for Ontario Provincial Nominee Program, options will be limited to the cities in Ontario.  I briefly googled “The best places to live in Canada” and “the best places to start a business in Canada”.

According to MoneySense, the top 6 Ontario cities to live are;
1. Ottawa
2. Burlington
3. Kingston
13. Newmarket (followed by Calgary, AB, No. 14)
16. Whitby
17. Oakville

According to Canada Business, the top 6 Ontario cities to do business are;
9. Kitchener
7. Hamilton (Surprise!)
10. Barrie
12. Vaughan
13. Sudbury
15. Ottawa

Ottawa is barely ranked in top 6 Ontario cities for both (15th best city to do business, though), but others do not overlap.  By the way, Toronto is the 47th best city to live and the 33rd best city to do business.  Work/life balance is probably one of the most frequently used terms today when talking about business.  According to the ranking, it seems not easy to balance between life and work.

According to this article, 8 Signs You’ve Found Your Life’s Work, there are signs of your life’s work.  Perhaps, if you are doing a good business and maintain your work/life balance, it may be your best place to live.

I know I am dreaming now, but someday, I want to find my life’s work.  If you want to realize something, you need to dream it first, right?

November 2, 2012Permalink

Living in a foreign country, continued

Yesterday I wrote about living in a foreign country.  Today, one of the top news is about the new rule of Canadian citizenship; applicants for Canadian citizenship have to prove their proficiency in either English or French.  It sounds obvious to me, but in fact, it seems controversial.

Some people insist that it does not matter whether they can speak either of the Canada’s official languages or not.  They typically argue that immigrants strengthen Canada’s economy.  If they live in a certain community and work in a certain industry, they may not need to speak either of the languages.  It is true.  Butchers and plumbers for examples may not need to speak English or French fluently.  But is it really all about citizenship?

From my point of view, they also need to think of worst situations.  A simple example is emergency cases.  If they call 911 but cannot tell anything and cannot understand officers’ advise, what happens?  More complex issues include cultural and social concerns.  It may be OK if they spend their entire life in their community.  But if someone needs to go out from the community for some reasons, can you imagine what he/she will feel?  Isolation, solitude, anxiety, fear…. It may eventually cause conflict with Canadians and other immigrants who have adapted themselves to Canadian society.  If those advocators truly think of immigrants, they should understand the necessity of language proficiency.  Anything like the “Halloween tragedy” should be avoided.

From another perspective, being a part of Canadian society is simply fun.

November 1, 2012Permalink