Thursday, January 27, 2005

Not in Stone, But Close

or Getting Pimped

I talked with my contact person at the company I'm trying to get hired at today, and it sounds like it's pretty much a sure bet that they will hire me. They got one of my recommendation letters two days ago (Thanks Dean!) and were very impressed. The sales people were also very impressed. (They basically have to sell me to a school to get me a job. Like pimps.) So basically I just have to wait for the curriculum people and the sales people to decide where to pimp me, and I go in for a contract signing. Talking on the phone to them today, it sounded like it was almost a sure thing.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005


I had an interview on Saturday for an ALT position. This company seems fundamentally different from my current employer. My current company's business plan focuses on getting as many contracts with as many schools as possible, and then spending as little on training and teaching materials as they can while paying their instructors (they don't call us teachers) as little as possible. The company I had an interview with seems to pay more attention to the quality of their teachers. They required recommendation letters in addition to a resume and cover letter, and seemed really interested in my teaching experience. My current company didn't really care if I had any experience or not, and probably would have hired me even if I didn't have TESOL certification. I think the fact that the average employee at my current company stays 2 years, compared to an average stay of 7 years at the company I went to this weekend is pretty significant.

My current job was good because they hired me right when I wanted to start, and I didn't have to work in an English conversation school like AEON or NOVA. It also got me a visa to work here. The bad thing is that there are two full months in a year when I am not under contract so I'm not getting payed, and two other months that I don't get payed a full months salary because they don't want to pay me while I'm on vacation. My hopeful future job will have a full 12 months a year paid (which seems quite normal and reasonable) as well as a higher starting salary. My current company pay the same low amount no matter how many qualifications you have, and no matter how long you've worked there. I'd rather work somewhere that will reward me for my hard work.

So hopefully after the read my wonderful recommendation letters, they'll give me a call back to get me a school and work out a contract.

Friday, January 21, 2005

This is how the picture below turned out when it was printed. I really like how the colors turned out. This is how unpredictable this stuff can turn out.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Survey Results

Thank you to the people who responded to my survey. Here are the results:

The most expensive total monthly cost was $825, but with company reimbursement, the price was down to $275 per month.
This leaves my mother, with a total cost per person in the top place for highest monthly cost at $283 per car-pooling person.
The least expensive was around $140 per month, including what her mechanic doesn't do for free.

Among the non-car owners, the highest total amount spent for transportation per month is me, at roughly $300, but commuting costs are paid for by my company, so I only spend about $65 per month on transportation out of my own pocket.
This leaves Trench at the top spot, at about $100 a month.
Dansen in Korean, if he uses the train an average of twice a day, would spend about $46 per month.

My commute, at only 10 to 15 miles each way is probably the most expensive for the distance traveled. I pay about $1.90 to $2.30 each way, and sometimes a bus ride at $1.70 to $4.50 each way. If I wasn't being reimbursed for my travel expenses, I would be paying more than someone who's car is payed off or carpoolers with a relatively cheap car that they are still making payments on, but less than someone with an older car that is payed off. Since most companies in Japan pay for their employee's commute, train transportation here is much cheaper than driving a car in the US.

In other news

I have an interview for a teaching job in Tokyo this Saturday. It's the same kind of thing that I'm doing now, but the company has a good reputation among its employees and I think they'll pay better. I'll let you know how it goes as soon as I know.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

I really liked a couple of the shots from the last roll of film, so I picked 3 to have prints made of and went back to the lab. But what I got back was not quite what I expected.

What I did with this roll of film was use 100 asa slide film with my camera set to 50 asa, then have it put through the chemicals used to develop negative film rather than slide film chemicals. The effect is that rather than becoming positive slides, they become negatives with a very high contrast in some areas, with bolder greens and blues and weaker reds. It's technically very simple to do, but it's notoriously hard to find a processor that will do it for you. Most labs will either tell you that it wont work; you wont get usable film back, or that it will ruin their chemicals. From what I know, neither is true.

I was lucky that I found a processor that would develop my film on only the third try. The first two shops first told me that it can't be done. Once they figured out that I knew better than that, they told me that they wouldn't do it because it would ruin their chemicals. The third shop was half portrait studio, half 30 minute processing shop, and since the owner himself is a photographer, I assume that he was intrigued by this process, and he agreed to do it.

Now I have a shop, and I have to keep him happy. The first set he made was mostly too dark. He was just trying to make as good of a print as he could from what would normally be very messed up negatives. So today, I brought the prints back along with my computer to show him what I had in mind for the prints.

Once I get them back, I'll replace this picture with the print version, since that one turned really well. The other two will also hopefully print well, and I'll have something to decorate my wall with.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

New Pics

A park in Yokohama
From my Lomohomes album

I started work again yesterday after a few weeks off. I decided to cancel my meeting with the head hunter because it sounded like he was more interested in turning me into a headhunter than helping me to find a job. (which,, if you look at their website is what they claim to do) I tried to set up an interview with a school that emailed me on Monday, but they didn't call me until Tuesday evening. Instead, what I decided to take a walk in Tokyo with my cameras.

I went in search of old Tokyo, which is rarely seen, but I've heard still exists in some places. These are the areas of Tokyo that escaped the fires caused by the 1923 earthquake, the air raids of WWII, and modernization and development ever since. I got off at a station that sounded good to me, but since I was in the subway, I couldn't see anything. Instead what I found was one of the highest concentrations of new shiny glass skyscrapers in Tokyo, Shinbashi.

From Shinbashi, I started walking generally in a westerly direction, intending to meet Ai at her campus. I ended up not meeting Ai because she got out of class early and went home before she knew I was there, so I continued toward Shibuya.

I did find some vestiges of old Tokyo down a little alley, but my camera jammed up right there, and I lost all of the shots that I took, and about a third of my roll of film. Click on the picture above to go to my photo page, go to Public Albums and open the Big Tokyo Walk album.

All the pictures in that album have high contrast and bright colors. I meant to do that. It's slide film developed with negative chemicals.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Job Search Continues...

I just got off the phone with a recruiter whom I sent my resume to earlier today. It doesn't seem very likely that I'll be able to get anything outside of teaching right now. I wish I'd studied something technical. He is trying to convince me to join his company though.

Head Hunting is something that I haven't heard any good things about, and when I told him this, and what company I had heard about, he wasn't at all surprised. He spend a long time telling me about how his company is much better than this other company because they care about their clients and try to help their employees to be successful. Salary is 100% commission based, but there is a base salary which until income from commission equals that. It really doesn't sound like a secure job if I end up not being good at it, but if I do end up being good, it has high earning potential.

I'd better just do on online tech degree... Ugh, I hate job hunting. Oh, I do have an interview with an english school though...