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Leaving (Again) On a Jet Plane

Hello everyone! It's Claire again, here to revive (for much longer than a summer this time) this Japan-focused blog. Since the last time I've written there have been several major updates to my life:

1. I finished my thesis! Those of you who have followed me for some time might recall that in the summer of 2017 I spent six weeks in Japan researching coffee--the end result was a 65-page monstrosity about history, modernity, gender, and generations.

2. I graduated from Yale! It hasn't quite sunk in that I'm actually done: that probably won't hit me until the end of the summer when I don't fly back to New Haven and move myself, yet again, into a dorm room.

3. Perhaps most importantly, I got a job at Nitori, a Japanese furniture, home-goods, and logistics company. For those of you interested in the company overall, I'm providing a link to their English-language website HERE.

So. I'm moving to Tokyo. Tomorrow, in fact--surprise! I've packed my life into one cardboard box (to be shipped to my new apartment), two suitcases, one duffel bag, and one backpack. These don't, admittedly, contain my winter clothes which won't make their way to me until the fall, but I still feel I've done a decent job of paring down my belongings into manageable, movable sizes. Not to mention, my room at home is being transformed into a guest room so nearly all of my belongings have been transferred to boxes that are now being stored in the basement. I'm honestly quite proud that about 3/4 of these boxes are full of books.

For those of you who are curious (or those of you who need a refresher, since it is quite confusing) here is the basic explanation of my new role with Nitori.

In Japan, you're not exactly hired for a specific position, instead you're hired for the company as a whole. Large companies in Japan typically practice a sort of "rotational" system, where employees are transferred every 2-3 years between departments. So at Nitori, while everyone begins in retail, assigned to work at a specific store, someone could be transferred from Logistics, to HR, to corporate etcetc. People do end up specializing in one area, but you begin as a generalist, able to adapt to whatever position the company needs filled.

I'm also beginning at the retail level. I've been assigned to work in the Nitori located within the Shinjuku Times Square Takashimaya, a well-known department store (like Nordstrom's). The company has found me an apartment in the Setagaya neighborhood of western-Tokyo, and I'll be commuting from this 26.08 square-meter studio to work on the train. Officially I start July 1, so I'll likely be spending the next week+ settling into my new place, sorting my finances, and getting acclimated to living on my own and the work that will be expected of me.

To answer your question: YES, I'm very excited. I'm excited to be back in Japan, I'm excited to be working for Nitori, I'm excited to live abroad and work on my language skills. But also YES, I'm incredibly nervous. Worried. Thrilled. Terrified. Sad to leave behind my friends and family and only city and house I've ever lived in (dorm life at Yale notwithstanding). All of the above, emotionally, I'm feeling.

So buckle up. Bookmark this blog's homepage. Check out my Instagram (link above). I'll be posting regularly about life and work and my general adventures and I'm excited to share them with you all. As always, thank you for your support and your faith in me. I'll see you again in the land of the rising sun.


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For cat lovers, this is paradise:

This shop had fifteen cats, each with their own names and personality described in a photo book:

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