Rachel in Tokyo

This is a blog about an American law school student studying in Tokyo for the semester.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Food for thought

Okay, so this will be my last entry for a few days. I have a lot to say, but not a lot of time or room to say it. I have managed to take 6 classes this semester, and do surprisingly well. I have also kept an active client list as an English sensei. I have 7 clients that I meet with on a weekly basis. 2 of which I see more than once a week. In November, Jared lost his job and I had no idea how we could afford for me to come to Tokyo, as we had to spend what little we had saved up for the trip on rent while he found new employment. In December, we decided that although I only had less than 1/4 of the budget they "recommended" I come with in pocket, I would come anyway. I am a resourceful person, so I decided what the heck. I can do it!

So, with $3,000 in January I needed to figure out by February how I would pay for the rest of my trip. I did a google search to find websites to help post my profile online as an English teacher. I had never done this before, but decided I liked people and knew English, so how hard could it be? Within a week and a half, I met my Kameido "family" that I speak of often on my website. They have been invaluable to my experience here in Tokyo. Within another 2 weeks, I was teaching English on a regular basis. Within another month, I had 4 clients. I have 7 now. I have really gotten the hang of it! Actually, I can't take any more business! Well....maybe....

I also applied to every paying internship they had for us here at Temple. And the book is full of positions! However, I am a woman (which does hinder my ability to find work with some of the Japanese firms), and I do not speak Japanese, so I was not at the top of anyone's list for potential interns. As the students who were fluent in Japanese got snatched up first, and then most of the other positions were quickly filled by male students, I realized quickly that I would need to find my own job if I would work here in Tokyo at all.

I am a very talkative person and am not afraid of rejection. Thus, I made a good sales person 'back in the day'. I had a conversation with my East/West Negotiations professor (Corporate Counsel for Apple, Japan) after the first couple of classes and by the end of January, I was interning at Apple Japan once a week. The name, of course, speaks for itself. I was very happy to work there, just to gain exposure to the corporate culture of an American name-brand subsidiary in Japan. Yossi-sensei is an incredible man, with a wealth of knowledge that I can only one day hope to achieve. Thank you Yossi, for an invaluable experience!

Of course, I had my mind set on plans for the summer, too! I want to make the most of my trip and realized quickly that I was in the presence of Securities Greatness when I sat in class and listened to my professor, Mark Hunsaker, lecture on Securities regulation. He is General Counsel for NikkoCitigroup, and has been responsible for some multi-billion dollar IPO's in his 14 years of working in Japan for NikkoCitigroup. Again, I'm a talker, and started talking to him enthusiastically about any opportunities for summer employment with Citi. Just a few weeks ago, I got just what I wanted. A paid summer internship with the largest financial services company in the world. Who could ask for anything more?

So this is it. I am doing it. I have done it. And I plan to do more. I came here with enough money to live on for a month and a half. I have now been here over 4 months and plan to stay another 3 1/2. I could have not done it without the loving support of my boyfriend, Jared, and support from my Dad and Boots. I was unsure as to how I was going to make it through April and Dad and Boots were there for me. Thank you! My friends and brothers (and sisters-in law) have also been helpful and supportive. Thank you for everything! I am humbled by such an incredible experience and awed by those yet to come. I am grateful for every opportunity and my disappointments are too few to even count, and are powerfully overshadowed by all the good. Thank you. I love you all.

And yes, I promise. I will be home soon!


Blogger Kristina said...

Congrats, Rachel. I am still in awe of all that you were able to accomplish this semester, from Distinguished Class Performance to landing tons of lucrative gigs. Not to mention killing those Georgetown suckers in class.

I'll miss you a lot, but know we'll keep in touch!

6:43 PM  

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