E-mails Japan - 日本 Việt Nam

Letter to Dad 8.29.2004

Good Morning Dad,

Thanks for having C. call me.  It had been ages since I’d last spoke to
her and it was good to have a chat.

It’s almost September now and the weather has become cool and a bit wet here
in Tokyo.  It’s a fitting season to be leaving Japan; a place where I’ve
developed so much and had my eyes opened a little more.  Everyday, I
struggle with the thought of leaving here and try to imaging what life will
be like in Vietnam.  However, I believe it’s the comfort of Tokyo that stirs
these fears since I have established myself quite well in this concrete
jungle.  Yet, I’m determined to go to Vietnam for a few main reasons:

1.  It’s developing and many American businesses are setting up operations
there.  If I contrast it with America I see Vietnam as a place where I could
advance my career as well as my character much more rapidly than I could in
the United States.  The entire city is developing and is filled with the
excitement of opportunity and a better life.  Plus, I could add another
language.  I’m happy with my Japanese ability and after this language,
Vietnamese shouldn’t be too difficult.

2.  The people are so poor there that they remember what it’s like to be
friendly and kind to strangers.  I’m less afraid of losing some rights there
than I am of the gangs in America and indiscriminate killing that goes on
everyday in our own town.  I’m also against this hyper-materialism that has
taken hold of America.  I’ve become quite fond of Grandpa’s generation and my
image of America at that time.  Everytime I go back home, I do meet many
nice people but most are superficial, shallow people who display their worth
by the things they buy and constantly sizing up the other person in terms of
material things.  It’s so refreshing to go to a country that is so poor,
they cannot behave quite as badly yet, although give them time and I’m sure
they will follow the trend.

3.  The quality of life should be much better there for someone like me.  If
I compare the salaries with the price of products minus the poverty, I’d
make out better in Vietnam (so long as I spend all my money there).  In
fact, since my salary here is paid a month in arrears, I should have plenty
of money for rent and all expenses for about three months.

These points along with many others drives my motivation to go and work
there.  I’m very excited to go and I’ve gotten some invitations for
interviews; one from a consulting agency and one from a language school.
However, I will do my absolute best to try to get a business job and am
applying to language schools as a backup.  I’m confident that I’ll land
something is business eventually however.

Finally, I read an excellent article that confirms many of my thoughts about
people not really being smart or informed enough to vote intelligently.  It
also talks about how the elites form most of the masses opinions about which
candidates to vote for.  I’m sure you’ve already read it but it’s a


E-mail to Dad 8.25.2004

Hello Dad,

They sent that Citicard awfully early.  My current card doesn’t expire until
03/31/05.  We are talking about the card with my picture on it right?  If
that is the case, then yes please, go ahead and send it to me.  I like to
have it on me just in case of emergencies and Citibank is worldwide so I
never have any problems.

Those were some great pictures of you and Uncle B umpiring.  It looks like
you’ve hit the big leagues!  Those were some big boys playing baseball there
and I hope you were being extra careful with your calls.  Probably wouldn’t
want to get into a belly bumping match with any of those hillbillies.

As I mentioned, I have one company in Hanoi that seems to be decent since
their office is located in the best building in that city and they have
famous clients.  I’ve also just received an offer for an interview when I
arrive for a place called “Human Capital.” .  It’s
good to get some positive responses after sending out so many resumes.  I’d
be really happy to have a non-English teaching job in Nam and would most
likely get a lot of experience with important business matters right away
since most companies are just emerging with the help of foreign training.
I guess I’ll just have to keep my fingers crossed for now and hope things
turn out well.

Finally, I’ll be sending two packages home.  The smaller one is of two CDs I
made.  One is for you to listen to that is full of “oldies” comedy and great
historical speeches I thought you would like.  The second CD is video and
pictures of Christmas and Lake Tahoe.  There is also video of a walk-through
of the old house that I took and is in the Christmas 2003 file.  The second
bigger package is of items that I’d like to put in my black treasure chest.

Thanks Dad,

E-mails Japan - 日本

E-mail to Dad 7.19.2004

Hey Dad,

Nick got here just fine and doing well.  He e-mailed Aunt C two days
ago.  From what he tells me, he had quite a nice experience in the
Philippines and got his scuba diving license.  When I picked them up from
the airport they both looked like your typical scruffy backpackers and
completely wiped out.  The next day Hitomi and I took them to Shibuya
(Japan’s Times square) and had lunch.  They had absolutely no idea of what
they wanted to do and hadn’t even read their lonely planet yet!  I tried to
ask a couple of times about what they wanted to do but just got blank
stares.  So I did what any good cousin would do; left them alone in Shibuya
and told them to get themselves lost and have an adventure.  They made it
back alright got their confidence and now they are flying on their own just
fine like a couple of Tokyo old-timers.  I sent them to see the Meiji shrine
yesterday and they even managed to take in a baseball game between the
Hiroshima Carp and from who knows where “Swallows.”  I went to class today
and told them how to get to the Electronic city (Akihabara) and the station
just next door from there (Asakusa) where we saw one of the big temples.  We
will meet up tonight for dinner and perhaps a few drinks.

Well, that’s all for now.  Hope things are going well at home.

E-mails Japan - 日本

E-mail to Dad 7.14.2004


Thanks for sending me those articles.  It looks like you’ve done really well
for yourself and Grandpa and Grandma would be extremely proud of what someone
who had trouble with Math has become.  I’m extremely proud to have such an
intelligent father who can always show me the other side or view when
problems arise and offer a well thought out solution.  I only hope that with
all this studying I may someday be somewhat successful as well.

As for my situation here, the Japanese semester is coming to an end and I’m
teaching English five days a week.  I’m making pretty good money and
promised ITC that I could continue teaching until the beginning of October.
In the meantime I’m going to step up my job search and really give it 100%
after the semester has ended.  My only fear is that if I decide to leave,
that I will miss Tokyo and not like my new environment.  I’m not worried
about hard work, or the job so much as the change in environment since I
have grown comfortable here.  I’m also concerned about H.  I really do
love her, but I must establish myself with a good career and I’m not ready
for anything crazy like marriage just yet.  Thus, if I must leave I’m
worried that I would miss her terribly.  It’s difficult living an
“international” lifestyle since there are so many unknowns when changing
ones environment.  Change is coming soon and I’m a little nervous about it.

I’ve made contact with Mr. K., and we will be having dinner together
on the 25th of this month.  I’ll let you know how it goes and what we spoke
about.  Also, Nick is about to arrive and I’m curious to see his reaction to
Tokyo and how is traveling is going.  He will be here for one week and I’ll
make sure he enjoys his stay.

Thanks for everything Dad,

E-mails Japan - 日本 Việt Nam

E-mail to Dad 7.2.2004

Good Morning Dad,

I’m glad you like the books.  I’ve been reading a lot lately about space and
where exactly we are.  Living abroad has done so much more for me than
simply language.  I’m able to understand people, their influences and
mentality much better now.  Getting out of one’s normal environment really
makes one expand their mind and see life from a completely different

So I’ve been asking myself lately the age old philosophical
questions about exactly where we are and what our purpose is.  I see so many
people who simply drift through life with their main goal being money,
getting a certain position or providing for others and ask myself; is this
our purpose here?  So I’ve turned to space since humanity has made so much
amazing progress lately such as sending the rovers to mars and putting
telescopes such as Chandra out in space
that can take pictures of the farthest reaches of the universe and am

Then I turned to Hawking since no known person has the mental
capacity to understand our environment like him.  A good primer on Hawking
is on his simple website which has some of his (easy to read) lectures
posted on the internet. .

Throughout my childhood most people explained the not-yet-understood
variables of this life by using God.  Then throughout history, man has
slowly been able to remove the culpability from God to natural factors.
Through my reading of history, religious teachings and new discoveries, I’ve
started to put more of my stock in science then the naive explanations of
religious leaders who throughout time have punished people for not accepting
their teachings.  If the Church was a company there is no way I would invest
due to their constant retracting from the established teaching.  If they are
supposed to be the guardians of the “supreme truth” then they should have
had everything right the first time.  Enough of this nonsense of
“interpretation” which can be used to constantly change their views due to
new discoveries.  Anyway, being the intellectual you are, I thought these
books might interest you or at least make a good addition to the library.  I
hear that “A brief History of the Universe” is easier reading than “A brief
History of Time,” and may be the one to start with first.

Enough of that rambling, I’m writing most of these thoughts down in a book
that will not be completed until I’m at least in my mid thirties.  I’ve
posted it online and most of it is still unorganized and in need of
revision.  I usually have a thought and write it down quickly before it
slips away and then return to revise later.  If you have a chance, please
take a look.  It’s posted in the “academics” section of my website.

I agree with your advice about the job.  Since I now have until October,
I’ve slowed the job search a little.  Once the semester is finished and I’m
not swamped with homework, I’ll be able to concentrate most of my energies
on the search.  The name of the tobacco company I’m working at is called
“Intercontinental Trading Corporation.”  Their main competitor is the much
larger “Japan Tobacco,” but they are able to import many special products
such as Cuban cigars, Gualoise Cigarettes from France and American Spirit
Cigarettes from the States.  The reason I’m apprehensive about the job is
that in Japanese society it would become my life, and the employees like my
family.  I would be put into “their group,” and it would seem much more
“permanent” than what we are used to in the States.  They have not offered me
the position yet, but the manager has said (reliant on my Japanese skill)
that I’m the best candidate for the job because of my language skills.  The
job has not been offered nor filled at this point and I’m their official
English teacher at least until October 1st.  The employees really like me,
and I create a great atmosphere for them.  They all really enjoy the lessons
I provide and I’ve managed to motivate the entire staff to learn.  It’s a
pretty good feeling to be able to do that.

As for the job search, there is such a feeling of excitement and opportunity
here in Asia (especially China) that is lacking in the rest of the world.
Vietnam is slowly transferring power from the war generation to the new young
generation of entrepreneurs.  Due to the Vietnam (or American war) your
generation was mostly wiped out and the country is mostly young.  They are
opening up their markets from the communist grasp, and the young people are
starting their own businesses.  My friend Phuong, was able with the support
of his other young friends to establish his own computer company and even
became a congressman.  When I’m in HCMC (Saigon) I feel that these young
people are establishing the new order and in the future will be the big dogs
of Vietnam, unless they are crushed by foreign powerhouses.  They are weak
compared to the mammoths of US companies and it remains to be seen if they
will survive once Vietnam joins the WTO.  Either way, if I’m lucky enough to
secure a job there, I think I would be protected due to the fact that I am
an American, who understands and glides easily through cultures.  I simply
just need to get my foot in the door and due to the confidence I’ve gained
through the opportunities you’ve provided me, I’m positive that I’ll be
successful.  I just need to get that damn foot in the door.

I’ve written a novel so I’ll end here.  I promise I’ll make it back sometime
this year so we can get out and get that beer at which time I hope that I’ll
be able to give you a run for your money intellectually.

Thanks again for everything,