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Japan - 日本

East-Bourne (イーストボーン) Mejiro Gone

Everything changes, nothing remains without change. – Buddah

Reasonable price and comfortable place. – East-Bourne Bar

In the normal course of life change happens at a very slow pace. We do not pay much attention to the small, incremental changes that occur from day to day and it is only when we look at old pictures from many years ago do we realize time marches on and the world we once knew no longer exists. It all seems to happen so quickly as we go about our days, doing our tasks as the months and years slip by.

Take our children for example. They are growing and changing everyday but it happens so slowly that we see no difference. It isn’t until we look at old pictures and videos do we realize how quickly they are growing up. The babies we once had to keep a constant eye on are gone and this always makes me very sad as I didn’t even get to say goodbye!

Last week I was a single man at 27, yesterday I was 36 with my first child and now I am middle aged at 42. Time really is both fascinating and terrifying.

Aside from old pictures the other time that the passage of time really hits me is when I travel internationally. I spent a good amount of time overseas and in various countries. If I were to write an autobiography these international experiences would comprise distinct chapters of my life full of unique experiences, dramatic changes and completely new friends. These chapters abruptly start and end instead of gently flowing with gradual changes from one to the next. I was an English teacher and student in Japan and then I was a salesperson in Vietnam. I left Vietnam and became an airline representative in San Francisco. The changes were big and my life became very different with each move.

When I return to these countries where I spent part of my life I’m expecting to re-read the old chapters. I go to Japan every year and I’ll visit my old neighborhoods, go to my favorite bars, and reminisce. That worked for a while but I lived in Japan 16 years ago and the nostalgia has for the most part all faded away. There is always some big change year over year and these big changes have really added up.

A few of the bigger changes that have affected me are as follows.

Watami, the ubiquitous izakaya that was one of my favorites has closed a lot of locations. I went to the usual spots a few years ago but they were all closed or had changed names. Banking regulations have become tighter where I can no longer use my Sumitomo passbook as it is old and you need to have an address/live in Japan for a Japanese bank account. So it seems I’m grandfathered in but I just cannot update my account? All the young people I was surrounded by at Waseda, in the bars, restaurants and at the gym are now middle-aged with families. They have been replaced by new young people who are occupying their former seats at places like The Hub, Niku Yokocho, and the classrooms.

All of these changes hit me pretty hard this last trip to Japan. I’m no longer young, the Japan chapter of my life I was expecting to re-read is outdated and another of my favorite locations I frequented back in 2002 is now gone. Goodbye East-Bourne in Mejiro.

East-Bourne Mejiro 2002

The East-Bourne was a small bar down a side street not far from Mejiro station. I lived in Mejiro from 2002-2003 and stumbled in one evening to find a very warm, intimate bar with leather seating, dark woods, soft light and an elegant charm. There were only three beers on tap but were all premium and perfectly poured by bartenders in ironed suit shirts and bow ties.

The picture above is of my friends Ryan and Brendan who traveled to Japan to visit me. That week became one of legend and something we still talk about to this day. It will certainly remain one of the highlights of our entire lives.

On that particular evening we dressed up in suits and the East Bourne was our first stop. After that we were headed to a club called Genius in Ginza where suits were required. Doing a quick search it seems that it still exists whereas other clubs I frequented such as Space Lab Yellow in Roppongi do not.

I would continue to pop into the East Bourne from time to time and sometimes would talk to other patrons. One time it was another expatriate and I remember talking to him about the American Chamber of Commerce and how there was an employee named Bob. One time I went to an event and the sponsors were given five minutes to speak before the event happened. Well, one guy who was promoting his visa-service business didn’t end at five minutes. Bob tried to take the microphone back and the guy resisted. This lead to an awkward situation, especially when the mic was given back and Bob kept referencing that the absolute limit was five minutes and staring at the visa guy. I looked at the visa guy and he was absolutely steaming. I’ve never seen so much hate in a person’s eyes before.

I saw Bob at one of those Roppongi clubs that no longer exists surrounded by about three girls and plenty of beer. So naturally I said “Hey Bob, great to see you!” Of course he didn’t remember me but guys like Bob like to seem important and well known. With my enthusiasm and that it made him look good in front of the girls he invited me to sit down, have some beer and conversation. I can’t stress enough how important it is to remember people’s names and use them when greeting them. It changes the entire atmosphere for the better, works to your advantage and not just for free beer!

The other patron at the bar I remember is one who I didn’t speak with but saw often around Mejiro. She drank alone, or speaking with different men from time to time. She wasn’t a prostitute but I think just a lonely woman who found comfort at the East-Bourne. When I’m in Mejiro I wonder what happened to her. I imagine she is still just as lonely but now in her early fifties and still looking for love that will probably never come aside from one hour stints in the love motel.

On my return trips I would pop-in to the East-Bourne as it was a place where memories easily returned. But in discovering the building was completely gone this past trip I realized I haven’t been in the East-Bourne for 5 or 6 years! The last time I went it was to meet my friends Horacio, Masaru and Miguel. We had a couple of quick drinks, some great catching up and then they were all off to catch the last train. These pictures are from 2011 or 2012 if I’m not mistaken.

I remember we went there two years in a row as the same women (on the far left) was the bartender. The draft beers were gone and they were only serving bottle beers then. I imagine this was part of the slow death of the East-Bourne because just having bottle beer in a place so refined just seemed a bit off.

On this past trip I was looking forward to another beer in the East-Bourne and walked past where it used to be two times before I realized the entire building had been torn down. Looking at Google Maps confirmed this.

And so, this post, although rather long in getting to the point is my online memorial to the East-Bourne Mejiro. It will always be a place I held dear and was part of one of my favorite chapters of my life.

Google Maps Link: Here

イーストボーン
Japan, 〒171-0031 Tokyo, Toshima City, Mejiro, 3 Chome−5−16 青山ビル B1F

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Japan - 日本 Journal

Memory of Space Lab Yellow

I rarely come across new music I really like. In the past year there have been only two (“Aural Psynapse” by deadmau5 and “I’m Trippin” by Millok). Just heard this tonight; LOVE IT as it takes me back to clubbing days at Space Lab Yellow in Tokyo. I looked up Space Lab to see if it was still around and to my COMPLETE SHOCK the Guardian says, “Ageing party-goers still remember it as Space Lab Yellow, the legendary nightclub that closed in 2008 when its building was earmarked for demolition.” AGEING PARTY-GOERS??? I think this one unfortunate sentence has just triggered my midlife crisis. I’m gonna open a bottle of wine and listen to SASH. Ageing party-goer my arse. God-Damned Guardian

Music : OKAY – Shiba San
Guardian Article: 10 of the best bars and clubs in Tokyo

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For some reason, this blog has been running a bit slow for the past two days.  Tried uninstalling and deleting unused plugins, optimized/repair the database, installed WP Super Cache but it is still being a bit funky.  Hopefully it is just an issue with the server and will repair itself.

In other news, I quit World of Warcraft which wasn’t difficult at all!  I simply realized that the game was no longer entertaining.

So, the question was, what to do with my spare time?

 

I have decided to focus on blogging and learning Kanji.  If I’m not blogging, I’ve got my book “Remembering the Kanji” open.

My book has quite a history attached to it and has actually become very treasured.  I bought this book in Japan have notes from that period of my life in it.  When I see those notes it takes me back to my desk in Mejiro (pictured below) where I would spend hours trying to get these symbols into my brain.  It was in this book that I was able to learn what the individual pieces meant which I refer to in my post “Speak American – A Fun Lesson in Language

 

The book actually has a bit of character associated with it.  When I moved to Vietnam I packed it into a box that took about 3 months to finally reach me in Vietnam.  Unfortunately, I also made the mistake of packing my shampoo with it which leaked out all over the book.  So, the top of the book has a nice purple tint to it but has since lost its fragrant smell.

 

I really miss my old Mejiro apartment!  From my desk, I had this view.  Really brings back a lot of memories!  I really cannot believe that 6 years have already passed since I left Japan.

I had always planned to go back but unfortunately, with the economy the way it is (in the USA and Japan) it is better to stay here and working for an American company isn’t as stressful.

But I’m sure Japan still has a very large role to play in my life and I’m sure I’ll find myself back there someday.

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Japan - 日本 Journal My Best Posts San Francisco Việt Nam

Four City Impressions: Tokyo, Saigon, Columbus, San Francisco

It has been three and a half years since I first came to San Francisco to work on the career aspect of my life. Things have gone according to plan, I’ve settled into a routine and time has gone quickly. In fact, this is the most time I’ve spent in once city in the past decade.

This past month I was fortunate enough to be able to visit the cities in Asia and America I call home in rapid succession. My reason for doing so were simply to remember what life is like over in various cities and to think about the future. The one problem with moving from city to city is you always miss the ones you’ve left and there is always a sort of pull beckoning you to go back. It was this voice that I wanted to quiet a little as well as determine which world would be most suitable for the future.

When one is away from any city for a long time, the image of that city is continually built up in the mind and may make it seem better than it actually is. My mind especially reinforces the good aspects while negating the bad. I had to return to put it all in perspective.
Further, it is the experience one remembers and not the city as it actually is and not all experiences will be the same. However, I also believe that one has the power to physically change any experience simply by choosing how the mind will perceive it. This is why some will have negative experiences while others enjoy the time of their life even though they are experiencing the same city.

I went on my trip as one returning home and not as a tourist. I simply wanted to revisit the places and neighborhoods that were my home at one time.
Therefore, I thought it might be wise to write down my thoughts while they are still fresh and to share my experiences in these vastly different places.

1. Tokyo

– Tokyo is a city that could be described as a futuristic place in the present. It is clean, orderly and crime is almost non-existent. The technology is very advanced and returning to San Francisco, I can’t shake the feeling that it seems 10-15 years behind!

My neighborhood in Tokyo runs from Ikebukuro up to Kawagoe and westward along the Yamanote line to Shibuya. It was here that I ate at my favorite restaurants, had coffee in places where I used to study Japanese and had some beers at my favorite hangouts. It seemed as though time had not really changed things and I could easily slip back into that world.
Yet, it would not be the same world if I were to return. I was there as a student and English teacher and did not have to fight the crowded trains day in and day out. My Japanese is good enough to live in that world.

If I were to return I would be faced with the monumental task of improving my Japanese to native level which would take many years and dedicated nightly study. One part of me finds this to be difficult. Yet, whether something is difficult or not simply depends on the mindset when doing it. There will be peaks and valleys but with the right attitude there will be more peaks along the road.

The tougher aspect would be integrating into a mostly Japanese world. Before, I spent a lot of time with foreigners and achieved a very comfortable level of life. Going back I would have to integrate 100% which one can never really achieve since Japan is a homogeneous society and I would always be an outsider. However, with the right attitude one can get very close and become “accepted,” even if becoming completely “Japanese” is not possible.

In regards to integration one will have to become part of various groups. These groups are the people you work with, the neighborhood and even society at large. One must then abide by all the rules of these groups which inhibits individualism. Here in the USA we are individualistic and pursue our own goals in which we can sometimes bend rules. It reminds me a bit of the movie “The Matrix” in that Neo has the power to shape his environment as he wants it to be. In Japan there are no bending of rules and the Matrix is as it is with the individual having no power to change it. One must simply keep trying to accomplish what they will in a static fashion and various opportunities are spaced farther in between. One must pursue the aims of the group over the individual.

To put this in greater perspective, I left Japan Airlines (great company) due to my own aims and career goals. In Japan, this would not be a normal thing and much harder to do. In fact would almost seem like a betrayal and perhaps seen as a negative on the resume.

The positive aspect to moving back here is that my faculties would be awash in the culture and language. It would be like a child exploring an entirely new playground even if he knew how to navigate a select few of the obstacles. My Japanese would improve tremendously and I would have to keep myself more alert in order to advance.

Here in San Francisco it seems I rarely need to think at all and could sleepwalk through most days. It is as if the current of life has picked me up to carry me along the way and all I need to do is float. In Japan I would have to tread water pretty quickly at first and watch out for the boulders in the stream to keep advancing.

In short, Tokyo would be a great place to return to but life would take a lot of effort. But again, it is only as difficult as my mind tells me it is and if I regard it as simple and fun then so it would be.

2. Saigon

– The best part about Saigon are the people. I love the Vietnamese and regard them as very warm, kind and full of life. These people have been through so much yet it is very easy to find a smile in this city. Further, the expatriate crowd is extremely interesting as they come from all corners of the globe and usually have interesting stories to tell. I like the fact that I can walk into almost any restaurant/bar, converse in different languages and hear their story. The simple fact that they are in Saigon makes them adventurous and one can easily get a completely different viewpoint of any situation which simply doesn’t happen in the USA.

As for the Vietnamese, I don’t think I’ve every really met one that I didn’t like. Sure, sometimes there are struggles but I would be hard pressed to think of even one Vietnamese “sourpuss” if you’ll pardon the expression. When I encounter the service over there it puts a smile on my face and is very easy to be positive. Here in S.F. it can sometimes be a challenge to remain positive and keep that karma flowing.

Now, please don’t misunderstand, there are many great people here in San Francisco but there are also those that are not very happy with their life and it really drives the point home that money does not equal happiness. Even the street vendors offer a great smile in Vietnam where customer service here sometimes gives me the impression that I am bothering the vendor. I may be explaining this point poorly but my point is that it is very easy to be happy in Saigon where in S.F. it sometimes takes a bit of work (especially if you commute).

Yet, Saigon really no longer feels like home and that is due to the rapid changes in the city. Saigon has no recession, buildings are going up left and right and young people are finding plenty of nice office work. There is nothing that brings a bigger smile to my face then watching the young Vietnamese on a company outing with the same color hats and shirts on and their smiles simply beaming!! A beaming smile while working in S.F. is very scarce.

The Vietnamese are enjoying life at the moment and are definitely on the up and up. It is as if you can really see the people for who they are and nothing is hidden. And they are a wonderful people!! In Tokyo, the people are very polite but there is a distance between everyone. This lubricates the society but it takes a very long time to feel close or make good fr
iends. In Vietnam this could be accomplished in seconds.

I have gone astray and must digress a bit to Saigon not feeling like home. The reason is that before, it was still a pretty small city and it seemed as though all the expatriates new each other. We attended the same events, went to the same bars and could theoretically attend every event going on in the city! Further, there were quite a few Vietnamese who also attended these sort of foreigner events and I knew most of them too.

Now, there are foreigners everywhere, many more functions and associations and it is impossible to know everyone. I really became aware of this when I first arrived at the airport. In 2004, I could shoot through immigration in 30 seconds as there were no lines and only about 10 inspectors. Now there are around 40 inspectors and lines!! Further, I could not believe how many foreigners there were!

I was amused at the foreigners in front of me at immigration who were obviously new. The inspector rebuffed them due to some paperwork error and they seemed surprised that they were not being let in. Being haughty to the immigration inspector also does not get you in the country any faster and I was glad to bypass them and be let in immediately.

In town I also realized that a lot of my favorite hangouts were now gone and that there were many new hotspots in town. Dong Koi street is no longer the foreigner hangout it used to be and is now over behind the Sun Wah tower! Going into these places I only recognized between one and three people instead of the usual 10-15 as before. I did feel special as one of the bartenders gave me a free drink and called me “old meat” which meant that I was one of the old crowd returned instead of all the “new meat.” My friends which were still there also informed me that even they did not recognize most of the foreigners anymore since there were so many of them.

Finally, an enormous change has been the Viet Kieu which are the returning Vietnamese that left in various waves fleeing the country. They have also changed the face of Saigon and have brought money with them. I was fortunate enough to meet some really great Viet Kieu and none of the bad. The bad ones look upon foreigners as though they don’t belong there because it is THEIR country and can sometimes be rude. Fortunately, the ones I met were very outgoing and we had a lot of fun.

This social dynamic is really going to change things and it will be interesting to watch how the Vietnamese adapt to these new returnees especially when they have a lot of money. So many people left and so many are returning that it will have a very big impact. In Japan, there are few that venture outside the country but the ones that do might have trouble re-adapting since they might have a hit of “foreignerness” about them. I don’t really want to go into this and mention it just for comparison with Vietnam.

In conclusion for Saigon, I’m very excited that the young people are doing so well and the country is progressing. I do feel a little sad though that the Saigon I knew is gone but I am just one traveler whose time there has passed. This does not mean that I will not be back for visits however and I sincerely hope that I cross paths with Vietnam frequently. Yet, as for living there again it does not seem optimal unless a very large business opportunity were to present itself.

3. San Francisco

– Out of all the cities in the USA (that I have visited) San Francisco is my favorite. The people are not as warm as the Vietnamese and the city is not as advanced as Tokyo but San Francisco is magnificent! The natural beauty and the talent of this city are unsurpassed. The people are also more laid-back then those down in LA except of course during their commute.

I love this city due to it’s walkable nature and its compact size. San Francisco can be taken in in its entirety yet there is always something new to discover. Tokyo on the other hand is overwhelming and one can only take one small area at a time which even then can never be fully discovered. San Francisco though is able to be digested in each of its unique neighborhoods over the course of a year or so. Further, the variety is astounding in that one could be snowboarding (Lake Tahoe) in the morning and drinking wine outdoors in 80 degrees (Napa) in the evening.

In regards to entertainment, even the small venues draw extraordinary talent. I used to believe that quality entertainment costs about $100. Yet, I have recently learned that it can be had for $15 and even great wine can be bought for $20.

The downside is that this city costs money. It is an adult playground but in order to play one must pay the fee. Further, it is not very easy to make friends without a lot of effort. In Saigon one makes friends whether they desire to or not. In Tokyo, many people are curious about foreigners and even though it takes a lot of time, with a positive attitude friends will come. Yet, in S.F. it succumbs to the “big city” mentality in that even though people can be friendly, one can only get so close before it becomes uncomfortable. Friends can be made but they must actively be sought out.

This could also simply just be my mindset as there are plenty of young adults around. Yet, I no longer go out to meet people but instead have set plans be it a restaurant or simply staying home and watching Netflix.

San Francisco is a great place to live if one can afford it and does not tire of all the activity. After three and a half years here I still enjoy a modest amount of activity but it is far from the nightly scene of Saigon.

4. Columbus

– My first impression about Columbus was that the people are extraordinarily friendly. I had begun to think that Americans were modestly friendly in comparison to the Vietnamese but that was my mistake and I had become to accustomed to San Francisco.

The atmosphere is much more laid back and I felt very much at peace there compared with the noise and activity of San Francisco. The main activity was going to a Blue Jackets game and talking about Ohio State Football. The politics also seemed much more reasonable and easy going than in S.F. where everything is a constant battle.

It almost seemed as though life was a bit slower and that my town of Grandview was like the fictional town of “Pleasantville.” People get along and are friendly but unfortunately Ohio State Football is more of a discussion topic than international affairs. This is not a slam in any way as I love Ohio but I miss listening to viewpoints I had never even fathomed (Saigon) rather than the usual opinions.

In Columbus, it seems to me that one could have all (or most of) the material things they wanted since living expenses are much more reasonable. A decent sized house, two cars, large T.V. and maybe even a pool table. The people are much more welcoming and friendly which really endears me to the Midwestern life style.

Yet, I feel I would miss the excitement of the international scene and any material items would soon become boring. I have always much preferred experiences to material things and I think it is too late to turn back the clock now. Yet, in terms of livability Columbus is very hard to beat in terms of raising a family.

In conclusion, each city offers distinct advantages while others would have to be sacrificed. It is so easy to simply coast along in life and let the current take you where it may. It is quite another deciding to get up out of the stream and place yourself in a completely different one, swimming like crazy until one is coasting again yet trying not to think of the streams they had previously left and if they would lead to a more perfect lake.

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Culture Japan - 日本 Politics Việt Nam

Reply to Comment on Tokyo Metblogs

— This post (albeit very long) is in reply to a comment left on my post (Life in Tokyo vs. Life in Saigon) on Tokyo Metblogs.

Reply to Carl’s Jr.

Your reply sounds suspiciously like something my dad would say. I’m half tempted to try and trace the post and see if it doesn’t originate from the Buckeye State. You’re suspect!! 🙂
And like many of my dad’s statements yours also gave me something to think about. You are right in that sometimes there is no comparison. But I think that would be a better answer if we were having a chat and comparing cities over coffee with no plans of actually moving to these places. For me, a comparison is necessary (even though my original post was extremely simplified) since it ultimately determines where I will live.

Concerning the “rut.” It is possible to fall into this situation in any city, in any profession. However, I think it is important to ask yourself which location is it easiest to get out of. For example if I was in a town where the industry collapsed due to intl. trade should I stay there and try to get out of the rut or go to where there is work? The older generation was only able to look as far as neighboring towns. Slightly younger to other states. But it is just begining that people are now able to look across the world for adventageous locations,, a concept which the older generations cannot comprehend.

The markets of Europe and America are already established and the competition is extremely difficult. The rich have made their wealth and this structure of wealthy vs. others is for the most part set in place. The business environment is simply booming here (look at China in the past 10 years) and Vietnam, once they join the WTO, will grow dramatically. The country is starting completely over and the market as well as who will grow wealthy and who will not is now being created.

Since this is on Tokyo Metblogs lets use Japan as an example of the wealthy retaining their riches and keeping the middle class “middle class.” The group that now control the wealth of Japan have done so for centuries. Names like Mitsubishi, Asahi, Sumitomo, Fujiwara, ect. are actually families who’s names can be found far back in the history books. Mitsubishi for one built much of the war machinery for Imperial Japan and what happened after American occupation? They simply switched to other industries and continue their huge influence over affairs in Japan. The same goes with America although through new industries and opportunity many more have made mountains of wealth. But the majority of the population simply work for these oligarchs. It’s true that many can become wealthy if they reach the top posts especially in corporations but for the most part, the old families or “old money” still hold incredible sway especially in Japan.

So I asked myself, where in the world is it most probable that I could start my own business if I choose and make contacts with the leaders of tomorrow while still young and not have to scratch and claw my way up until I’m around 45 – 50 years old? The answer lies in which countries have shaken the system and are starting anew. In Vietnam everything is new and if you ask most investment strategists, Vietnam holds very little risk when starting new businesses because there simply isn’t much competition. Also, which economy is most likely to grow by leaps and bounds? Also Vietnam.

I did think much about your comment “the fire to compete.” Well, I asked myself which arena would be the most likely in which I would win and win quickly. So I don’t like to think of it as big pond or small pond but simply in which pond I can catch the most fish. And the Vietnam pond is going to grow tremendously so I’m catching fish while it’s still small in the form of contacts with the future leaders of this place. And if we continue with this metaphor, the fishermen in the States and Japan have huge nets on trawlers while I, still being young, have to make do with a paddleboat and one fishing pole. Much better to compete with others in paddle boats in small pond with a lot of fish and wait until this pond joins all the others through the canal of WTO by which time I will know all the other fishermen in the Vietnam pond. Ok, this has gotten ridiculous.

Further, living here has exposed me to so much I would otherwise not have experienced. Since HCMC is small and I work in an esteemed club I can meet very easily the top heads of many international companies, diplomats and so on. In the west it would just be a hello and then goodbye. Here, I drink beers and dance with these people’s wives. During happy hour or at business events, I learn how these companies actually work, what is going on behind the scenes, and how companies actually do business. I can now answer questions about politics concerning oil reserves in remote islands that affect international affairs. What is meant by treaties concerning “joint exploration” of an oil rich area and what is most likely to happen. I learn how they bend rules and what they actually tell the public. If I decide I want to move to Europe, I can speak directly with Counsel generals and sometimes Ambassadors of various European countries on how to best obtain a visa or passport. Also, if I’m drinking with these people they get to know me and we become like friends since we are all ex-pats in a very tight ex-pat community. Also, the generation gap is not as pronounced as it is in the west so I do not feel it odd to be partying with a 60 year old and look at them just as I would any other peer.

Further, this experience works for me in other ways such as giving me a sense of freedom. I know know how to live, work and adapt (or how to get the info) in any country I choose. Most people are stuck in one location, or country since they simply do not know how to leave if the environment happened to be better somewhere else. It is best not to be bound by national borders, nationality, culture and language. Here I learn how to make contacts, who to talk with to get what I want, and how to navigate bureaucracy. This information is gold.

To illustrate this point, after graduation when I wanted to work abroad I asked three people:

1. The head of a large company.
– I asked how soon could I possibly sent abroad if I worked for them. He said it’s most likely not possible until I learned the business and then maybe after 5 years or so they might send me somewhere.

2. My university study abroad coordinator.
– She said I could apply for a teaching program in another country but it is very competitive.

3. Various contacts
– They simply said it was too difficult.

Yet, I did it by myself without the support of some institution. The knowledge is there and anything can be done, it’s simply finding the door that is key. So if I want to work in some appealing company, I can simply meet the head of the organization here, make friends and find out the shortest path to a possible position.

What really appeals to me here is the contacts I’m making for the future. These people will be the next leaders of Vietnam and have their own business. So in the future if I’m in some other country in a trade related business, I already will have constructed a way in. Also, the experience of having lived here, and having a contact list will be extremely valuable in the very near future. Most people around the world have the wrong image of Vietnam but just give them 5 short years and they will be amazed at what happens to this country and how is grows economically. There already is much hype about China and for good reason. One would also be wise to consider China’s neighbors and most savvy investors adopt the China plus one strategy which is simply to not put all one’s eggs in the China basket.