I only had to teach 6-9 today, so I went back to the Tokyo Bloomberg office today and caught up with everyone.
It was like I never left, lots of new faces but those that knew me from before all greeted me enthusiastically and I finally got the chance to meet with Manabu-san.
We had gone through the same training when we started out, but I only saw him via remote webcam before. The last time I was in the office, he was away on a trip with his wife but left a huge bowl of snacks with a post-it on his desk for me.
I had lunch with Em, Mariko and Faizal first, talking about hanabi season and Japanese English. Then I had coffee with Shu-chan until 3 and headed back to the office again.
The regional manager JK was in Tokyo, and he had called me on my cell to do coffee so we walked to Starbucks in the adjacent building and just chatted about our lives for about 45 minutes.
He asked me what was the real reason I quit and came to Japan, obviously having heard a dozen different stories from the desk.
"It's been what, 3 months?
I still remember, I was on the bus to board my plane to Tokyo when I got the message on my blackberry that you had quit. I was shell-shocked, and I was trying to get whoever I could but the only person logged on was Sri, and she was as shocked... We didn't know what to do. (pause)
You could have asked for a transfer to the Tokyo office, you know."
I smiled, flattered by his kindness.
I explained that while it was partly an impulse move, I knew I didn't want a career in finance and wanted to do something completely different in Japan.He went on to ask how I was doing and shared his experience of being shipped to Canada alone at age 12 to live with relatives.
It was like having a fatherly figure to confide in, someone who genuinely believes in me.
I'll see him again when he flies here for the Bloomberg summer party in September.