Back in Japan… again…

Posted on Sunday, July 12th, 2009 at 8:07 am.

So I thought I’d check in on the site after a long absence. I know Kevin tells me to post more often, but somehow I never get around to it.

Anyway, so I recently finished up an internship in California working for a family law judge. Overall, the experience was a good one. All you need to know about it was that I was an apprentice for a judge, who trained me in the legal arts for six weeks. I liken the experience, including the judge’s combination of strict demands, keen insight into my weaknesses, but yet sound advice and overall goodness, to Luke Skywalker and Yoda.


Now, however, I’m back in Japan, doing another internship (non-paid) for a firm in Tokyo, Yuasa and Hara.

The internship itself has absolutely been awesome. I’m actually observing international litigation, negotiation, and settlement and going through files for real international deals, including contracts and bankruptcy proceedings (these are common in today’s economy). One partner even took me to visit the Japanese Supreme Court to hear them announce some rulings. I often wonder how many foreigners have actually been in that building before me… I think even one of the justices gave me a brief look like, how da’ hell did he get in here?

The odd thing is that, when I’m not at work, I’m bored. While not moany and obnoxious like Bill Murray, I’m not the giddy Japanophile schoolboy I once was. This doesn’t make much sense. How can I be bored in Tokyo on the weekend? But, pretty much, it boils down to two things.

1) I’ve already seen all the major sightseeing spots and gotten used to general living in Japan.

2) While I know lots of people in Japan, they’re all in Chubu, about a $100 one-way train ride away. (FYI, Tsubasa and I broke up technically, but in a kind of mutual good-faith still like each other but distance too much kind of way. We’re still good friends.) I am essentially alone except for the partners and associates, who don’t really make the best “buddy-buddy” bar-hoppers on weekends (except when invited by them for a work thing).

The result is a situation similar to if someone moved to New York for the first time but didn’t know anybody outside of work… You wander around, take in the sights, (Most of which I’ve already seen. Akihabara maids are always fun, but you can only stare for so long.) and then prepare for more work at the firm.

Maybe I’ll go around moaning in a hotel lobby until Scarlet Johansen shows up to comfort me. I think the odds increase the whinier I am…

5 comments to “Back in Japan… again…”

  1. Comment by Kevin:

    I’m assuming in your Japanese internship you are speaking Japanese the entire time…I definitely have to give you props for that. Pretty impressive, considering you started in college and now you’ve progressed past just a conversational level and can speak at a professional level.

    And yeah, I can see a lot of the glamor leaving Japan once you’ve lived/been there as long as you have. It still sounds pretty cool (probably because I’ve only lived in the States), and it definitely sounds like a nice way to spend the summer…instead of staying in Champaign for the time you’re not in California.

    Patrick and I were talking recently about how it doesn’t really matter what you’re doing, getting older still means life starts to suck more, mainly in the form of additional responsibilities and accountability for work. I’m sure you’re experiencing the same thing as you’re interning there in Japan, in a much different context than your initial study abroad or JET experience.

    Regardless, feel free to take pictures and tell us about your time there (as well as when you return to Illinois).

  2. Comment by Mike:

    I bet you get in elevators and are much taller than everyone a lot. HAHAHA. God, fuck that movie (Lost in Translation).

    I was just wondering what you were up to the other day and assumed you were in Urbana. I can imagine it must be isolating over there not knowing many people. It’s weird how in cities you can be surrounded by millions of people but still feel alone.

    Like Kevin said, pictures would be cool. I expect you to do this even though I haven’t posted shit in forever. kthx.

    Also, I just looked up these maids you speak of and … never mind, Natalie reads this website.

  3. Comment by Dan:

    I’ll be sure to get some pictures before I leave. Although, they actually don’t allow you to take pictures inside the maid cafes themselves b/c they want to sell you pictures with the maids, so Mike, you’re gonna have to come to Japan and experience a maid cafe for yourself.

    As for getting older, it’s not that life generally sucks more (at least IMO), it’s just that it becomes more centered around work, and you realize how much free time you had as a student to just do random crap all day. Frankly, I’m finding myself quickly becoming a workaholic as I progress through law school, and the scary part is that I don’t mind that much. My work is kind of awesome. Now all I need to do is find a nice little Japanese wife that won’t mind me coming home at 10 at night every night, and I’m set. To the maid cafe!!!

  4. Comment by Kevin:

    “As for getting older, it’s not that life generally sucks more (at least IMO), it’s just that it becomes more centered around work, and you realize how much free time you had as a student to just do random crap all day.”

    How is that NOT life sucking more? lol.

  5. Comment by Patrick:

    At the risk of sounding redundant, it doesn’t even matter if you are doing what you love to do, life does suck as it goes on. But what can you expect? Life is a terminal condition after all…

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