Thursday, 16 July 2009

I'm such a gaijin...

So I actually did get pushed onto the train this morning. Or rather, pushed by the person who was being pushed onto the train. I promised pictures of the 'pushers' so I took some! I got some really strange looks from the other commuters when I whapped out my camera...

I spent most of today beginning to learn the stuff I'll need to know for my 'Sales Rep 2' exam, namely: accountancy (balance sheets etc), GDP and P&L. There's a considerable amount more to it but these are the subjects that I can teach myself from Wikipedia. I got to sit down and have a chat with the two guys who trade securitised mortgage and assest bonds today and learnt a lot from them. I found this branch of the market particularly interesting as when assessing risk, there's a massive human element to it - people who take out mortages could win the lottery, get divorced or get hit by a bus, and all these factors affect the probability that the mortgage provider will lose out on cash in one way or another. Mortgages are simultaneously a very secure and a very risky loan for a bank to make, and this is kind of how the mortgage bond market has evolved. At least, that's what I got from today...

After work, I headed south past Tokyo station and headed towards Ginza. I had no idea what to expect from this area of Tokyo apart from knowing that there would be some designer shops and that I wanted to find the statue of Godzilla. I did:

Ginza was incredible! It is like Times Square on steroids and spread over a much larger area. Every building lights up and flashes and there are billboards with massive speakers blaring the adverts as well, just incase you missed the gigantic screen. As a result of everyone (including me!!) in Tokyo working ridiculously long hours (and not stopping for lunch, I'd like to add - more on work ethics another time, I'm too tired) all the shops stay open until 8/9pm. Shopping in the dark in this area has to be better anyway because then you can properly experience the full lightshow!

The designer stores are everywhere and every label you could think of occupies all the floors of its own twenty-storey, ultra-modern building. There are also massive department stores on every block, sometimes two right next door to each other. I've heard from my colleagues that the Japanese are very fond of department store shopping, and that each depato is favoured by a different demographic. I was just happy to find the biggest Muji I had ever seen in the basement of one of them! Who knew that Muji sold food as well as everything else?! It was a department store within a department store!

Some of the shops I particularly liked the look of were, Uniqlo:

This department store filled with designer concessions that was rainbow-themed:

And the Hermes shop, which was completely clad in polished glass bricks:

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