Friday, 24 July 2009

Two weeks in

It's scary to think that I'm already a quarter of the way through my internship; it feels like I only just got here! My last day at the CDS desk was pretty good - it's been a quiet week, giving me time to learn lots. The desk manager spent an hour today going over the structure of a securities company and other financial institutions, which really helped me see where the various specialities fit in. It also helped put the work I've been doing for the last two weeks into perspective. I don't think it was his intention, but it also made me make some decisions about my future, i.e. if I do decide to go into finance when I graduate I:
a) Am never being an investment banker ("those guys don't ever sleep, but you get used to it I suppose").
b) Am working in Tokyo as the environment here is a lot less hectic than in the City or in NY - the stock exchange even closes for lunch!
c) Would probably lean towards trading, with the aim of one day becoming a hedge fund manager. They earn eye-watering sums of money for being very good at what they do (or at least they should be good at it...).
Although I've not experienced working in research, structures or exotics yet, so I can't tell which sector I prefer just now.

We got in a massive amount of Burger King for lunch today. Upset at it not being Japanese food again, I ordered the 'teriyaki burger', which turned out to be brilliant! In retrospect, I probably should have ordered the new Japanese limited edition 'Angry Burger'. (Check out the website, it's hilarious.)

I went to my first conveyor-belt sushi restaurant for tea after work! I'd asked one of my colleagues where the nearest one was - turned out there was a cheap and cheerful place within Tokyo station, just next to the office.

I had nigiri with seared maguro (tuna), ebi (prawn) and unagi (eel) and also some tuna maki. The plates were colour coded for price and you just stack them up and ask for the bill. This is where I got excited - the waitress came over with an electronic scanner and scanned my stack of plates! The handheld machine then worked out how many of each price were in the stack and printed out the bill for me to take to the cash desk - awesome!

Living here is like being a time traveller - I am constantly fascinated by the technology and it honestly feels like I'm living about 10 years in the future. Everything is automatic, there are vending machines on every street and most electronic devices talk to you in Japanese - the moving walkways in Narita warned you that they were about to end when they sensed you going past. My washing machine is amazing in that it is almost completely silent and doesn't move at all. I know that sounds a bit sad to have noticed that, but seriously, how does it not make any noise or shake about when the spin cycle is running?!

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