On complexity, and travel

As the “he” part of the blog team, I’ve been busy getting acclimated to my first full week in the office. It’s an interesting place. Truly a multi-national office with people from not only Japan, but Korea, Pakistan, India, Russia, United Kingdom, and probably several others I’m not aware of yet.

In our office, the official language is English. I greatly admire all my colleagues who speak English as a second language. I only wish I had such a command of a second (or third or fourth) language.

That said, it is often a challenge to communicate. We are working with difficult and complex issues. I find it challenging to listen to my native language with so many different accents. And at times, my comments are met with quizzical or blank expressions. We are all speaking basically the same language, but the meaning behind the words isn’t always getting through.

Perhaps this will get easier as I become acclimated to a new environment where there is so much more diversity. But as I start to make the adjustment, I now have three weeks of travel ahead.

I’ve known since I came here that I would have this travel schedule. It seemed feasible during the “thinking about it” phase. Now that the time is here, I see how difficult this is really going to be.

So far we have been living in a hotel room. Nice enough, but a hotel…kind of small, eating out all meals. On Monday, we move into our apartment….but I won’t be there. I’ll be several thousand miles and many time zones away. My wife will have to do all the move-in things by herself. Of course she’s up to the task, but I want to be there.

I’m just getting adjusted to this time zone. Now I go to a different one for a week, then another trip for a week, then back to the US for a week to finalize the move out of our house to turn it over for leasing. Meaning in three weeks, I start the acclimation process all over. Get adjusted to the new office…adjust to the time zone…starting over.

All in all, I’m glad to be here and I think this will be a great experience. If I could do it over, I would strongly urge not scheduling travel so soon after arrival. The better way would be to come here, make the big change, and get acclimated. That’s a hard enough adjustment. Having an extensive travel schedule adds a level of stress and complexity that really isn’t the optimal way to make this huge life change.



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My husband and I were both born and raised in Kansas, but for the past 20+ years we have been living in Atlanta, Georgia. Now, with our children grown and out of the house, we have the opportunity to spend two years living in Tokyo. My husband will be working with the Japanese counterpart to his American company. UPDATE 2023... After 4-1/2 years in Tokyo, we returned to Atlanta. Now we are heading to London for a three year job assignment!

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