After one of the most productive weeks in recent memory, I've survived yet another flight across the Pacific and returned to the land I've called "home" for more than a decade. All in all, the trip to New Jersey was certainly worth the investment as the sheer number of positive things to come from the plethora of meetings has been nothing short of astounding. Career-wise, so long as the ego remains bottled up, I'm in for some very interesting projects and very demanding roles within the organisation.
I can hardly wait to get started.
Historically my trips to the US have been pretty rough, as they involved upset stomachs, catching a flu, buying a burned out motherboard, or — as was the case the last time — an unexpected overnight stay1. This time was completely different, with the only negative thing I can recall being the lack of energy from wait staff at the hotel bar who would often make people wait fifteen minutes for their first drink, then expect a 20% tip at the end. The hotel itself was spacious and comfortable. The atmosphere was relaxed. The air was crisp. Heck, there were even deer in the forests surrounding the place. When I wasn't working, it was incredibly easy to relax.
The lack of a rigid schedule certainly helped with the weeklong series of meetings, presentations, and seminars. I had planned to deliver three presentations, a product demo, a seminar on SQL Server, and maybe participate in a meeting or two. As fate would have it, the entire Monday to Friday stretch turned out to be a single discussion that contained all of the presentations, demos, and seminars in an interactive and interesting way. There was a good amount of team building going on, as well, which will go a long way to building the crucial relationships between teams separated by thousands of kilometres. Wins all around!
Coming home, however, was the icing on the cake. Nozomi was incredibly happy to see me, and the boy — after a few minutes of nervousness — was laughing and bouncing in my arms. Reiko and her parents really went all out to look after both of these small family members while I was away. Hopefully the next trip will be somewhere inside Japan so that we can all go together. It's not often that Reiko can get away from it all, and she deserves a break more than anyone I know. Perhaps a little persuasion can result in the next big corporate get-together taking place somewhere in Kyushu. Nagasaki was lovely the last time and, so long as it's not summertime, both work and pleasure could happen without the uncomfortable humidity that is typical between May and October.
This might be a bit much to hope for, though.
Either way, now that I'm back in the land of melon bread and adequately-priced food2, I can enjoy downtime with the people and puppies that matter most to me.