About your host

Updated 10/21/2010

Welcome to an American Salaryman in Tokyo Osaka!  I’m your host, Rob (also known as ASM), a country boy from Oklahoma who has found himself on the other side of the world.

The story starts simple enough, I had an interest in foreign cultures as a kid, that lead me to learn German (it helped being a military brat and living in Germany for a few years), but it was a healthy love of games, in particular Final Fantasy, that got me into studying Japanese.  Throw some mecha anime in the mix (who remembers Robotech, the bastardized version of Macross, plus alpha?) and you’ve got a fan boy in the making.

Opportunities arose in college that allowed me to come over to Japan, first for a 2 week trip to the Kansai region to visit Kyoto and Osaka, followed by a home stay in Gifu prefecture during one winter vacation, culminating with a full year in Osaka on exchange.  At that point I was stuck on Japan, and made plans to get back here after finishing school.   JET made it easy to get in, and from there I worked my way towards Tokyo, fleeing from the English teaching world, and eventually settling on the next best thing, HR.  That put me behind a desk 70% of the time, but paid the bills.  And before you know it, I’m an American Salaryman in Tokyo. Or at least I was for about five years. The new car smell was long gone, and I had come to accept a 1 hour commute to work, but I was still living a life that probably thousands of fanboys would kill for.

Still, all things must change, and due to the lovely disaster that was the “Lehman Shock” even someone as removed as I felt the aftershocks as it rippled through the world economy.  After nearly 4 years working HR, the ultimatum came down of “take a severance package now or take your chances that we’ll let you go” Long story short, I took the money and ran.  From there, I consider myself extremely lucky that I managed to get a couple of job offers within a few months, and as a result I find myself now in Osaka.  I’ve managed to move up in my field and snag a job at a leading company here in Japan, and life got just a little bit easier.  Add in that I now work on a global scale, get to travel, and now only have a commute of 25 minutes, well, I can’t complain on how things turned out.  This does mean that with a new job comes new responsibilities, and new power (oh ho ho, yeah right) so some things may be slower on the blog side.  Still, I’ll continue to spread the love of things Japanese with blatant postings, so don’t worry!

Overall, living in Japan has cooled the otaku aspect to some degree, and I think it would for many after they have their eyes opened to the bad along with the good.  Currently, I’m more of a game/gundam otaku than an anime otaku, but I still fit in my mecha anime where I can.  Some facts about me:

  • Favorite anime: Generally mecha anime, Macross, Gundam, and the like.   Also wouldn’t mind being part of the SoS Brigade
  • Favorite Gundam series: Zeta Gundam
  • Preferred model grade:  While I prefer MG or PG, the price and quality of HG kits are also really appealing.  SD and below just doesn’t offer much of a challenge.  Anything bigger than PG starts looking too toyish (Jumbo Grade Zeta anyone?)
  • Hobbies: Music, Games, Travel, Karaoke, Photography, Reading
  • Favorite games: Everything but sports, in general RPGs and 1st person shooters
  • Favorite JP music groups: m-flo, Gackt (yes, I know, but I’ve been following him since I started studying Japanese in 2001)
  • Some concerts I’ve been to in Japan: m-flo, Gackt, Glay, Radwimps, Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra, Dragon Ash, and so on
  • Places lived in Japan: Osaka, Akita, Saitama, Kanagawa

That’s all I can think of for the time being, but feel free to ask questions.

10 thoughts on “About your host

  1. oh yeah! started with Robotech for me as well. Also Voltron and Getta Robo/Starvengers but… those are super robots and not real ones like Gundam and Macross.

  2. Guest: There are of course things I miss, food, family, friends, and the usual stuff. However, my upbringing was a fairly international one as both my parents, while American, spoke other languages due to their time abroad when they were younger. Thusly, I’ve always wanted to get out and learn other languages.

    As for salary, you’ll have to forgive me for refraining on answering that question, but it’s probably slightly above average for someone of my age in my industry. Let’s just say I have better buying power than I did when I was in college.

  3. I don’t know if I could follow your example. I wasn’t thoroughly disillusioned with Japan before I went there, but I knew it wasn’t the Nirvana that most geeks tend to think it is. Still, I was pretty freaked out. Everything was too fast and too small for a big ol’ country boy like me. I’d definitely enjoy another trip to Japan, but I probably couldn’t stay for more than a month. Of course, my experience was soured due to being given only an hour and a half in Akihabara, and then being stuck with people who ran up to the manga sections, bought books they couldn’t read, and ran out without giving me time to grab any Gunpla. ;_;

  4. I was stationed in Yokosuka for three years. LOVED IT. Did you have to give up your U.S. citizenship to stay and work there? I will retire soon and my wife wouldn’t mind if I got a job in her home country.

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