Osaka to Tokyo
of a French girl when she traveled to Japan;
Coda, Continued from: Fun
presented myself for the interview in the morning on Monday. I was a
bit nervous since I saw a whole bunch of smart looking men and women
running around and I was not sure if I would be able to match their
abilities. I was yet to have a proper professional job.
Working at the local bookstore during summer did not really count,
I guess. My interviewer was a
middle-aged gentleman who reminded me of my uncle, and that helped me
relax a bit. He asked the usual questions that I had prepared for
and he did not seem impressed even though I answered those confidently.
I wondered if it was because of his limited English language abilities.
He asked me what I wanted to do and I honestly told him that I
really would like to use my background in French art and also learn about
Japanese art. I did not want to disclose at this stage that I wanted
to be in Tokyo more than anything else.
did not completely understand if I was doing well or not but he called
someone after a while.
A middle-aged lady materialized in our room.
This lady gestured me to follow her and she brought me to another
conference room where I was offered a cup of coffee.
indicated to me that they had been looking for an experienced person to
fill the job. This position required someone who was bilingual and
had more than a casual interest in arts. What was extremely
important, however, was several years of experience in organizing arts
exhibitions on a global scale. They had been searching desperately
for such an individual but have had no success. She asked I if I
would be willing to be considered for such a position as a trainee. I would be paid less than they would have paid if they had
found the type of candidate that they were seeking but if I proved myself,
I could rise fairly quickly. This proposition did appear
overwhelming to me but all I could say was, "I am willing to try and
I will do anything to make it a success. I realize that I do not
have the experience to show but I do not mind learning as I go".
The answer pleased the lady and she suggested that she would call me later
if everyone in the organization would be receptive to the
idea of taking
me as an Executive-in-training for six months and then hire me full time if
I proved to be competent during this period.
the time I reached home during the mid-afternoon, there was a message on
the answering machine for me. I had been asked to go for the second interview the next day with another group of executives.
When I told Yumiko, she
could not believe what I was able to do. She immediately guessed
that I must have done an excellent job at the interview. It was
expected that there would be one or two French museum executives at the
second round of interviews. Yumiko suggested that it would be good
to introduce me to Yayoi, her old boyfriend, just to give her an idea of
interacting with Japanese people in a formal setting so that I would not
feel intimidated. Yayoi and Yumiko were still good friends though
she was mad at him for dating two other women while she was madly in love
liked the idea too and readily agreed to go out for dinner again.
Since we wanted to spend more time talking rather than being in a wild
place, Yumiko chose a traditional restaurant this time. Yayoi looked
like a big flirt from the start since he treated me as if he had known me
for ages. While I was getting used to such attention from Japanese
men, it did take a bit of time to get used to a
He gave me some tips on meeting senior executives at the museum and
suggested that I should just try to be me.
to look as serious as I could for this set of interviews. Dark blue
business suit and a black briefcase did make me look a few years older
than I actually was, but I still had to overcome my lack of any real
experience. When I presented myself at the reception, I was told
that I was scheduled to meet Kobayashi, Exhibition Manager, Tanaka,
Creative Director, and LaCroix who was visiting from
was surprisingly friendly to me and I did not have much difficulty in
impressing him. He himself did not speak any French but had traveled
to France many times. His
main responsibility was to coordinate relations with museums and galleries
in Japan. If hired, I would be working closely with him.
Tanaka looked a little bit weird to me but he was a quiet man who did not
speak much. He asked brief questions to me about my interests in
art. It seemed that he was not necessarily interested in evaluating
me as a colleague but had agreed to meet me simply because it was required
came as a shock to me. I had expected a middle-aged person but was
presented with someone who was less than 25. He wore a dark gray
suit and looked perfectly at ease in Japan. After pleasantries,
asking me about my background, my interests, he wanted to learn more about me
as a person - what did I enjoy doing for fun, where would I want to go for
vacation, which book had a lasting influence on me, and if I would
like to live in Japan for a few years. I gave him honest answers
about these questions. Of course, I would love to go to Okinawa for
a long vacation but could not say that I would want to live there.
My favorite book was "Sophie's World" and gardening was favorite pastime.
It seemed from LaCroix’s expressions that he was more fascinated,
rather than impressed, by me. I was not sure what to make of it, though I had made every
effort to look as serious and professional as I could.
was not sure if LaCroix had more than professional interest in her.
He had been in Japan for more than a year, spoke some Japanese, and was
extremely handsome. I thought that Japanese girls would be at his
feet every day. After meeting
Yayoi last night, I guessed that LaCroix too probably had made love to every
girl in Tokyo. Why would he be interested in a French girl who was
in Tokyo for the first time in her life? At the conclusion of my
interview, he asked if I really wanted to work for them since this would
mean leaving Osaka, working long hours in a city that would be new to me,
and expectation that I would pick up Japanese language fairly quickly. I knew
the answer and responded as I had practiced it in my mind a dozen times.
"I am willing to do my very best if I am given this opportunity.
A job with you is a dream job and the timing is perfect too," I said
with a smile. LaCroix responded that he was very interested in
hiring me and would like to make an offer to me after discussing with
other team members.
obviously overjoyed. I did not care what they paid; what was
important to me was that I had a job, and a good one too.
Even in my wildest imagination I did not think I could work in one
of the most famous museums in Tokyo.
As I got out of the interview, tears rolled down my eyes and as I
walked to the train station, I grabbed a payphone and called my parents.
Mother was overjoyed but only for a while. When she realized what it
meant to our family, she sounded a bit sad. I was too excited to
even feel anything right away. I could not even fully understand if
I was sad or happy.
Next part: Home spa in Tokyo
How to be like the French women?
Job interview outfit
How to age like a French woman
Tokyo Sonata movie review