Off to Europe


Christmas has been incredible. All of the gifts have been given and unwrapped. Now, I am off Europe with my girlfriend and a few friends to bring in the new year. Upon my return I have a long drive back to South Carolina and a Japanese quiz waiting for me.

Enjoy the new year celebrations everyone. Happy New Year!

Another Wii-less Day


When Nintendo announced their strategy to release the Nintendo Revolution (a.k.a. Wii) as a platform that would focus on unique gameplay instead of next-generation graphics and sound, I knew it would be the console for me, casual gamer with a Nintendo-upbringing. What I didn’t know is that it would truly be the console for everybody, or at least apparently.

This past Sunday was spent stalking Target from the wii-hour of 5:00am only to find out they had 12. I think we were about #60ish in line. Oh well. Another wii-less week. Though this week has been pretty busy and tiring so I don’t think I would have had much time to play it – it is still becomine a quiet obsession of mine.

All in all, it was fun hanging out with Don and Linda outside, watching crazy people run around in nothing more than pajamas and a towel or wrapped up in sleeping bags that were made in the 70s.

Pythagora Switch

My colleague pointed out an excellent video today of NHK’s ピタゴラスイッチ, a Japanese television children’s education show that has some excellent setups of Rube Goldberg devices. Now I’ve seen a few interesting Goldberg devices in my life, but this seriously took it to the next level.

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This entry in Wikipedia gives a little more background.

One Down, Two To Go

Well, it’s official. Global Finance has finished today with the exam I completed not more than two hours ago. By far, learning international finance has been the most difficult topic within the program. The past week has been spent studying and focusing my efforts in order to truly understand the concepts, not just the calculations. I now feel I can watch CNNFN with an excellent understanding of what is driving international business today. Very powerful.

One downfall now is that we are so focused that everyone is in study-mode in the afternoon. We’re being constantly shelled this week, relying solely on the frail bunkers of our minds and each other for protection. Coming into class to take an exam and leaving at different times leaves little time for salutations and goodbyes. I’ve met some truly amazing people in this program, many of whom have opted for the two-year language tracks. I will always remember my peers in this track as I will most likely only see them again through world travels. Best of luck to all of you and enjoy your language study and internships in Germany, France, Brazil, Mexico, Spain, and more.

Moving forward, I anticipate focusing on Japan and writing more on what this blog is truly about.

Good Music to Get You Through


Music, ahhhh music. My place of solice when it comes to numbing the mind.

This last week of the semester is killer. International Finance is kicking my butt, and I know I’m not alone. Fortunately, I’ve found some solice in some excellent music. Last year I opened a account and I only just recently spent about 2 hours going through music of people that have similar tastes with me. Combined with some great recommendations from Saya-san, I’ve got what I feel is the quintessential soundtrack to December. Check out what I’m listening to:

  • Say Hi To Your Mom – This guy is excellent. I may have heard one song before but Saya turned me on to his website earlier today which has at least three songs from each album. Excellent winter music.
  • TV on the Radio – I have trouble describing these guys. Noisy, organic, loud, a little like Peter Gabriel with synths. Preview their songs on here.
  • Dinosaur Jr. – Nearly forgot about these guys until recently. Going back to the album, “Where You Been”. Incredible.
  • Marxy – An american-expat I believe (not sure), living in Japan. Great writer and surprisingly good musician. You can his latest for free here. If you are curious, check out his blog too. Inspired me to become a better writer.
  • The Futureheads – English rock, but good. A bit like obscure Devo and the clash. Some people may not like this but I find it refreshing. Not many English bands like this put so much emphasis on vocals. Catchy lo-fi tunes done right.

If you’ve got some recommendations, please end them my way. If you want to keep up with what else is going on in these headphones, look in the column to the right. Enjoy!

9 Weekdays Remaining

There are only 9 weekdays left until the end of the semester. Though I feel very good about many of the papers just handed in as well as upcoming exam in international finance and managerial accounting, I feel thoroughly and utterly drained. This program has been a physical challenge as much as a mental one.

We have just finished an excellent case on Lufthansa and foreign currency hedging options available to multi-national corporations. Jorge A. Bermudez, President and CEO of Citibank’s Commercial Business Group spoke to our class today. It is truly awe-inspiring what affect a global company can have on countries in today’s global capital markets. We heard some great source stories about currencies crisises across the globe from the 1970s through the Argentinian crisis in 2002. It was also interesting to hear his thoughts on Japan and the future competitiveness of the United States. Either way, I’m going to have to watch Commanding Heights all over again now.

Two group meetings later, I’m home and ready to go to bed. But at nights, I always find my mind racing with new information. I think the real challenge of getting this MBA is not learning the information, but properly applying what I have learned after I complete the degree. We have gained so many tools and experienced so many things. Now, like a kid in a candy story, I find my mind exploring infinite directions threads of thought on how to apply what I have gained. It’s overwhelming.

How can foreign currency pricing help me start a business in Japan? How do leadership techniques I have learned help me become more influential in my existing work? How does culture influence ethical decision making in the MNC? What business models will benefit most from real-time decision making systems? How can lessons learned from the business models we’ve studied be applied in other industries: electronic entertainment, music, publishing?

I will be posting more as the program concludes next week and I have some time to reflect on the experiences I have had in these few short months. But until then, its time to quiet the roaring in my head. おやすみなさい。(goodnight)