And so I have turned 27 years old, and it’s my 7th year in Japan.

Having graduated from university 2 years ago, I should be working and living a fairly comfortable life now, if I had chosen the normal path- the normal path of a university graduate with excellent academic record for almost all his life, rich wealth of experience and a fairly good working attitude.

But fortunately or unfortunately, I chose to take a different path.

People of my age are racking up successes in their careers, or at least are building up work experience, as they watch their bank balance soar. I am quite the opposite- having switched jobs too many times in the past 2 years, I don’t really have credible work experience (though it depends on how I perceive it), and my savings are gradually going down instead, as I struggle to make ends meet doing part-time.

Don’t worry, it is not as bad as it sounds. I am pretty sure the not-too-common experiences I am slowly accumulating now will come to use in the future. Besides, I am enjoying my life at the moment, though financially unstable.

“So, Dennis, what are you doing now?” is probably the most commonly asked question when I meet up with friends. So it’s time to update everyone about what I am currently doing.

1. Entering Graduate School in Tokyo in October- Yes, that would be the next milestone. I thought of going to Europe or US for graduate studies but since I am financially incapable of doing so, I shall stay put in Japan at least for the next 2 years. Looking forward to it.

2. Working Part-Time at a Singapore Restaurant- This is probably one of the things I can be really proud of: introducing and serving Singapore food to Japanese and other foreign customers. Although it can be very tiring physically sometimes, it is always a joy to watch customers enjoy eating Singapore food, listen to conversations about their experiences in Singapore or join in their conversations as a Singaporean. Another plus is that the restaurant is located in the high class district in Tokyo where celebrities and stylish people roam. It is just a joy to be working there.

3. Translation work for aeru- aeru is a company that I have been closely working with since 3 years ago. They are a start-up company by a lady 1 year younger than me, but with an atrociously huge vision and determination to revive the dwindling Japanese craft industry. She and her company have become hot topics in the media recently as they watch her joining forces with the Japanese craftsman all over Japan, create novel and useful products that can be used in our modern daily lives. I am certain that they will continue to grow, perhaps overseas in the near future. I have been helping them with translating their catalogues, websites and other documents into English, and perhaps opening them up to the world!

4. Internship at Peace Boat- Not just yet, but I will be doing internship at a Japan-based international NGO called Peace Boat. They are actively involved in peacekeeping efforts, sustainable development and other related projects. It would be a great experience interning over there!

5. Last but not least, I will be organizing a trip to Tohoku (where the earthquake and tsunami struck 3 years ago) with 10 people from 10 different countries. I have been to Tohoku several times, and witnessed their growth, especially their revitalization efforts involving women and young people. They have also gained attention in terms of sustainable development as they are experimenting with new technology and management systems.

I will be doing a crowd-funding project to fund this trip starting next week. In a sense, it is to fund our transport and accommodation in the 2 Days 1 Night trip, but more importantly, it is to bring attention to the developments in Tohoku, which I believe has great potential in leading the developments of new technology, businesses, mechanism and structure of agriculture, fishing and disaster prevention.

The crowd-funding project will be targeted at the Japanese, but you are more than welcomed to support us!

That is all for now. Till then, let’s enjoy the World Cup!

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