Monday, August 2, 2010

Off the Coast of Kobe

Japan has always fascinated me.

I thought they are the most organized nation and people and it never ceases to amaze me of their work ethics and efficiency. If only we could have a fraction of their traits, we would have been a developed nation by the new millennium.

We would not still be chasing a moving target, and a conditional one at that, as we are right now.

I first went to Japan in 1988 under the Japan Cooperation Centre for Petroleum (JCCP) scholarship as a rookie engineer, less than a year after leaving a cement plant to join the local national oil organization. Even tough I had been a cement plant engineer prior to that, I thought I was even quicker on my job as an oil engineer, and hence I was sent to Japan even though I have not been confirmed in the job.

Since then, I have been to Japan a few times, with stay of more than a month each time. I have grown to love the Japanese food and could survive a month without curry. But only a month, after which I would be craving for it, and would rush to Maharaja restaurant in Yokohama, even though it was many hours by the Shinkansen.

Of course many of us could not even stand the smell of the food at the plant's canteen. Not yours truly though. He would be happily devouring anything Japanese then. It was easy for him as they have lotsa of sea food meals - the udons, and the tempura especially. No maggie noodles were required in Japan.

Unfortunately I may have misplaced the pic I took while I was in Tokuyama, Hiroshima, Osaka, Tokyo, Kyoto and Yokohama - on numerous trips of course, and thought I should for the record post these picture we took off the coast of Kobe, if I am not mistaken, when I spent 2 month training and learning about oil tankers.

I have quite a few observations to tell about my stay in Japan. But that would have to wait for a while I guess.

I have no idea what a chemical engineer like me would be doing on board of oil tankers off the coast of a country with no oil resources. That year was quite a jet setting year for me as I was handling another project that would take me across the world. After 3 days of returning from Kobe, I was on another plane heading to London, United Kingdom, before taking another to cross the Atlantic to London, Ontario.

Those were the days.
Yours truly standing on the far right. The instructor, a Japanese tanker captain (forgot his name though) sitting in front of him. We were loaned these uniforms for us to use during our stay.
Yours truly on the left on a tugboat, with the instructor at the top of the pictures. I am not sure how it would feel to have to stay onboard a tanker for months. Mine was child play in that respect.

These days, it is quite quiet for this blogger. No more grand overseas trip for him. It is only trip to Kuantan, and Kerteh for the most part, or the remote part of Kalimantan to show for, and at this age, I don't chase trips anymore.

I would be more than happy to be at home for months and spend the time teaching Akmal additional mathematics and physics.

1 comment:

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