Monday, February 23, 2009


Konban wa from Bowling Green, Kentucky. I drove in last night from St. Louis (it's about five hours), and I can now say that I have proven that my GPS system works and will get me where I need to go even crossing state lines. I even figured out how to properly mount it to my windshield, which took some trial and error. I could have avoided said trial and error by reading the instruction manual, but I'm pretty sure it's in the American Male Handbook that reading instruction manuals makes you a sissy boy. And I ain't no sissy boy.

So, I'm here in Bowling Green to help with an internal audit at Kiriu USA. This is a company that makes brake components for Nissan, Subaru, and Hummer; but mainly Nissan. As you might have guessed by the name, it is a Japanese company. And it is run by real life Japanese people. This has given me lots of opportunities to look foolish as I botch my Japanese greetings, forgot to call Mr. Ikeuchi "Ikeuchi-san," botch the greeting card exchange ritual, and pretty much look like an idiot. Which they don't mind, because as far as they know there is no reason for me to know how to do all that stuff properly, even though by this point I should be able to at least exchange greeting cards properly. And, yes, there is a right way to do it. I couldn't even get the bow right.

Also, the internal audit team consists of myself, a Nigerian gentlemen who works out of the PwC office in Detroit, a Japanese gentlemen who works out of the PwC office in Tokyo, and a Japanese gentlemen who works for Sumitomo, which owns Kiriu. We make an eclectic group, tooling around Kentucky in the rented mini-van we have. However, Akira Ikeuchi, the gentlemen from Sumitomo, is a really nice guy. Granted, most Japanese people are because that culture beats it into your head from birth to be nice to people, but he bought my domestic colleague and I these nice coasters with Japanese ukiyo-e art prints on them. I noticed that all of the ones I got have Mt. Fuji in there somewhere, which is pretty cool. So, yeah, this is going to be an interesting week.

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