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A day in the life of a Japanese ProducerVote Now!

Ben Judd, Wednesday 18-06-2008, 07:40:55

Since we're somewhat in the eye of the hurricane regarding BC news right now, I figured I would take this time and talk about my favorite subject: me!

What is it like working for a AAA Japanese company on a daily basis? Well, in short... it's good and bad -- like just about any other company.

Here is a typical day in the life of Ben Judd:

7:40 AM  -- My cell phone alarm blares in my ear informing me that my short 5 hour nap is done.

7:50 AM  -- My cell phone again kindly informs me that I am running late and do, indeed, need to get my butt outta bed.

8:20 AM  -- I have showered and soaped all my fiddlesticks parts, thrown on one of my several Capcom-logoed* shirts, and rushed out the door to meet my fine co-worker Gearoid at the station.

*POWER TIP: Did you know that Ben Judd has more Capcom-logoed shirts than any other Producer? Yes, he is cheap bastard and as they say... "A free shirt is a free shirt!"

8:40 AM -- We usually arrive at Tenmabashi station around this time and head toward the office. It's a 15 minute hike from the station to the company which gives us 5 minutes to run into Seven-Eleven (R). For those of you who have not been to a Japanese convenience store, it is truly one of the most convenient things about Japan (that and the vending machines on EVERY BLOCK). There is a fine assortment of breakfast pastries, rice balls (yes, I said balls), pasta, bread, vegetables, sandwiches, dried squid, just about every drink you could imagine, magazines, toys, games, and yes, my personal favorite snack: "Creamy Chocolate Collon". Alas, since I am on a diet, I grab a yogurt and fruit and vegetable drink and am on my way.

9:00AM  -- So we slide into the office past the security guards who are probably about 70 years old, so just think of all that wisdom they have! As soon as I enter the 6th floor, it hits me. The room is hot as hell. I don't know if the powers that be are having a nice laugh at my expense, but it seems that Japanese women have a body temperature 10 degrees lower than me (or maybe I'm just a hot-blooded sex-machine). The end result is that even though if feels like 100 degrees inside, the female assistant staff always turn off the air-conditioning. Since Japan is a country where the people avoid direct confrontation* instead of asking the staff not to turn off the air-conditioning, I am forced to do the ninja walk over to the air-conditioning control panel and turn it back on. After about 30 minutes, the assistants realize what has happened and then return the favor by stealthily turning off the AC when I am not looking.

*POWER TIP: Did you know that Japanese are so anti-confrontational that it ultimately gave birth to a special kind of arcade fighting machine in which 2 units are linked together and placed back-to-back so that when you are fighting an opponent you cannot see them because they are on the other side sitting at a different unit? Fighting games where you stand side by side to fight are less common and usually only exist in places where space is extremely limited.

I "clock in" to our online attendance system (ah, feels like I am back in grade school) and check my e-mail.

9:05AM  -- Although I am pretty much checking e-mail from home until about 11PM or midnight, I am always shocked by the fact that I have already received about 50 new e-mails in the span of 8 hours (how did people get by without e-mail when everything was done by phone?).

9:10AM  -- I prioritize all e-mails and phone calls that are pertinent to the US since most of the staff will be gone by 11AM Japan time. Basically the clock is ticking and I have 2 hours to get the job done.

9:40/9:50AM  -- Around this time, I have cleaned up the high priority e-mails and realized that, in fact, 5 hours of sleep isn't a lot... and I am damn tired. So I whisper over the partition to Gearoid and ask if he wants coffee or not. Usually the answer is "yes" but sometimes he stabs me in the back by going with tea. Tea is available on the 6th floor but we usually end up going to the 16th floor for coffee. The 16th floor is my old stomping grounds. It's where the Localization team* found its place and where I managed the team for 2 years. Although the ceiling is tall, I would swear they have tiny asbestos particles floating through the air.

*POWER TIP: Did you know that Capcom Japan is one of the only Japanese publishers to house a full on-site European Localization team? The other one being Square-Enix.

Since nothing is free in the company, we end up taking turns when buying the group coffee that everyone shares. Which usually works out fine unless Jon buys some strange kind of coffee which tastes like saw dust and apparently gives Gearoid migraines.

10:00AM  -- After some chatting with the Localization team guys (who we will definitely get more of on the podcast soon), Gearoid and I are back to the sweat shop that is the 6th floor.

11:30AM  -- After doing some more hard e-mailing and phone calls, the call of nature... or rather breakfast, hits me and I go looking for a toilet. Only problem is that there are only 2 sit-down toilets per floor and about 50 people per floor. You do the math. In the end, sometimes I have to go 4 floors up to find an open stall.

12:00PM -- When noon rolls around it is crazy. Pretty much every office in the area has lunch from Noon to 1PM so anywhere you go is packed with people. Unless you get there early, you usually have to wait. So we do the mad dash out the door and usually eat at one of several "regular" places:

A) Japanese curry - Yours for the low price of 5 bucks! Quite filling.

B) The cafeteria - Yes, Capcom has its own cafeteria where you will spend about 4 bucks and can choose from one of 3 different dishes including the "President's curry" which is apparently made from the President of Capcom's own home recipe.

C) The river place - It's a very unstable looking bright yellow restaurant that hangs out over the river. While looking at a bunch of 3-eyed mutant fish in a dirty greenish river may not sound like your cup of tea, it's actually one of my favorite places to go.

D) Peggy-Sue's Ramen Noodles - The perfect blend of hot country girl and tasty Chinese noodles can be yours for about 5 bucks!

E) Indian Curry - Like Japanese curry... but better! (and more expensive)

F) Sunrise Cafe - Serving more ethnic greats like Mexican Pilaf.

G) Convenience store - Why eat out when you can eat in!

12:30PM  -- Lunch is quick and we usually get back with about 30 minutes to spare. Being the huge fan of Street Fighter Alpha 3 that I am, I run upstairs and play SFA3 for about 30 minutes before returning to the 6th floor again.

1:00PM  -- The second half of the day has begun but when you think about it since we usually work until 9PM or so, the day has just begun!


Since this post has already gotten much longer than I imagined (gawd, I am such a complainer), I'll continue the second half of a typical day in my life in another blog post!

Comments welcome!



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