If you know who I am you know I am an avid cyclist. Outside of school, my life is nothing but bicycles. I ride everywhere I go whether it be sun, rain, wind or snow. I ride about 300 KM every week and eat about 4,000 Calories a day. On a student budget eating that much is impossible to sustain and still have money for school books, so I got a part time job in the beginning of last summer.
Unsurprisingly I got a job at a bike shop. Located in Shibuya, I get to see all the different exotic and interesting sub cultures of Japan walk through my shop. People who customize their bike to fit their outfits, others to fit their personalities, some who wish to buy the most expensive bike to look good on the cycling roads and a few serious people that taking biking to heart as much as I do.
Sometimes I don't even consider it a job because truth be told, I used to spend hours browsing the goodies in the shop before I worked there. Now I just get paid to do the same thing and talk to others about bicycles. For me, it's kinda like a dream part time job.
A downside to this job however is that I am the only foreigner in the entire company, all 50 plus stores included. So a week after I started working there, all the company workers knew who I was even though I don't know any of their names. Also if I make a mistake when selling a part or ordering something for a customer, it sticks out big time. The customer just has to say they were helped by a foreigner, no need to remember my name. I can't hide like other employees can. I feel like everything I do is scrutinized by the customer because they don't trust me. My ability in working with bikes is unquestionable! It's my Japanese language ability that puts them at unease. I can't explain things in Japanese as well as I want to so my broken and sometimes vague explanations make it sound like I don't know what I am doing even though I am 100% right.
My co-workers on the other hand are amazing!!! They help me out when ever they can, they try to teach me more Japanese and they just love to chat about anything. When being a foreigner in Japan you have to be outgoing to get anywhere. The reclusive, shy, me back in America would never be able to do what I do here but if I don't put my fears and shyness behind me, I won't get anywhere. Because I seem so out going I become good friends with all my co-workers within minutes. When I started working at the Shibuya store, I was calling a co-worker I met for the first time by a nick name within 5 minutes. Something that doesn't normally happen in Japanese companies.
There are 2 things I really like in the Shibuya store. One is this $5,000 carbon fiber racing bike that sits pretty on the shelf waiting to be ridden. I fiddle around with that bike, keeping it clean, show casing it in the store blog and taking pictures of it so much, sometimes customers ask if it's my bike.
The second thing I like in that store is a co-worker of mine. It might be somewhat cliche to have a crush on your co-worker but whatever, I have one. She's cute, funny and down to earth. Best of all she likes bikes as much as I do and love outdoor activities.
Somewhat rare to find in Shibuya among all the materialistic girls. I hate to generalize but Tokyo girls seem to be all about shopping and looking cute. When I was an English teacher, all my female students would say their hobby was shopping... Kind of an instant deal breaker for me when I hear that. I guess I should mention that my co-worker is not originally from Tokyo but from the Shikoku area country side. She only moved to Tokyo for University.
Recently I found the courage to ask her out and we have a date set! Hopefully things will go well!