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Swarming talent and manpower outsourcing

| business, japan, management, work

One of the posts from the Smart Work Jam about the future of team work was about the idea of “swarming talent”, a talent pool that flows in and out of projects.

That sounds almost just like the manpower outsourcing (労働者派遣業, Google translation to English) I’d learned about when I went on an AOTS technical scholarship in Japan in 2004. In Japan, it’s difficult to do large projects in one company because payroll costs would be much too high during non-busy times. So they have a very flexible structure that’s similar to using lots of contractors or collaborating with lots of companies. It is not unheard of for someone to work at Company A, get dispatched to Company B, which then dispatches the person to Company C.

It lets companies manage their manpower requirements really flexibly, but it has its own challenges. My instructor emphasized the difficulty of working out disputes or making accommodations, because of the complex coordination needed between different companies. The Wikipedia entry lists even more.

Something worth thinking about…

I think it’s absolutely fascinating that we can look at how different societies experiment with different policies or systems, and we can learn from their experiences. I think it’s also cool that something I learned in one context turns out to be useful in another. Travel is tough, but being able to connect the dots makes it worthwhile…

Learning Japanese? Here are some useful resources

| japan, japanese, learning

One of my friends is planning to learn Japanese, so I thought I’d put together some tips for him and for other people.

If you’re planning to learn Japanese, I have some Japanese-related bookmarks on that you might find useful. =) You might also want to check out what other people have bookmarked for japanese+language.

I particularly recommend this quick and dirty guide to Japanese, Jim Breen’s WWWJDIC and the example sentence search. You can download the examples file from the FTP server for totally awesome local lookup. I wrote some code in Emacs to make this easier (and to insert random taglines into my blog posts =) ).

Good luck and have fun!

Watched kabuki

| japan

Watched one act of a kabuki play at . It
was _beautiful_. Props to dagbrown for that excellent idea. Also, had
very unhealthy but fun food—deep-fried buffet.

Karaoke with Dave and Tony

| japan

Did most of my packing today. The big suitcase is jammed with
souvenirs and the little suitcase will contain electronics. I’m
shipping my clothes home by sea mail, as there is simply no way I can
get them to fit into my original luggage.

Had fun doing karaoke with Dave and Tony. Must must must practice
more. Eyes on Me is high, so I need to turn down the volume if I’m to
hear my voice…

Hour passed by so quickly! Mrph.

Looking forward to doing karaoke with my friends once I get back to
the Philippines.

Chatted with Tony on the train ride back. He told me a little bit
about engineering in UP. We swapped notes on Japan. I gave him Super
Lemon and he totally freaked. <laugh> Looks like an interesting
guy, although not as geeky as my other friends. Should look into
introducing him to the rest next time he goes to the Philippines.

Travel plans

| japan
  • TKC to Kita Senju
  • Kita Senju to Nippori (arrive by 7:00)
  • Nippori (Keisei Line Sky Liner, 7:07) to Narita (arrive by 7:59)

Arrange for luggage pick-up by on the 23rd or 22nd

| japan
  • 1950 yen charge for 2nd piece of luggage
  • Pickup from AOTS: 9 – 12 on the 23rd
  • Pickup in airport: 3rd floor, ABC counter, near the JAL counter

Weekend plans

| japan
Bandai Museum .
Matsudo station on the Joban line. I can do this in the morning or early afternoon.
I want to drop off a pack of mangoes and a set of notebooks.
She sometimes works during weekends. However, Kobayashi-san wants to
meet on Sunday. The best time to meet Tomoko is probably Saturday
evening. After Bandai museum, I can leave for Odakyu Tama Center. It
takes about an hour and a half between that station and Kita Senju.

Ah. Hmm. So. Saturday. Wake up early and coordinate with Tomoko about
meeting her. If she has work on Saturday, I can meet her at Shinjuku
in the afternoon and go back in the evening. If not, I'll visit her
for lunch on Sunday.

At any rate, I should visit Bandai Museum on Saturday. It's closer to
Kita Senju than it is to Ueno, though, so I'll meet Dave there.


  • Wake up early and coordinate with Tomoko.
  • Go to Bandai Museum.
  • Visit Tomoko for dinner.


  • Wake up early and coordinate with Tomoko.
  • Go to Bandai Museum.
  • Go to Ueno.
  • Pass by wasuremono place just in case the hat's there.
  • Watch street performances.


  • Visit Tomoko for lunch.
  • Meet Kobayashi-san, Elaine and Len-len at Lumine at 5:00.


  • Go to Ueno.
  • Pass by wasuremono place just in case the hat's there.
  • Watch street performances.
  • Meet Kobayashi-san, Elaine and Len-len at Lumine at 5:00.