Having spent a week in Seoul, a new and exciting world for me, I was – given that I'm half-Japanese – just a little relieved to set foot on familiar Japanese soil after a short flight. I was able to identify the meals on the menus and communication with the bus driver was also unproblematic.
The hotel was very close to the Imperial Palace, so as I looked out my window I could see both joggers – who were disregarding the heat outside – and a breathtaking skyline.
Here, too, I received a really warm welcome on arrival. The office in Japan (like the one in Korea) seems to be a very quiet place. Dialogue takes place via e-mail – that is, until the boss has something to do outside the office! Then there is a flurry of lively discussion, people ask questions and make telephone calls, and so it is possible to get a better idea of the work people do and, most of all, it is a chance to get to know the members of the team. They are all really pleasant and obliging. Needless to say, what is particularly helpful is that I now know who the right point of contact is for which tasks and who I can e-mail in future.
The office itself consists of one large room used by both the life team (5 persons) and non-life team (4 persons + assistant). There is an extra director's office, but that is left empty because everyone sits together at two sets of tables. There's also a conference room, a small sitting area and a tiny tea kitchen.
I spent most of the time in this office, of course, although I was also taken along on visits to primary insurers. These visits were an important new experience for me and they gave me another fresh perspective on the world of reinsurance.
Even after the working day was over I was very well taken care of. In addition to the official welcoming and farewell meals, I went out almost every evening with one or two colleagues. At the welcoming meal the entire life team took me out to eat sushi.
I had imagined one or two pieces per person on a small wooden board, but I couldn't have been more wrong. The waiter brought an enormous plate with a hundred sushi items! In terms of taste, too, compared to this plate the little morsels of sushi in Germany could safely crawl back into the sea. During the meal the team members came up with a whole host of suggestions, ranging from
Let's drink shochu to
Come to the CRM Meeting to
Why don't you just get yourself transferred to Japan. While I know that some of these suggestions were meant more seriously and most of them less so, they do show me that I was well received by the staff at the office – something which I am very pleased about.
During these two weeks in Japan I have learned a great deal. I got to grips with some of the Japanese treaties and I made some premium calculations. The time passed in a flash and I found it far too short! I will undoubtedly miss Tokyo, although – after two minor tremors and one somewhat more sizeable quake – there are also advantages to being on the mainland. I felt very much at home in the office and I'm already looking forward to my next opportunity to see the team members.