Friday, October 21, 2011

Nintendo Orientation

As a newly appointed permanent employee (oxymoron for 2011) of Nintendo America Inc., I recently participated in a two-day orientation. All the other newbies come to Redmond from NYC, San Francisco, North Bend and Kirkland and together we all go through a comprehensive ramp-up to hit the ground running as new Nintendo recruits.

The conference room we used was huge, the large conference tables were beautifully set, and there was a breakfast awaiting us on the side of the room. We were a group of nine and we were divided into teams of three with three of us at each of the large conference tables. Executives and managers took turns addressing us and providing information about their department or the company structure.

We even took a field trip to the North Bend facility where games and consoles are sent out round the globe. We had lunch with North Bend executives and managers and had the chance to ask them about North Bend activities.

We returned to headquarters in Redmond and heard more about some of the fabulously robust employee benefits and opportunities to win all kinds of prizes throughout the year.

We shared stories with our table-mates and we collaborated when competing against the other two teams – yes – we had contests that tested how much we’d been paying attention during the presentations. At the end of day one my team won the Jeopardy competition and we each received a shopping bag full of Nintendo goodies.

Upon our return to the same conference room on Tuesday morning we were greeted with a nice, red and black athletic bag that had been tucked onto each of our chairs. Our nametags had also been rearranged so that we sat with new people on the second day of our orientation.

We began with a complete tour of Redmond and I had my first glimpse of the Contact Center (reps responding to Nintendo calls, email, and correspondence) in the building next to mine. It was also my first time to see the underground parking in my building and the state-of-the-art Nintendo workout facilities. WOW.

We had a catered lunch and were joined by high-profile people that work at the Redmond campus. Again, it was an opportunity to have a 1:1 with someone that was open to questions from new employees. The person who sat at my table is someone I have seen around the building for months and months and it was so nice to finally be introduced.

The afternoon included a competition with a crossword puzzle. Each team went to a private conference room and went to work. We found that calling Nintendo employees and asking for the answer was the way to go! We didn’t win, but we had great teamwork!

We finished the day with another Jeopardy competition and we fought hard, but, alas, no win for my team.

Prior to this week, I had heard lots about the orientation and I was looking forward to it. I was not at all disappointed. It was fun and it was a fulfilling two days.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

News from Nagoya, Japan

My friend, Teresa from Lake Stevens, Washington, recently sent more pictures that describe the life she is now experiencing in Japan.

My favorite: A two-car garage!

Teresa explains that this globe-like building is the Nagoya Planetarium, the largest one in the world!

A ferris wheel!

I had asked Teresa about challenges in using her washer and dryer and in a recent email Teresa wrote:

Now, what you've all been waiting for, washers and dryers and recycling, oh my! said to the tune of lions, and tigers and i said a while back, our washer and dryer are from Germany. l am most grateful to have them, but they really try my patience. For some strange reason, they almost never work on the first try, especially the washing machine, so I have to keep pushing the buttons which can get frustrating after several tries-I swear between the washing machine and stove, I am going to have arthritic fingers by the time we go back home. The dryer takes at least 2 hours to get everything dry, even though I do very small loads, therefore if I want to keep up with the dirty laundry, I have to take care of it just about every other day or so. Unfortunately I often get behind then I spend hours doing it. Oh well.

I was also curious about recycling in Japan and Teresa said this:

As for recycling, which my friend Cynthia asked about, things have to
be sorted into 6 different bags-burnables, which is basically food refuse, paper, plastic, bottles, cans and non-burnables. We have 3 large containers into which we put different colored plastic bags and that is how we sort things. The non-burnables get picked up once a month, things like pots, glass, electronics, etc. and everything else gets picked up twice a week. I refuse to keep the stinky garbage inside, so it sits outside our door in its own container. I hide it under a tarp when we have company ;-) On pick-up day we have to put the burnable trash under crow nets. I wondered what those were when I first heard about them. Well, the garbage goes out in bags, not in their containers, and if it does not get put under the nets, the crows come and make a big mess. They have managed to make holes in the net so they still sometimes get into bags. They are determined, they are huge and they seem to know the value of teamwork!!!

Teresa and Steve ate at a teppanyaki restaurant that was pricey and short on the food portions.

Teresa gets around Nagoya and comments:

I went to feed the cats in Meijo Park this morning. Saw more than ever but Poco, the one that was injured, was nowhere to be found. He was improving a lot the last 2 times I saw him so hopefully he was asleep or maybe someone took him home. Last week when I was coming home from teaching in Sakae, I saw a family of beautiful kittens with their mama near our subway station. There was a huge crow hanging around trying to attack one of the kitties so I hung around and chased it away until the kittens went for cover. Dang crows!
The little red bike that takes Teresa on sight-seeing trips.

Teresa in a cooking class.

A farmer in her field.

Rice drying.

Thank you for sharing, Teresa!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Seattle Sounders Fan Appreciation Night

I love Nintendo! Back in June Mike and I were lucky enough to watch a Seattle Sounders professional soccer match with the New England Revolution from the deluxe Nintendo suite at Century Link field.

Oh, la, la…we were spoiled with high-end snacks and beverages – not to mention the view.

The stadium view from the entry onto the suite level.

Our view from the suite.

And it was in August that I saw a Nintendo announcement offering Sounders tickets for Fan Appreciation Night – and only $10 a ticket. I ended up getting 5 tickets – for Mike, me and 3 friends. The game was Saturday night and traffic into Seattle was predicted to be a mess with the 520 bridge closed. Mike and I decided to take the bus and enjoy the ride into the city.

We got to Pioneer Square just after 5:00 and went to the Central Saloon for a beer. It was nice and crowded, but we found two bar stools at the bar. We had some French fries and then wandered over to the stadium.

Our seats were on the three-hundred level – which mean we’re covered – but it’s also a long climb up to our seats! Unfortunately, Mike took a bad fall on the steps and I doubted he could sit in that seat the whole match. We found Cheryl, Pat and Kevin and we all sat down.

We watched the “pageantry” although we weren’t always sure what was happening. The game was really loud with all the fans in a packed stadium - lots of fans cheering their hearts out.

By half-time Mike’s fall was taking a toll and he was in a lot of pain. We packed up and headed for the bus. Luckily, we waited a very short time and the bus whizzed us home.

The Sounders ended up beating San Jose 2-1, and Mike was better on Sunday and hopefully he’ll continue to improve!

Friday, October 14, 2011

New Laptop & Old Wireless Connection

For my new old job at Nintendo of America Inc. I got a brand-new laptop! Yep, my IT guy took away my workstation and left me with a pretty Dell laptop. That was over a week ago.

The first day I got my brand-new laptop I took it home with me. I wanted to test the wireless connection and VPN account to make sure I could connect to the internet and to Nintendo’s network from home.

At home Mike has a laptop and I have a laptop and we share a wireless connection through Comcast with a dual modem/router. We’ve had this set-up for more than a year and a half. And it always worked fine. Until I brought the brand-new laptop home from work…and I had to remember the Network Key (password). I dug out my old notes from when we originally set up our network a year and a half ago. And I saw the password that I had written down. So I tried using the password to hook up my brand-new laptop from work into my home wireless network.

Ahhh…but just to make life interesting, the password didn’t work. Subsequently, over the next few hours I tried various passwords and made numerous attempts to simply change my password. (I set up the network – why can’t I change the password??)

Oh and did I mention that I no longer have an IP address on my personal laptop? How in the world did that happen?


Since that time I have tried novel ideas like trying to ping my personal laptop for the IP address or disabling my network and then attempting to re-install the wireless network software. And poor Mike got on a call with Motorola (manufacturer of our modem/router) for hours…they suggested he call back when he was ready to shell out $30/hr to talk to a Tier II rep who would not be allowed to “run” to our laptops to do the troubleshooting. That could get pricey.

So I plan to sit down Saturday morning and take a fresh shot at figuring it out on my own. OR if that doesn’t work out in the first hour I think I’ll call Moto…wish me luck.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Mike's Birthday Adventure #2

Last week I wrote about Mike’s birthday present tickets to the Seahawks football game. Today I want to tell you about our second little adventure – a jet boat tour at Deception Pass.

Deception Pass is about 95 miles north and west of Seattle. The Deception Pass Bridge (actually two twin bridges) hooks Whidbey Island to Fidalgo Island and is host to Deception Pass State Park. The Deception Pass Jet Boat Tour takes off from the little marina on Cornet Bay Road and provides a one-hour tour through the salt waters of Deception Pass.

So Saturday morning we jumped in the truck – with gloves, hoodies and umbrellas – the forecast was rain, but heck we live in Seattle – and off we went. In about an hour and a half we got to Deception Pass and found the marina.

Here is our boat coming into the marina.

It’s an unusual boat with several seats in the front, the captain’s wheel in a funky wheelhouse and the jet in the back.

It was a small cruise and the other family even brought their little doggies bundled up in doggie coats!

Our gloves came in handy, but it didn't rain on our boat tour - not even a drop.

Here is the view of the twin bridges from our seats on the boat.

These folks climbed into a prohibited area and were sitting on a precarious ledge.

I thought it was weird how the trees grew right out of the rock.

Here’s a view of the bridge from below – a view I’d never seen before.

One out of the Pass area, the Captain turned it up and we headed west at a fast clip! We saw great blue heron perched on tall, green trees. We also saw harbor porpoise breaching the surface in their playful way. Although we didn’t see any bald eagles, the Captain did point out a huge eagle nest in one of the trees. He explained that the eagles mate for life and keep the same nest year after year. We also saw a harbor seal poking his head out of the water and checking us out. But alas – once again - no orca whale sightings. Maybe next year…

All too soon our hour was up and we headed up to the park to check out the vista from the bridge. And that’s when I discovered I have a bit of acrophobia (height aversion). It really made me feel weird as I was walking across the bridge trying to get the perfect picture of Deception Pass.

I couldn’t even make it to the middle of the bridge – which was about where these tiny people are in this picture.

But here are two fairly good shots of the Pass. The water is an intense emerald green that is not reflected well in my pictures.

We finished the adventure with a late lunch at The Corner Bar and Grill, on Highway 20, not too far from the state park.