Jeffrey Bergier

桜 (sakura) (cherry blossoms) have come and gone this year. For the second time in the pandemic the opportunity to 花見 (hanami) (cherry blossom viewing) with friends was squashed. Luckily, the first year I was here (2019), I opted into this new, to me, activity. I’m looking forward to doing it with friends again in 2022.

My new apartment in 千代田区 (Chiyoda-ku) (Chiyoda Ward) is right near 日本武道館 (Nippon Budōkan), 皇居 (Kōkyo) (Imperial Palace), and 靖国神社 (Yasukunijinja) (Yasukuni Shrine). The 桜 here are the best in 東京 (Tōkyō) and some of the best in Japan. Although there are some very special places in 田舎 (inaka) (the countryside). But anyway, it was a good place to live to quickly check on the trees every day and watch them change over the 2 weeks or so that the season lasts.

Long time no post. Times have been quiet recently. Not much to do other than work, eat, and sleep I’m afraid. Those things have been going well. I’m quite lucky to have ended up in Japan for this pandemic where it is quite safe and be able to go out and eat delicious food has not been dangerous or hindered by the pandemic. But anxiously waiting for the slightly slower rollout of the vaccine. In the mean time I thought I would post some photos of my normal weekday work from home 👨‍💻breakfasts.

Winter is definitely over by now but I started this new breakfast routine in the new year and Winter is strawberry season in Japan. My normal breakfast now usually consists of:

  • おにぎり 🍙 (onigiri) which is a rice ball with a filling. I usually pick 鮭はらみ (sake harami) (grilled salmon) from Family Mart.
  • プレーンヨーグルト (plain yogurt) I was getting individual cups at Family Mart but I recently found this one (iMuse) at the grocery store and its so good. Not sure how to describe it but it has a much stronger dairy flavor and less tangy flavor.
  • りんごデニッシュー 🥐 (apple danish) Sometimes I can go to デパ地下 (depa chika) (department store grocery) to get a good one. But many times I just get one from Family Mart.

Optional items I like to get:

Christmas Eve lighting at the office

Great day to work from the office.

このクリスマスツリーディスプレーが1番好き。

Yesterday I randomly popped into the 丸の内 Apple Store and they had the new m1 MacBook Air. The person there said I had super lucky timing. It was the first day after launch day that they had them in stock. So yeah this will replace my 4-year-old Rose Gold 12” MacBook.

日本橋から九段下へ

I recently moved… a post to come on that soon. But for now, since its Christmas and things are lit up nicely, I wanted to share some incoherent ramblings about my commute home from work.

I work in 日本橋室町 (Ninhonbashi muromachi) near 三越前駅 (Mitsukoshimae station). The 半蔵門線 (Hanzomon line) can take me directly home from this station. But the walk to 日本橋駅 (Nihonbashi station) is really nice.

Here is 三越本店 (Mitsukoshi main store). This department store is famous and was originally founded in 1673. I don’t have much use for expensive department store goods, but I often run through the デパ地下 (department store underground food area) to get a bento 🍱 on the way home. Also, as far as I’m aware, the station is the only station in Tokyo named after a private company. There are others named after government buildings or universities but none named after companies, except for Mitsukoshimae station.

This is the view after crossing the Nihonbashi bridge. I didn’t take a photo of the bridge, but its the official center of Tokyo and has a marker to display that. Also, from here you can see the competing department store, 高島屋本店 (Takashimaya main store) (the orange illuminated one on the left).

Also, difficult to see in the photos, but my favorite part of this street is the lighting. The road is long and straight and every streetlight is illuminated on the side for a really incredible look.

The station entrance is at the first intersection in the photo and from there, I can take 東西線 (Tozai line) 6 minutes to home.

Once I arrive at 九段下駅 (Kudanshita station), I’m greeted by 専修大学 (Senshu University) and the 首都高 (Shuto Expressway). While the expressway isn’t the prettiest thing in the world, I always appreciate how the bottom of these things are not only kept clean, but kept shiny. This consistent level of cleanliness is one of my favorite things about Tokyo.

If I turn around from here, I can walk to 靖国神社 (Yasukuni shrine). And if I turn right I can walk to 日本武道館 (Nippon Budokan). And, of course, if I go straight for about 2 minutes, I end up right at home🏡.

It’s Christmas time in Tokyo 🎄

Got my mini 🤩

TL;DR

I’m really excited to announce a big change. I’ve started a new job here in Tokyo. I’ve accepted a new position at Toyota Research Institute Advanced Development (TRI-AD). I’m a product manager working on the Arene Platform. I’m super excited. I’ve always been a huge car guy and have always wanted to work in the automotive industry. This is my chance to combine my experience in product design and software development to bring big improvements to how software is developed in the automotive industry.

Full Post

Before I give more detail I wanted to briefly cover my career to date to explain why I made this change.

In university I studied Industrial Design. The program really focused on learning the design process and how to solve problems from a wholistic perspective. After university I was a UX Designer at Riverbed Technology.. There I worked on really tough problems involving complex networking technologies and device management of networks with worldwide scale. During that time I was getting involved with the iOS development community in San Francisco and teaching myself iOS development. After a few years of doing both full time I got a job as an iOS developer at Topology Eyewear. We were working with really cool Machine Learning and 3D technology and it was a great way to get my feet wet as a professional iOS developer. I left that job and San Francisco to travel for about 10 months. While traveling, I visited Tokyo and I liked it more than I expected. After I finished traveling, I was looking for jobs. I wanted a change. I wanted a bigger city than San Francisco. After a bit of searching and interviewing I had a job offer in New York and a job offer in Tokyo. Because I wanted a change and because I really liked Tokyo when I visited for 2 weeks, I decided to give it a shot.

Working at Mercari was great. I was an iOS developer working on an app with 30+ million users in a place where I was surrounded by amazing and diverse people. Everyone was so supportive there and I was able to be mentored and to mentor as well. Eventually I decided to go for Engineering Manager. I led a great team working on really cool internal tools. That said, not everything was perfect. There are many reasons I started looking for new jobs, but one of the main ones was that Mercari in Japan is a very mature product. Depending on the day you look at, 25% of the population of Japan is using the app and that doesn’t leave a lot of room left for growth or experimentation and I got a little bored.

In this time I had also really learned to love Tokyo. This place is polarizing for sure. I mean there’s the easy positive things to mention; incredibly safe, incredibly clean, best food in the world, best trains in the world, etc. There’s also the easy things dislike; incredible bureaucracy, hot-humid summers, language barrier, difficulty integrating into society, etc. But I really love it. The above things aren’t really even the reason. I mean, of course I like those things. But there is something deeper, something harder to point at that I love so much. Maybe I’ll do a post in the future to try to explain what exactly draws me to this place. Anyway, I wanted to give it more time. I learn more every day that I’m here and every day that I learn more about life in Tokyo, the more I like it.

So yeah, I accepted a product manager position at TRI-AD. Its kind of a risk because, for better or worse, companies tend to look at your resume and they want to see X number of years as Y. But instead I have worked for 8 yers in the tech industry under 4 different roles; UX designer, iOS developer, Engineering Manager, and Product Manager. But I don’t see it that way. I see it as 8 years solving problems in Silicon Valley style tech companies from many different angles. I hope, in the future, I can continue to convince prospective employers of that, instead of the traditional way of counting experience. And in any case, I see many years ahead of successful and rewarding work at TRI-AD.

As mentioned before I’m working on Arene Platform.. I can’t talk about what I’m working on exactly. But its something that combines my experience in product with my experience in developer tools experience to create something great for future developers using Arene. I started about a month ago and so far everyone is extremely talented and kind. The vibe around the office is exactly what I expect in a Silicon Valley style tech company. Everything is going smooth. The office is in the heart of Tokyo in Nihonbashi. The area is one of the nicest in the city and the office is one of the nicest in the world (I’m sure). While work from home was always an option (even before COVID), I still try to go a few hours a week just because its so nice, and I’m honestly sick of work from home. But most importantly, I’m excited again. I’m excited about what I’m working on and I’m excited to continue learning everything that is great about Tokyo.

I expect things to unfold slowly because things move more slowly in the auto industry… for very good safety reasons. But as things do unfold, I intend to provide information here. In the mean time, enjoy a promo video that shows our office and some photos I chose from the website.

Also, obligatory shoutout, we’re hiring. If you come from a non-traditional tech background or from an underrepresented community in tech and you’re passionate about amazing technology, contact me.

Sorry for the long delay in posts. I’ve been super busy. I have some big news coming soon. But for now, enjoy these photos of the bar at the top of the Tokyo Dome Hotel. It was totally empty and has amazing views. Even just the elevator ride (see video) up is worth the trip.

千疋屋のマンゴープリン🥭😋

🍈函館🦑から新幹線🚄💨で帰りまーす🗼

🌇🤩

This weekend I took advantage of the strange situation in Tokyo. The state of emergency is over and things are starting to open. But people are still cautious about going out. But also, there’s no foreign tourists. So typical tourist spots are almost empty. Enjoy some photos of nearly empty Asakusa.

Coming soon, nearly empty photos of lunch in Marunouchi building (Tōkyō station) and then coffee in nearly empty Ginza.

Mario on my Super Famicon Classic is keeping me going during “the situation.”

Whenever there is a leak in the ceiling of a Japanese train station, I always see this elaborate contraption. It definitely beats the bucket-on-the-floor and/or “Caution Wet Floor” signs I’m used to from other places.

I recently published an update to my sideproject app, WaterMe. A user of the app requested I add Italian localization… so I just replied the email asking him if he wanted to help me do that. He was very helpful and now the app has Italian localization 🎊

It was fun working on this. I’m hoping more users want to help me add localization for their language in the future.

apps.apple.com/it/app/wa…

Epic thunderstorm ⛈ tonight.

🚶‍♂️Pictures from my daily quarantine walk.

Delivery-sushi lunch with my coworkers via Google Hangouts ❤️😋

Quarantine dinner tonight

ピーマンの肉詰め

富士山、おやすみなさい。

富士山、おはようございます。

Quarantine dinner tonight

I know it’s not tasteful to post about going out right now but sorry I’m gonna do it 😋.

Today I went to Jojoen for 焼肉 (Yakiniku) lunch. It’s a fancy lunch for sure but it’s such a good lunch deal. Dinner here is ¥20,000+ but lunch is only about ¥4,000. The quality of the food is the same and it’s so delicious. This is generally a good tip for traveling in Japan. Look up the pricy famous restaurants and then go there for lunch instead of dinner; Usually a super good deal.

Also during the コロナ (Corona) situation, they’re taking super care. They fill the private rooms first, before the regular seats. I was going to say everything is spotless, but I’m sure that’s the same all the time, it’s Japan 😂. But yeah. It was as safe as could be. An almost empty, super clean, high end restaurant for lunch.

Slightly related, Shinjuku was a ghost town (photo below). I’ve never seen anything like this. It’s the busiest train station in the world. It’s always packed.