Everything I do on a normal day here in Kyoto is sleeping, eating and working! That’s doesn’t really sound interesting, and it’s not. Therefore, I am not really sure what I should write here in my blog. But for everyone who wants to know what I am doing at work, go for it!
So, how does a normal day look for me right now. Because I am working at the lunch and dinner shift, I am getting to bed around 1am. Therefore, I am waking up around 9:30 every day. Before starting to work I actually never do anything, expect having breakfast, watching Netflix, cleaning my room, listen to music and getting ready.
At usually 12:30am to 1:30pm, depending on when I start my shift, I am taking my uniform, get changed and clock in. We all have an identity card. We need to clock in when we start working and clock out when we are leaving. Therefore, the hotel itself can see how long you are working and if you are punctual, late or absent. Nevertheless, we need to write our working hours in a separate book as well. Just to be sure!
For lunch we are so many interns, unbelievable and mostly just a bit too much. But therefore, we have sometimes more the possibility to help the actual waiters. We have to provide little hand towels, serve the dish, change cutleries depending on the chosen menu, serve olive oil and bread, refill water, clear the plates, clean the tables from breadcrumbs, etc. It is definitely a bigger responsibility than working at the back office, where you mostly just carry out the dishes from the kitchen, organise the tea and coffee, polish glasses, folding napkins, clear the stations in the restaurant and make sure that everything comes at the right time.
At 2:30pm the kitchen takes their last order. Most of the time we can start cleaning all the tables and setting them up for the dinner time. At dinner time the restaurant is much more elegant and “fine-dining” like than at lunch time.
Around 4pm I mostly have my break until 5pm. That’s the time where we are getting our lunch/dinner in the little cafeteria. If we have time afterwards, we just chill in the changing room until we need to get ready again.
The dinner shift is definitely stressful and exhausting. Nevertheless, there are days where we haven’t many customers and we’ve been searching for work.
Me and Nelly are the only interns and from now on we are mostly working on different days. When I am off, she is working and when she has a free day, I am working. It is always more fun when you have someone else, you can work and talk together with. Especially here in Japan, we can’t really have good conversations with the other employees. It is very hard to understand what they want from us. Therefore, we just don’t even ask sometimes when we have a question, because we already now, that they will not really understand what our question is. Sometimes I just wished, that more things, like the everyday meeting before the dinner shift, would be in English. You just feel more like a part of the team when you actually know what’s going on.
One employee, we have to work with normally, is very … how can I say … annoying? He just talks with you non-stop for hours. Every day it’s the same shit. And you are the person who is just nodding, smiling and agreeing with him. But he is a really nice guy, even though he is super hectic and loud sometimes. The other interns complained already at the HR office about him. Since they complained, he is like a different person, not talking to anyone.
The other guy is a super control freak, never smile, never talk and never let us do anything, because he is worried, we will do something different than he would do it. But in general, everyone is really nice to us. Some evenings are really good, others could be better. I think they need to get to know us better, in order to trust and work together with us.
Because of the Sakura season more and more international guests are visiting Japan. The last few days were many Germans eating dinner at our restaurant. I was very surprised, but super happy. I have normally no one here to talk in German with. Therefore, I was very happy to speak with guests in my mother language. It is always nice to have a conversation with visitors. Most of them are very interested in my life here in Japan. It is not that usual to see a European in my age working in Japan. For one German couple I needed to translate the menu and cooperate with the actual waiter, because they didn’t speak English. As a little wow-story I presented them a plate of mignardise from Pierre Hermé with a German message made out of chocolate. They were really happy!
Every night the guest can enjoy home-made macarons from Pierre Hermé in different flavours. One flavour creation is specially made for The Ritz Carlton Kyoto, calles Jardin de Kyoto. The Macaron has a green and a purple side, which has the flavour of green tea and cherry blossom. So unique, and just the best representative flavours for Kyoto. Of course, we have the possibility to try all the different flavours from Jasmine, Chocolate, Pistachio, Rose, Caramel, Lemon, Green Tea and so on.
After we finish the service, we need to clean and set up everything for breakfast. It is always a long and exhausting day. Around 10:30 to 11pm, when I am lucky, I change again to my normal clothes, bring my uniform back, clock out and walk back to my accommodation. Nevertheless, I have to say that we never work more than 8-9 hours a day, which is not the case everywhere. Especially the morning shift has to work over hours every day. I really can’t complain about my working hours.
After work, I can’t sleep immediately when I am back in my room. I am always exhausted, but still so under pressure that I just need a bit to calm down. But then… the next day continues how the previous day ends!
From the beginning of April, I am going to change to the breakfast shift. I am hoping to learn new things and to have the opportunity to take more responsibility than at the evening. I really want to work more in service than at the back office. Working at Breakfast is definitely much busier and more stressful, but I think it is more fun as well. I will see. One thing I am not looking forward is to get up at 5am. It is going to be tough, for sure.