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All about me!

Hello!

I’m Gregg. I get called Greggman or GMan or GT and I’m sure other things I probably don’t want to know.

This page isn’t really all about me. I think this page is probably one of the first pages I made for this website in 1997 when it was just about 7 pages of random stuff. If you really want to know about me just read more of the site and I’m sure you’ll get some idea of me. A few places to start might be Games-O-The-Greggman and although this is probably embarrassing, my dating page.

For the past 6 years I’ve been living in Tokyo Japan learning Japanese. I’m currently working at Sony Computer Entertainment Japan and was a programmer on LocoRoco for the PSP.

I’ve been programming videos games since 8th grade. Professionally I’ve been doing it over 23+ years. Sometimes I think it’s time to try something else but so far I haven’t been able to figure out what. I know making games inside and out.

I like creating things. Programming is like having a robot construction set. You get to build something and it actually moves and does something. Of course sometimes only a programmer can see or imagine the wheels turning inside the code but still it feels good to be creative so often.

Previous "About Me" Page

  • CryLuna
    A little envy?

    you seem to have done with your life exactly what i am aiming to do. become a games programmer. move to Japan…

  • Colin
    Finding a space in Tokyo

    Dear Greggman,

    I just read your account of trying to find an apartment in Tokyo. A friend forwarded it to me because I`ve been going through a similar experience. It was comforting to read that you had as much trouble as I did and probably saw more places than I did before landing a suitable room. I also found a lot of the rooms and areas I saw depressing. My heart would just sink when the real estate agent showed them to me. I couldn`t imagine living in such conditions for a whole year (by the way, I was also shown a fantastic apartment with an incredible view that was too close to a major street. Luckily, I turned it down before moving in). My Japanese friends didn`t know what I was talking about and just assumed I`m a spoiled American. I don`t think so, though. Japan is an affluent country, but in many ways even ordinary middle class life here is sub-standard when compared to North America, Australia, and much of Europe. It`s funny that though young Japanese travel so much these days, they aren`t aware of that fact. Commuting three hours a day, for instance, seems uncivilized to me.

    Anyway, I started my search two months ago. I kept getting turned down because I`m a gaijin, even though I`m actually half-Japanese, and because many owners wouldn`t accept my guarantor, which is an educational institution. They wanted an individual Japanese to be my guarantor. Well, after two months, and a lot of worrying and instability, I`ve finally found a place in Meguro. It`s not much to brag about, but it`s clean, sunny, quiet, and spacious enough even though it`s only a one room apartment on the first floor.

    I also read other parts of your site. It`s difficult to tell what happened when. For example, are you still in Tokyo, or did that happen several years ago and you`re now in LA? If you`re still in Tokyo that would be cool.

    Best,

    Colin

    colin.smith@yale.edu

  • http://blog.greggman.com greggman
    Spoiled American

    Acutally I think the issue is less that the places are small and more that Tokyo is expensive.  If you just move a little ways out it gets cheaper quick.  A couple of my friends got a 3 story 3LDK for 110000yen a month in Hibarigaoka.  On the express that’s only 15 minutes from Ikebukuro.

    As for me, at the moment, Nov 11, 2003, I’m still in Tokyo trying to figure out if I’m staying or not (ie, looking for a job).

  • Tadashi
    Jobs?

    Reading your site is like re-living my life —

    Getting into games in the 8th grade in ~1980

    summer intern at MicroProse

    contract game porting programming job in college

    Lived in Takadanobaba and Hiro 1993-2000.

    In Japan working for video game company (we were partnered with Sega and their PowerVR work at one point)

    anyhoo, my question, if I may, is simply how is the general job market looking for 30-something programmers in Tokyo?

    I left Japan in 2000, but have been thinking of trying my luck there again, 10 years older if not wiser — of course things have probably continued downhill in Japan, but my thinking is it will turn around in Tokyo before it will turn around here…

  • http://blog.greggman.com greggman
    Update

    Man, I really need to update that page above don’t I :-p

    IMO the Japanese game industry sucks ass to work for.  Compared to America the work conditions suck.  You’re all cramped into rooms like this.  You have to work until 11:30pm every night or you will make no friends at work etc.

    On top of which compensation sucks.  Japanese companies pay less then 1/2 on average of what American companies pay.  Sure Japanese taxes are lower but living in Tokyo is more expensive.   For example the MOST you can make at at least 2 MAJOR Japanese game software companies is 6,000,000 yen.  That’s about $50K.  That’s the MOST you can make as it’s an official limit of those companies.  Most employess make less than 2/3rds of that.

    There’s also generally an age limit for 35yrs old.  After that you can’t get in unless you are a manager.  That might partly explain the low salaries.  1/3rd to 2/3rds of all Japanese under 30 live at home with their parents so they don’t need the same level of income since their rent and food is taken care of.

    But, Tokyo is a pretty cool place so it’s up to you if it’s worth the sacrifice or not.  I’m still trying to figure that out myself

    If you really want to have fun in Tokyo you either need to come when you are really young and don’t mind living like a college student sleeping on your floor in your studio apartment.  Or you need to get an American company to send you over and set you up with an expat package where they give you an American type of apartment for $5K a month and pay you an American size salary and your entire stay in Tokyo is one big party.

  • Tadashi

    yeah, that’s the general fear I have, 36 is too old to pound the pavement a 2nd time . . . you’ve been in Tokyo since I left in 2000 . . . is the general employment situation getting better or worse in your estimation? I’ve been thinking of switching careers from game/3D to general network / commerce programming . . . I hear Okinawa is beginning to bubble as a tech incubator place, maybe I will check that out instead of Tokyo. My #1 hate in life is gokiburi though.

    I first taught conversational english for 2 years 1992-1994, that was fun but I fear I’m only remembering the good parts and not the really lame stuff that I soldiered thru. Maybe the internet adds to the job these days — back in the day just getting a month-old Newsweek was a major coup lesson-wise.

  • http://blog.greggman.com greggman
    networking/commerce

    is better as far as jobs go.  For one, tons more companies need that kind of stuff. I’m not sure how to sell myself into that field though or if I want to.

    The internet helps and hurts.  It’s easier to find a job I think but if your reason for coming to Japan is to learn Japanese the net makes it very easy to get by without Japanese.  I can read English several hours a day.  11 yrs ago that was much harder to do.

  • http://www.circasixtythree.com Danielle
    Language and shoes

    I am a designer. I came accross your page looking for info on the avg shoe size in Japan. I am looking to market some old stock of womens shoes (vintage never worn) to japanese boutiques. These are veru high end couture shoes and I have 7,000 pairs! Many are VERY small. I have some marketing material that I need to translate into Japanese. Would you or anyone you know be willing to do it? I have a show in Paris the first week of October and 50% of the buyers are Japanese! So I would need it very  soon-in about a week.

  • Tiff
    Reply to Danielle
    Hi Dannielle,
     
    Read your comment to greggman, many I can help? Besides, Do you think about market those old stocks to HK and Taiwan markets? Average shoes size here are 34, 35, 36.
     
    I can be contacted by pakning(at)gmail.com
     
    Dear greggman,
     
    Sorry to trouble but wonder if you can pass this message to Danielle just in case she skip my comment or pls let me know her email contact. I worry leaving words directly on her brand web site may cause her trouble.
     
    I am a merchandiser working in fashion industry.
     
    Thanks & regards,
    Tiff