I arrived on the 30th. I don't think it really hit me that the weather really would be different until I stepped off the plane and a wave of heat hit me, with me still in a sweater. On the other hand, I've quickly become used to the fact that I am wearing a t-shirt in January.
The past week I stayed at the house that a few guys in the office next door have rented for themselves. It's in a pretty tony gated community a little off the beaten path, but it was way up on a ridge and had the most amazing views of Diamond Head. The other young guys (I call them coworkers, even though they're not actually at my company, which is composed of me and the boss) are all nice enough, but I don't think we have all that much in common. I spent New Year's Eve at the W with them, and that was pretty interesting even though I knew nobody and the alcohol was too slow in getting to me. Lord, I needed way more alcohol this whole week, but ah well.
Aside from that, I spent a good part of this week traipsing all over Waikiki attempting to find an apartment. It was much more difficult and painful than I had imagined, and I finally ended up taking a 1 bedroom that was a little more than I wanted to pay, but it's a nice enough place, decent size, and in a decent location. So, apparently the thing to do for new residents of Honolulu is to move to Waikiki first, since it is near the beach and has lots of stuff to do at night, then come to hate it and then move out to a better location. I'm still on phase one, although the tourists are already grating on my nerves. Also, it feels a little odd sometimes to be out walking around by myself when everyone else is out and about with their vacation buddies or families.
Let me also say that while the weather was bad the first few days I was here (cloudy when I arrived, pouring rain on New Year's day), it is now uniformly beautiful.
As far as the job goes, the first week was pretty stressful and hectic (how many times can I use hectic in this entry?). I think I have explained this before, but we operate on Tokyo Stock Exchange hours, which in Honolulu are 2pm - 8pm, with a lunch break from 4pm to 5:30pm. My boss has hooked up a computerized reader to the prices of certain indices, so you hear this weird monotone drone throughout the day saying things like "300 shares at 570," "up 150 points," etc. To be honest, I found it really creepy at first, but now I've already started to get used to it. I was totally overwhelmed the first time I was there during trading hours (the first day I took the afternoon off to look at apartments). The computerized voice, people cursing and shouting, phones ringing, emails and Bloomberg messages and IMs pinging and dinging and ringing oh my. It felt like the control room for a war zone or something. It seems to be pretty high demand, where you have to learn how to do things quickly, and do them efficiently.
So what have I been doing on a typical day? Besides a more long-term programming project that my boss has outlined for me, sometimes I have short term programming projects thrown at me (short term meaning "get this done by the end of today"), and then there is the general shit work of the new guy, having to answer calls and send emails and check numbers and look up stock information and whatnot. My boss also wants me looking at various financial indicators throughout the day to begin to get a feel for how the markets move. I'm also getting a little better at using my Bloomberg terminal, which is connected to all sorts of financial information. I should also note that I have a pretty nice setup of 2 PCs with 4 LCDs and a big leather chair, so at least I'm stressed out in style. What with all the hubbub during trading, I've been finding it difficult to be too productive on my long term projects, so I will probably be pulling long hours just so I can work on it when the office is quiet.
So that has been the first week of Hawaii for me. Hopefully now that I have my apartment, I can start to really settle in (my car hasn't arrived yet unfortunately), and start finding a schedule and rhythm. I definitely want to check out a few Aikido dojos, and I need to start finding productive uses for my mornings, like sitting on the beach or learning how to surf or something.
The cable for my digital camera is in some box somewhere, so I will post those later.