Ya Shahr al-Mubarak


To the Mizushima Refinery (owned by Japan Energy Co.), located at the small town of Kurashiki. They showed us around the process areas. Interesting fact: This is one old plant (from the 60’s), about the same capacity as Melaka Refinery but with less than half of the staff.

The refinery had TPM (Total Productive Maintenance) and they expounded on it quite elaborately. Much like our own multi-tasking, with the addition that every improvement is done in small workgroups and documented in detail for others to learn. The One-Point-Lesson Sheet is a simple but very practicable way of getting technical messange across.

Afterwards in the coach back from the refinery this Kuwaiti guy Ali didn’t agree at all with the TPM concept. “Operations are Operations and Maintenance are Maintenance, we should not be doing their work,” he said emphatically. I had quite a difficult time explaining to him that this is one of the world-class practices, and refineries which are serious in improving their business have begun to assimilate Japanese refineries in this sense. In the end after all those explainings he still wouldn’t budge. Well, some people are difficult to change.

We went to this one island located south of Kurashiki. While Kurashiki is located at the very southwest of the much bigger Honshu island, the small island is connected to the main island via a long (longer than the Penang bridge, at least this one I can tell) bridge of stunning architecture. We spent some time clicking away with our cameras.

A welcome party organised by the JE staff. Had my first taste of sushi, sashimi, tempura and other seafood delicacies. The Japanese really know how to vary their dishes with seafood!

During the party I had some chat with Ilaya from Nigeria. He was one interesting guy. He doesn’t drink and doesn’t smoke, on his Christian belief that those that harms are to be avoided. In fact he even believes in dissociating himself from those who does drink and smoke. I told this fact to Kamal the Libyan and he quickly joined me in teasing Ilaya: “You are very much like a Muslim!”

The party is not all there is tonight. More importantly, we’ll fast tomorrow – me, Kamal, Ansar, Ali and Dessy. I’d just give my wife a call after this party is over for some greetings. I am excited.

Ahlan wa sahlan ya shahr al-mubarak!


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