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From Value One, Summer 2009 No. 25
MC Tubular Products, Inc.
Tubular Products Sales Company Providing Support for Business in the Americas
MCTP Celebrates Its 20th Anniversary
Staffed by a total of 28 people, MC Tubular Products, Inc.'s (MCTP) office is 30 minutes west of downtown Houston by car. The company celebrated its 20th anniversary the year before last and plays a central role as a U.S. base for the Energy Project International Business Department. In this capacity, the company promotes business in the Americas and unearths new business and products related to tubular products in the region. The company also plays a role as a sensor when promoting expansion in other regions.
MCTP mainly deals in steel pipe products for the gas and petroleum industries. To cite one difference between these industries and other steel product companies in other industries, they are end users. As such, you get a feel for the attractions of working here while keeping up with diverse end-user requirements, which fluctuate daily, and carrying out sales efforts required to meet those needs.
Furthermore, this is not an industry in which you supply regular customers for long periods. Rather, it is what might be called a tender (bid)-based, hunter-gatherer form of business in which we often chase one pipe at a time. For this reason, there is a lot of trouble at times, but the pleasure is doubled when we obtain a signed contract.
Houston, a Great Place to Live
I think that Houston is a great place to live overall. You can go anyplace so long as you know how to drive a car, and you can get Japanese food at Japanese and Korean supermarkets. Moreover, a $2 Shop, which is something along the lines of a ¥100 shop and carries goods from Japan, just opened this year.
It is quite easy to get to know the people here; they readily strike up a conversation anywhere. Also, it is customary to say hello to the people you make eye contact with while out walking, so I feel that this is a place where people naturally become kind as they go about their daily lives. In Houston, neither the city nor the people are too urban, making it just the right kind of place to live.
Cityscape of Houston
About Texas
Texans Thrive on Meat
Steak is the first thing that comes to mind when one mentions Texas. There are steak restaurants everywhere. People seem to really enjoy a hearty serving of meat (see above photo) followed by dessert. Probably because people here are partial to meat, they frequently barbecue, enjoying it on weekends even if the weather is a bit too hot or too cold.

Houston's Car-Based Society
People drive everywhere, so you rarely see pedestrians along streets outside the downtown area. There are few sidewalks in the first place, and it really is inconvenient if you have no car. Moreover, most cars are large, and I think that a city in which there are so many pickups on the road is uncommon.

Tex-Mex
Because the state of Texas borders Mexico, there are many Mexicans, and you hear Spanish being spoken all over the city. This influence can even be seen in the food; Mexican dishes prepared Texas-style are called "Tex-Mex."

Rodeo, Houston's Festival
Real cowboys and cowgirls from all over Texas gather for the annual rodeo. It is quite impressive and fun to watch, something you should do at least once if you have the chance.

A Nation of Returned Goods
If one were to describe what shopping is like in the United States, it would have to be "returned goods." You can return almost any purchase, so people tend to buy things impulsively. For this reason, you need to check whether something might have been returned or shows signs of having been used before buying it.

American Cops and American Humor
Once when I was driving on the highway, a cop stopped me for speeding and told me that the fine was $3,000. Looking horrified and half in tears, I protested, "I don't have that kind of cash!" As it turned out, the "fine" was a joke, and he let me off with a warning. The incident left me feeling that it was just like the United States, where the police also joke around.
Even steaks are "American size" (cigarette pack at left for comparison).



A rodeo
Lateral, Cross-Industry Ties
One good thing about working in Houston is that I have developed more lateral connections. Various industry communities exist here, so interpersonal relationships are not limited to the one you are in. You have the opportunity to get to know people in other industries better. In my case, I often participate in a soccer match that is held once a week, and along with trading company employees, I enjoy playing with doctors, bankers, engineers, manufacturing company employees, people in distribution, and even a former member of the Japan women's national soccer team. Being able to make these lateral connections here has been valuable to me.
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