Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The Kaisha

Yesterday the boys at the top decided to give me more money and more holidays in celebration of signing a new contract. I feel strangely void (albeit relieved that I have more money to throw at my student loan) and hopeful that I will not work out the next one-year contract. Mine is a great on-paper job but in reality I find myself ready to poke sharpened pencils in my eyes just to spice up the work day. My dad tells me 1) I should be so grateful for the life I have. true. The beau tells me 2) most jobs suck. true. So bear with me while, in celebration of my life and my contract, I compile a list on the Kaisha.

At the Kaisha...
**You can't get to the sink in the ladies washroom after lunch to wash your fucking hands because there are at least 10 secretaries lined up at the sink redoing their hair and make-up.
**It's OK to be drunk at work, how else would you go out for dinner and a drinking party and then return to work?
**On Valentine's Day, you can see secretaries scurrying about with bags of designer chocolates strung up to their elbows to distribute to the Professionals (the men that is).
**When male Professionals go out for conferences or whatever and come back, their secretaries greet them with itterashaimase and okaerinasai or otsukaresama deshita, much like their wives would at home, except more polite.
**Some Professionals and secretaries will blatantly shut the door behind them in the elevator hall, even though they know I am behind them and that I work there. Kinda fucking hard to miss!
**There is no ladies first with doors unless you take it like the aggressive bitch you are.
**People you do work for and who sit directly BEHIND you will ignore you in the hall when you pass each other.
**There are smoking rooms on each floor. Rumor has it, one even has a crystal ashtray. Keep in mind of course, these are almost strictly Male Professional zones. You would not catch a secretary in there and only rarely can you see a Top Professional woman heading in for a smoko (and even then, she's not exactly vying for male attention).
**Secretaries marry Professionals all the time. They of course quit when this happens. I was once told by a wise Foreign Woman before me, it's really an omiai (arranged marriage) gathering masquerading as a Japanese company. And I'm just caught up in the middle of it all masquerading as someone who gives a shit.
*There are more male Professionals than female,
I don't know why I bother writing this seeing as it is such a given. The ones who make it to the very top probably wouldn't be considered doable.
**There is an empty office with a pimped out space ship massage chair. Go in, shut the door and ooooooooohhhhhhhhhhhhaah.
**There are voluntary health checks annually. And do not worry, the results are only released to the person in charge of "health" at the Kaisha. We're talking physical and mental health checks here people.
**The "newcomers" are responsible for providing the entertainment
at the annual Xmas party, which more often than not involves air guitar, cross-dressing and running around in tight speedos.
**Secretaries invite you to lunch once, and then you never see them again after receiving an email letting you know that it was Super Fun Times despite the fact that you were bored out of your skull.
**Secretaries who have been Overseas don't understand boundaries or the proper usage of "xoxo" and I have gotten "Best regards, Yumi xx" from chicks I've never even met before.
**Word has it a Former Foreigner with a quick eye saved the Kaisha from distributing a "Pubic Massage" instead of a message intended for the public once.
**Most of the people I work for I have never met in person. Who needs real contact when you can fantasize about what that person looks like through their email style.
**When I get work from someone for the first time, I immediately look them up in the Kaisha directory and decide whether I am happy to do their work or not depending on how they look.
**If I get a curt or urgent email that does not please me, I look the person up in the directory and make fun of them in my head.
**There is a guy who has rage issues and sends his underlings nasty messages like "Die!" at 3am. These messages are cc'd to everyone on the floor.
**Some of the not so smart secretaries accidentally hit SEND ALL on emails that say shit like "Hey princess, what's up? So where did you like, go for lunch today?" Seconds later a second email from the same dimwit: "Dear all, I'm terribly sorry for the interruption. Please excuse me for I have been rude."
**When emails get sent round offering free tickets to sports games, restaurant coupons, shopping sale invites etc. from clients, it takes literally ONE minute for the next email coming in to say thanks for your interest but we have given them all away. Aren't these bitches doing any work?!
**There are floor dinner parties welcoming new people, at which I get routinely and embarrassingly ignored. They know I speak Japanese. I smile and try to get involved in the conversation but the male Professionals ain't having none of that. Whoever said all Japanese people are super polite are super fucking off the mark. Funnily enough, when I've asked my Japanese girlfriends about this and the general ostracization of Me at work, they say it's because I'm too cute so people can't talk to me or think I'm snobbish. Right, either that or they're all just assholes.
**I don't get to sit with anyone. There are three empty spaces by me but the Kaisha has left them empty. I guess if a secretary is bad they will banish her to my white ghetto.
**One day I'm going to go crazy on everyone and build a blue tarp fort around my desk like the homeless guys on the Sumida.
**One of the Professionals who has an office by me sneezes, horks his phlegm and cuts his toenails so loudly I can hear him through the wall. He also swears to himself, complains to no one and at night puts his gf on speaker phone so that he doesn't have to hold the receiver. All this from a tiny little man whose head barely grazes my tits.
**People actually run down the halls of the office. I don't know that they are doing something so life-threateningly urgent, but sprinting down the hall sure makes it look like they are working hard and super diligent.
**Have I mentioned before I am like the office Amazon? I feel like fucking king kong when I pass some of the tit-grazing guys in the hall. Even when I bow my head to them it's like tyrannosaurus Rex coming through the forest.
**It's common knowledge who the kyabakura kings are and which Professionals like young nubile girls. Ick.
**In order to improve work place relations, they held a donut day and ordered in 1000 Krispy Kremes, I kid you not. Try pulling the stuck-up stick out of every one's tight asses guys.
**Every day is the senior prom. To look at them, you would think the secretaries were going on dates everyday with all the lace, glitter and silk. Fur stoles and ballgowns actually make an appearance at the Xmas party.
**There is only paid vacation, no sick day allowance. If you get sick and have to take the day off, it's coming out of your 10 days of paid holiday. Don't even think about taking unpaid time off.
**Every one knows who is sporting a toupee.
**Secretaries and young female Professionals alike decorate their desks and offices with stuffed animals and pink glittery shit. The secretaries I understand but the Professionals?! This is a professional environment right? I feel like taking them aside and saying look honey, you're a Professional. No amount of girly crap on your desk is going to land you a date.
**There is a hot food vending machine like at the conbini. Who knew a vending machine could pop out spaghetti, curry rice and gratin?!?!
**After big holidays you get omiyage bombed by people you don't even know but feel an obligation to give you something from their trip to Shinjuku.
**There are company trips to onsen where you are given the chance to get naked and bond with your dear coworkers.

Well this has turned into an opus but I know as soon as I hit the pillow tonight more memories will come rushing back. I love the Kaisha, I really do.


Sarah said...

Best post ever!!!

This reminds me of my days working for a Big Japanese Company. Now that I've been swallowed up by the rediculously loose environment of an almost completely gaijin-driven magazine things have changed a lot (mostly for the better), but secretly there are times when I miss the days of seeing OLs spend 15 minutes curling their eyelashes after lunch while I'm trying to brush my teeth!!

charle said...

i loved this posting so much i emailed it to my boyfriend who then printed it out at work and showed it to some other people. that was several days ago, we're still randomly quoting your "at the kaisha" gems of brilliance!

Edo said...

"**I don't get to sit with anyone. There are three empty spaces by me but the Kaisha has left them empty. I guess if a secretary is bad they will banish her to my white ghetto."

Sorry, but I laughed out loud. No silly internet axioms here, laughter actually burst forth from my lips. Because oh, I thought the gaijin-radius was bad at university and on public transit. How I look forward to experiencing it in the workplace!

Green-Eyed Geisha said...

Edo - Thanks! The novelty will disappear faster than a dress on prom night I'm afraid.