Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Postcard from the Kaisha 2

There is now a properly designated lunch room at the Kaisha and it is gorgeous with big windows and expansive views all the way to Shinjuku. It's perfect except for one hour during the day when it becomes overrun with lithe Secretaries laughing over their bento at things that are not funny. It's a grown-up version of the much over-played high school cafeteria, complete with the requisite groups of mean girls, popular and pretty girls, and how-did-they-get-hired-here-with-those-looks unpopular girls. In fact, some of these women look like they should be in a high school cafeteria with their little-girl haircuts and plaid skirts. However, looking at the majority of these women you start to get a sense of the effect of the Japanese hiring practice where photos, marital status and age are all required to be included on the application form.

I'm sure many of these girls (if you'll excuse the expression) have gone to good schools and know how to type, but the fact that there are so many Secretary-Professional marriages is no coincidence in my humble opinion. Why, they are hand-picked and strategically placed in an environment where the men rarely leave the office, making them the most often seen women in their lives. It's a beautiful and well-oiled system, this match and baby-making machine fronting as a Kaisha.

But back to the new lunchroom. At the risk of adding to my lonely girl status by taking a book with me to the lunchroom, I simply avoid it during the Secretaries' compulsory lunch hour. Needing to know where they are at all times, the Kaisha limits the Secretaries to the same lunch hour every day, which in a way allows me to avoid them with ease. I showed up the other day after the S lunch rush and the lights had already been turned off. Flicking one on in a section by the windows, I opened my Tupperware, overly-conscious of the pop it made in the cold and heavy silence left in the wake of the departed Secretaries. It seems a pitiful waste of perfectly good space to only encourage non-Secretary peeps to eat there when the Secretaries do, although I have to say that three days out of five, I would prefer truly good company at lunch to a book and an overwhelming silence.

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