You know all that Japanese culture rhetoric that insists maintaining the harmony with those around you is one of the most important factors contributing to how Japanese people act within society? I got to experience that firsthand today. Well I actually had the option of throwing a good old-fashioned North American hoe down with stomping feet, emails laced in shittiness and general upsetting of wa but miracle of miracles I held it together and acted like a Japanese person. And by that I mean I put group harmony above my own desires, which if pursued, probably would have led to me being seen from far and wide as a big old-fashioned cheapskate motherfucker.
But let's back up a little here.
Wasn't that incessant rain refreshing this morning Tokyoites? Just enough moisture to add a little frizz to your 'do. I was carrying my new 500 yen see-through umbrella that I had purchased two days ago after getting soaked between the LSAT and Saizeriya. When I arrived at the Kaisha I left it in an umbrella holder that is in an area only accessible to Kaisha bitches. Now I often hang my umbrella on my cubicle ledge but when it's wet I let it drip dry with the other umbrellas. Imagine my intense and immediate pleasure when I went to grab it before heading out to lunch only to discover it was cheating on me with someone else. Thank my lucky stars it had stopped raining and *might* stay dry for the rest of the day but if it had been raining/does rain, I am shit out of luck unless I want to buy another umbrella and add to my growing collection at home.
I have to say, I am pretty disappointed in my Kaisha comrades at the moment. I borrowed a long untouched umbrella to pop out at lunch once but I made sure to return it in case it hadn't actually been abandoned. My umbrella would have still been wet so it's not like the snatcher could have thought anything but that they were conducting an umbrella-snatching. Shit, listen to me, I should be on Law & Order with the paces my mind has been going through. It probably wasn't a Secretary, since we know they all have at least one folding umbrella in their bags at all times. It was more likely than not a Professional who in his arrogance and disregard for those around him thought it would be fine to grab a wet and recently used umbrella that was clearly not his (no other see-through brellies in sight) instead of taking his rubber sandal-wearing ass down to the Lawson's to buy his own.
I have no qualms admitting that I actually considered sending an email to everyone on my floor asking whoever "borrowed" my umbrella to kindly return it. Or at least asking my Secretary for advice on what to do. In emailing everyone however, I would not only have to describe the object I felt so precious as to merit the email ($5 clear and white plastic umbrella), but I would have to describe this to, oh, over one hundred people. On the other hand, Akuma Geisha argued, no one but those around you could have taken it and within three hours of leaving it unattended in the first place.
I had to call my resident Japanese etiquette and social mores specialist, the beau, to ask how to appropriately proceed with this. In the end he talked me down from the ledge and the contributing factors to his ruling that I should keep my pretty mouth shut were: a) it was a cheap plastic umbrella, b) the umbrella wasn't taken from my desk and c) raising a fuss that one hundred people are privy to would exacerbate the situation and cause a shit mess. If weighed in Japanese-made scales these three points far outweigh smoking out the culprit. For me however, it is still a toss up and I have made at least ten trips past the umbrella stand to see if it has been returned.
Now here is the tricky question. If I hadn't been in Japan would I have emailed a polite plea for the return of my cheap see-through umbrella? Would you? I clearly understand how A equals B in this situation and upsetting everyone over my umbrella (and they would get upset) is much worse than just me being upset and probably only for the next 24 hours at that. My umbrella was certainly an easy target with no LV or Samantha Thavasa markings indicating it was loved and purchased for a hefty sum, but that doesn't take away from the fact that I still don't have an umbrella to get me home dry if it starts raining again. What can I say, I'm still a fan of 24-hour honne with none of this keep quiet for the greater good tatemae horse shit.