Friday, October 30, 2009

Postcard from the Kaisha: Health Edition

To don or not to don, what is the general consensus people? I don't think I would be caught in public wearing a sick mask even if I had Ebola, but with my new desk mates at the Kaisha I admit I've been giving some thought to wearing a mask while at my desk. Obviously not all the time (I'm not so paranoid that I think they are deathly afraid of my foreign germs), only when I have a cold like today. Unfortunately I can't run away from my desk every time I cough and there is no such thing as "sick days" so I am left to cough and generally make a racket when I have a cold. I'm sure my desk mates are recoiling inside their heads (AGH! It's godzirra with swine flu!!!). These are women who hang up the phone receiver without making a noise, in fact, they hardly make any noise at all. I feel guilty for clearing my throat, how ridiculous is that? You can imagine how red my face gets when I accidentally bang my knee against the metal cabinet under my desk, which sends the noise of impact thundering through the office. It's so silly you just have to laugh sometimes. In what universe am I when I have to worry about the sound of my purse zipper or whether other women can hear me peeing when I am in the bathroom, the designated place for such activity. I mentioned the sound princess to my parents the other day on the phone and they were howling with laughter at the thought. You can imagine how free I felt in NYC last month, where I peed with reckless abandon.

In other news, I got totally passed over on an omiyage round yesterday. Someone came and gave out omiyage to the two secretaries who are (still) sitting within spitting distance from me and then magically disappeared around the filing cabinet without making a stop at my ghetto station. What manners, who raised these women?!

Just to round it all off, this morning I decided not to pump the "close" button on the elevator as it was early and there were only a couple others in the elevator with me and what do you know? Some uppity bitch standing behind me decides to usurp me as Button Bitch-apparent and reaches over my shoulder to press the button. If that wasn't enough (and by that I mean the mini daggers coming out of my eyes), when she got off with two others, she let them off first and then proceeded to press the "open" button for as long as possible (over my shoulder) while trying to snake out the door at the same time (my neck is in the middle there somewhere). The sheer physics of it are exhausting. I am trying really hard, I am, to think vanilla cupcake thoughts and be in a place where I am more enamored with Tokyo than not, but these people are making it really hard.


Orchid64 said...

The O.L. at my company used to skip me at times for the souvenir snacks as well. I was never sure if this was an indication that they saw me as outside the social circle and therefore it was unnecessary to include me (as alienating me was of no consequence) or if it was simple greedy opportunism since they got to keep extra snacks for their own future consumption. I imagine it was some of both. Either way, it's an indication that you lack status with them as they don't see you as sufficiently important in the pecking order to give you the treats they are obliged to give everyone else.

Anonymous said...

This happened to me many times as well. They are most likely leaving you out of the loop, or, you might of done something to upset their wa. Anyways, I stopped caring about all that a long time ago. What I like to do is buy the omigiyagi from the states when I go there and just give it out to who I like and avoid the others. This always gives me a chuckle. One guy gave me some tomatoes from his garden, out of sympathy or some fake shit and I threw them in the trash. He found them latter and felt bad, which is what I wanted. Ive had them turn out the lights and shut the door with me still in the building and other shit. What is still annoying to me is the stares. When I get really stressed by it I get real close to the person doing it and stare at them.

Anonymous said...

Id just like to add that when your young, expect the worse. As you get older in Japan, its harder to find work, but you get treated a little better. When your young, your considered inexperienced and they will fuck with harder. I can remember that. That can be tough.

Green-Eyed Geisha said...

Orchid64: You don't beat around the bush do you?! I agree though, it's been made perfectly clear I am not, and never will be, one of them. I say "thank god"

Anonymous: I think I have upset their wa simply by deigning to breath the same air!

Thanks for the advice, I may have to try the "getting close and staring" thing some time, I would love to see their reaction!!

Anonymous said...

Yeah you cycle thru all that. What you realize is it never gets better, but because of the age thing in Japan, some people might give you some respect. None of the techs where I worked could touch me, even though many tried to pull me down. Its just their culture to challenge anybody they feel as a threat, plus they want to squash any individuality because they dont have any themselves. Usually, all the advice Ive heard from the educated foriegn types about how to behave in Japan is all B.S. I always end up at square one, just being and acting myself. Japanese dont really want you to enter their circle, thats been my experience. If you do enter, youll end up going nuts trying to do what they want and its never good enough. I dont want to work for or with any Japanese if I dont have to.