It's that time of year again, gentle readers, when your breath turns into white puffs and an endless loop of Christmas music makes you want to snap off a reindeer antler, when your electric toilet seat keeps your tush warm and most importantly, when the first year ladies at the Kaisha don inappropriate clothing and entertain their colleagues. That's right! Holiday Party time at the Kaisha!
After last year's gong show I was peeing in my pants to see what kind of sexist, laughably inappropriate and lawsuit-inducing performances there would be this year. The Kaisha, never one to disappoint, certainly pulled through for me. At the top of the evening, six young men with semi-flossy hair and sharkskin suits came on stage and began singing and shuffling their pointy-toed shoes. A group of 20 Secretaries wearing satin dresses and fur stoles danced in rows in front of the stage. Not recalling six wholly attractive men at the Kaisha with host-like hair, I wondered if the Kaisha had hired professional dancers this year. Not so it turns out, I simply hadn't had the pleasure of meeting these first-year Professionals, who have the superman ability to crunch numbers and attend client meetings by day, and give performances as pseudo-hosts at night. It became extremely apparent when the bottle of champagne came out, that this performance was an imitation of the host club "champagne call" that one sees in movies and TV dramas. I had planned on visiting a host club earlier this week and was mildly impressed to have been given a host club experience for free at the Holiday Party.
There were several other mediocre and borderline inappropriate performances to pad out the evening schedule, but the real gem was the grand finale, where the female Professionals and Secretaries slipped into hot pants and sexy military outfits, and high-kicked themselves around the stage. Last year's performance smacked of perverse fascination with young nubile schoolgirls but I had trouble finding the humor in this year's party. It felt more like a sick and tired old joke and despite some hot pant quips, I really have a problem with putting female colleagues on stage and parading them around in a non-subtle sexual manner for everyone's entertainment. Glitzy and amusing it may have been last year, but by this year it was simply depressing, for what better way to ensure that a woman is not taken seriously in the career she is just embarking on, than to put her on stage wearing precious little, and make her dance like a show pony.
I would truly love to bring some FOB foreigners to next year's party and see what they make of the whole charade. Try picturing some run-of-the-mill job you've had overseas and now imagine yourself or your colleagues being instructed to dance on stage in mini skirts at the Christmas party. And no, you can't call HR.
Aside from the questionable activities on stage, there was little to entertain me this year so I swam my way through a couple bottles of white and enjoyed the same conversations with the same people, some silently disapproving my decision to darken my hair. By their skewed logic, someone who can carry off the golden look should never go dark, the colour common to oh, 99.789% of this island nation. I wouldn't be surprised if I get less lunch invitations now that I am less of a true foreigner (light hair, light eyes) who can be showed off to friends much like a gold watch from Cartier.
One small highlight of the evening was when the always exhausted and barely comprehensible young Professional who played the ugly drag Beyonce last year got smashed and began to swagger and speak with bravado. Normally docile and dorky, he came up to me and asked in rough Japanese if I was still seeing the beau. He then ordered me to introduce him to my throngs of pretty gaijin friends. Sherioushly, he said, indraduce me!