Happy New Year, dear readers. I have been waiting for Tokyo Metro to upload their new manner poster and even tried to snap a picture of one as I drunkenly and yet deftly hopped on the train after a double date plus one. As I discovered upon inspecting my phone once the doors closed, my attempt was a failure. Nevertheless, I present to you the January edition of the subway manner posters.
The creepy-sweepy couple still figure prominently and are as horrified-looking as ever at the depicted yoho's utter lack of social graces. I say at least he doesn't smell like rotting garlic from the previous night's yakiniku piss fest. Any one else think the young hooligan's crossed ankles look a tad unnatural?
I've gotten away relatively unscathed from the incessant New Year's greetings at the Kaisha because, as I pointed out at the end of last year, apparently ostracizing me is still very 2010. I also don't think befriending me figured too highly among weight-loss, marriage and pregnancy on the Secretaries' resolution lists for the year of the tiger. Ho-hum.
For those of us at the Kaisha whose social interaction consists of more than that with the computer, Sound Princess and elevator, one must bow and wish a happy new year to every one they know the first time they meet in the new year. And then implore their favour in the coming year. It's all fairly awk and looking at the wave of relief on people's faces when this quaint little exchange is over, you would think they had received a royal pardon from being executed. I did the dance with a couple poor souls, but the big surprise was the spitting-distance Secretary who only deigned to give me and our other quad-mate a good morning! This really did surprise me, neuroses aside, as despite her possible horror at having to truly breathe the same air as me, not greeting people in the prescribed manner is quite the faux pas. Familiarity has nothing to do with it either I have found, as I observed the beau's parents and his cousins on their knees and bending to the floor in bows one January 1st.
As with many Japanese companies, we were all knocking back sake at 9am the first day back at work. This isn't as bad as it sounds, I just wrote that for shock value. It's marginally better. Every year there is a small ceremony in the morning, where six lucky Secretaries are dressed in furisode and instructed to flank our venerable shacho (company president) as he delivers the opening speech of the new year. They then do the kagami-biraki breaking open of a cask of sake (more like a drum) and we all toast to the new year. I opted for some juice but happened to notice some bottles of Asahi Superdry so I don't doubt that someone was sculling back free beer under their desk before noon.
Over the break I got to meet Baby Mama, so stay tuned for that shebang. May your 2010 be filled with good manners!