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Asian Group

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yuiyoshida

(41,683 posts)
Mon Jul 11, 2016, 05:44 AM Jul 2016

For a salaryman in summertime, the living ainít easy [View all]



by Kaori Shoji

Special To The Japan Times:
This first-person account by a 43-year-old company employee comes from a personal interview by the writer, who has edited and translated the man’s words.[/i


いやな時代だなあ (Iyana jidai da nā, “These are bad times”), said my boss the other day, during 昼休み (hiruyasumi, lunch break) at the neighborhood 居酒屋 (izakaya, Japanese pub) that has a lunch menu ranging from ¥650 (the curry rice) to ¥1,000 (the “steak-don,” or slices of steak on a bowl of rice).

He was talking about the horrific events in Dhaka, in which seven Japanese nationals had been killed. I work for a 大手旅行代理店 (ōteryokōdairiten, major travel agency) so this sort of news gets everyone down and the gloom envelops the office for days.

The conversation shifted to other venues as we got up after downing a really bad アイスコーヒー (aisu kōhii, iced coffee) that came with our meals. And then we walked among the car fumes and under a blazing sun back to the office. 暑いなあ!! (Atsui nā!, “God, it’s hot!”), we say almost in unison, and then laugh with self-deprecation. To avoid sweat stains, we’ve left our suit jackets back at the office but must put them on during 会議 (kaigi, conferences) with お客さん (o-kyaku-san, clients) or slogging through the heat on 外回り (sotomawari, making the rounds of visiting old clients or trying to get new contracts).

Personally, I feel like times are always kind of bad — ever since I graduated from university and got my first job in IT. The hours were hellish, but the term ブラック企業 (burakku kigyō, “black company,” referring to companies guilty of exploitation and mistreatment of employees) wasn’t around in the Japanese media yet and I, with the rest of my 同期 (dōki, colleagues who got into the company the same year), accepted it as the norm.

Ten years later the company went bankrupt, but I managed to line up another job in the nick of time. This was for lower pay, but I have a wife to support, and back then we were serious about having children. The 不妊治療 (funin chiryō, fertility treatments) were breathtakingly expensive, so in the end we decided to call it quits.

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/life/2016/07/11/language/salaryman-summertime-living-aint-easy/
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