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This is a Shuntarou Tanizaki (谷崎俊太郎)´s poem which used to be a poem most of the Japanese school children would learn at school. He is one of the most well-known poet in Japan. One coffee company used his poem, Morning relay race for their ad while ago and became one of my favorites. It was a well made.
A Japanese construction company, Daiwa House Group revealed that there were unpaid salaries for overtime work for two years, between 2009 and 2010 to 40% of its employees.
And the amount was 3.2 billion yen.
There was an inspection done by the Labor Standards Inspection Office and they'd found out that there were many overtime work hours which hadn't been informed.
Daiwa House was saying that it was equivalent to about 6 to 7 extra houra a month for each employee. But this doesn't include the construction workers in the actual field. Also it's hard to imagine the company paid until 2008 and "some how" they forgot to declare these two years.
Officially, we can only work 40 hours a week in Japan and if the company needs thier workers to work overtime, they have to present certain document to the Labor Standards Inspection Office. This is for to protect employees…. in theory.
As most of us know, this doesn't function well. If they can not work officially, they hid it and it's called "service overtime work". What ever the law comes out, the reality doesn't change. If they have to stay, they stay and work.
This time, Daiwa House had a bad luck but it seems like the situation is more or less the same in any companies, and most of the time a family of the employees informs to the Labor Standards Inspection Office to save their husbands or fathers from obligated "service" overtime work.
I have once worked in a stock company. I knew it was tempporal and needed to save money, so I registered myself as a tempo stuff. They sent me to this stock company as a data imput.
The team I was located was small, there were about 10 girls and a boss. 6 of them were full-workers and there were two tempo girls, then me and another girl who stopped coming to the office in day 2…
Our "official" woking hour was 9 to 17:30. The first day and the second day, the girl who taught us work said to us to go at around 17:30. But I noticed that no one didn't seem to stand up or even started tidying up, including those two tempo girls.
When we left, no one didn't look at us but bowed their head only to show that they knew we were leaving. "Strange" I thought.
Look, my parents never worked at office or for a company. I wouldn't know how Japanese salary men worked. And there, for the first time, I saw it.
The day three, another tempo girl dropped. I knew she wouldn't come to the office because when we left the day before, she told me that the job was too difficult for her and she wouldn't complete what they expect. Hmm, she was a little slow but I just told her to relax and within a week, she'd get used to it. But she didn't show up, no one knew why, besides me and the person in charge was quite annoyed by that. The tempo office phoned our boss a little after that the girl had quit.
Anyway, I stayed. The job was boring, typing in enormous numbers which were actually the price of stocks the companies bought and sold. It was so enormous that I forgot it was actual money amount. After one hour of entering the numbers, the sum messed up and you have to do it again. They gave me a super calculator which you can sum up to billions. Sometimes you keep going back to calculate just to find out the missing 1 yen… Horrible…
17:30 came, no one told me to go. I started peeping others. No one moved, kept working as if it was still 11 o'clock in the morning. At 18:00, I poked one of the temp girls, Kato san. She looked a bit shocked.
"Kato san, why no one goes home?"
"We normally stay back" Kato san whispered.
"But until what time?"
"Well… normally they let us go around 19:30 or 20:00 but full-timers stay until late"
At 18:15 I stood up and went up to boss' desk and told him that I had to go because I have evening classes. He asked me if I had them every evening. I said yes and "unfortunately" I could only stayed until 18:00 the latest. He told me that he understood.
I left the building.
And went to the gym for a swim.
Later I became close to one of them and she told me that she was so tired despite of what she earned. They had no life outside of work. Sometimes they stay until 23:00 and even worked on Saturdays as a service overtime work. Just because the boss stays late or came to work. They check the timecard something around 20:00 to show officially they finished working and kept working.
Kato san told me that she couldn't go because she was scared that other workers might say something for not being a team worker, and she was a little jealous of me leaving earlier without any problems.
The curious thing is that if you leave earlier than others, no one will complain. But many people get that stage because of the tension runs through the office. They will send you a vibes of "why can you go when all of us are working?"
The silence pressure.
I ignored completely. The evenings were mine. I have a life.
After 8 months, I left Japan to London. It was my first and the last experience in Japanese office and I think it was enough. If any of those people who were working in that office, I'm sorry I lied. It's prescribed, isn't it?
Daiwa House can make nice adv like this. Hope soon no companies abuse their employees anymore under the name of "service" overtime work.
More Japanese behaviour
More Japanese costum
Shinkansen runs through Kyuushuu finally!
People were very excited, so was JR. BUT… a day before the opening, a big chaos happened in Japan, up north.
JR Kyuushuu no longer could celebrate this officially, however they started running.
And this is the advs. Very colourful and cheerful. I don't think they made this to cheer up Touhoku, it was just pure excitement and I think that's why I like it.
Kyuushuu is the last island of four main islands of Japan. It's the place where christianity first arrived, therefore, the first foreigner arrived. Nagasaki was the only place the merchants from Spain, Portugal and Holland could enter. It was the melted pot in Japan at that time. Tafel Anatomie (Ontleedkundige Tafelen in Duch) was brought in to Nagasaki and translated by a Japanese doctor, Genpaku Sugita (杉田玄白) and a Dutch scholar, Ryoutaku Maeno (前野良沢).
I've only visited a little of Nagasaki and Fukuoka. In Nagasaki, there were tram cars running across the city, the houses built on the steeps had terracotta roofs, which I didn't feel like I was in Japan unless they spoke.
In Kyuushuu, there are many Christians after the long battle. Actually I had a classmate from Kagoshima in university who was baptized Catholic. For me it sounded peculiar a Japanese who was born to be Christian, but if you think about the history, it's understandable.
This adv, somehow gives me an energy. I don't know who they are and I don't think they are all actors. They simply must be happy for this Kyuushuu Shinkansen. "One Kyuushuu"
There is a back story of this adv. When they finished making it, it was a film of more than two hours. Of course, they must've wanted to show all Kyuushuu and it's big. Then they cut here, cut there and reduced to 3 to 4 minutes. Still long for one adv though. So another selection was done and finally they made one minute adv.
However, they couldn't get rid of the rest. There are many versions available in Youtube. This is a 3 minutes version, Shinkansen starts from Kagoshima then going up to Fukuoka. It shows small villages, little towns, bigger cities, industories, farm and tall buildings.
I like to see the active volcano, Sakurajima in Kagoshima. I heard in Kumamoto, roof tile shokunin earn a lot as typhoons pass by Kumamoto so often. There are many spots related to Japanese old mythology in Miyazaki.
I don't know much about Kyuushuu.
Let's go to Kyuushuu.
Happy Easter and Feliz Semana Santa.
More about Japanese trains
First, just look and listen to this video.
It's a beautiful image and the sound. When it reaches this level, the word is no longer needed. In the last few days, I've been listening to this repeatedly. Just magnificent.
This is an ad for a new mobile phone "Touch Wood SH-08C" that Japanese mobile company, NTT Docomo was going to release in early March this year but with some problems they have in Japan, it had been on hold. But it seems like finally this is available in Docomo shops since the 6th of April.
This is a very organic bean shaped mobile which is made of hinoki tree.
Hinoki grows only in Japan, used for houses, furniture, ships or even sculptures. It has a special aroma and Japanese people like the smell of hinoki.
The design is very simple, it only has tree buttons for "talk", "lock" and "hang up".
The way sits in the hand is so beautiful.
With one touch, shortcut menu will show up.
It does look like those high-tech phones (we call smart phone in Japan) but it's not unfortunately.
This Touch Wood, you can change the setting depending on which hand user you are. Amazing.
Touch Wood is not iPhone nor Android, yet it costs 77,910 yen (about 647€) at the shop. Hmm, I think I prefer getting my offer of Black Berry Curve, perhaps… Oh, but it's so beautiful, isn't it?