She Was Just Screaming

“The clients always get angry when they can’t receive services they expect. My client was complaining about our services with angry words, and I simply couldn’t endure being insulted so much. Therefore, I was starting to pretend not to hear clearly what he was saying and said to him that it was impossible for me to hear what he was saying due to disturbed noise on the phone, so he had to call us back, and I hung up. Of course, I heard every single word he uttered as clearly as a church bell, but I just couldn’t be insulted and agitated over the phone anymore. But the worst part came later. Ms. Yamada happened to listen to my conversation with my client over her telephone at her desk. As soon as I hung up, she came to my desk, scowled at me in a hysterical fashion, and made me write an apology letter to her boss. I tried to explain why I hung up the phone, but she didn’t listen to anything and even didn’t give me a chance to open my mouth. She was just screaming, screaming at me with hysterical threats. You know, every company in Japan has the same ludicrous working conditions. Your bosses don’t listen to what you think and don’t care about your feelings, because they only comprehend the things that are written on a company’s manual. If I say something that is not written in the manual, they will be angry and threaten me to be mum. When the situation is required to control employees, they will just become angry and threaten employees to do this or that. They will never have a human talk. Their behaviors are so silly to me. They are like a five-years-old child who always screams and cries whenever he wants something. I sometimes wonder if I can find a workplace with decent people in Japan who have an ability to talk about any sort of circumstances, without losing temper. But it’s a sheer dream to me now. Mr. Onoe, tell me, in the world, can I find a job with decent people and a friendly ambiance? I really want to try to find a job in Canada or another country.”

It’s Not the Life I Want

He suddenly stops talking, looks at me apologetically, and says, “Sorry, Mr. Onoe, I’m talking too much, and it seems to me that I myself have only been talking so far. I’m worried whether I’m boring or tiring you, perhaps?”

I smile at his innocence and say, “Don’t worry, Mr. Yano, I’m enjoying it. My ears are all yours. Go on!”

“Ms. Yamada’s attitude toward me and my colleagues makes me mad beyond my control,” he is fuming, “she thinks we are not human beings, just a cog of a gigantic machine. I’ve tried to be patient and tried to ignore her, but it’s beyond my limit. Only heaven knows how she is able to sleep at night after sharing her malevolence with telephone operators, so atrociously. Everyone hates her and can’t stand her, which is the universal truth. Do you know, Mr. Onoe, why I’ve asked to transfer to another position? I just don’t want to see her anymore and can no longer endure hearing her hysterical voice. She always comes to me and yells at me because of my slowness. I always try to do my best and want to work my own rhythm, but she constantly pressures me. She always tells me that average telephone operators pick up twenty-five phone calls per day, but I always pick up ten to fifteen phone calls a day. Therefore, I’d better work harder; otherwise, she can’t let me stay here. It’s impossible for me to enjoy working under her constant threats. Every morning, I feel so depressed going to work. It’s not the life I want. Five days ago, a terrible incident happened. Of course, you know, sometimes clients demand too much from us and complain about our services with a shower of insulting words. That happened to me five days ago.”

Do They Think We Are Immortal?

He wipes his glasses because the steam from the food clouds them. He puts them on again and says excitedly, “Mr. Onoe, you are amazing. You know, most people tell me that I have to get a good job and have a career first. And after that, I can go see the world, or I can do whatever I want to do, but it’s absolutely nonsense, I know. Do they think we are immortal? I am a mortal, Mr. Onoe. Time is passing by me, day by day. I can’t wait to see the world when I am decrepitude by a stressed job. I really think you always tell the truth and the right thing. I feel that you know exactly what you want from your life and what you want to do for the rest of your life. Japanese people don’t know what they want to do in their lives, they have no desire except making money to buy expensive things, and they just fritter their time away making money: They only care about outside appearances. I think you have a special quality that differentiates you from other Japanese. You’re carrying a bright torch inside you, Mr. Onoe. That’s why your eyes always shine like distant stars. And you are right again here; life is only one time, so why do I have to stay only in Japan? Yes, Mr. Onoe, why don’t I see the world? Whenever I talk to you, everything seems so simple. Allow me to tell you why I decided to take this job. Because I want to save money to go to Canada or other countries to see different sorts of life from Japan, but my resolution is crumbling away right now. I have to tell you about my secret: I hate Ms. Yamada so much. I can’t stand her temper and can’t endure her shower of insults anymore!”

Why Don’t You See the World?

Here Mr. Yano starts realizing that we have not ordered food yet. He apologizes me for talking too much before ordering anything, “What do you want to order, Mr. Onoe?”

“I’ll order katsu-curry and coke.”

“Excuse me, I would like to have sukiyaki-don and green tea, and katsu-curry and coke for him.”

“You know, Mr. Onoe, I’ve never been any countries and have only known of Japan in all my life. I’m just wondering what the other parts of world are like. I don’t think the other countries that are as lifeless as Japan. I want to go to Canada someday, because many people tell me that Canada is very beautiful and free country. You told me that you’ve been in Canada for several years. What do you think? Should I go to Canada?”

“Mr. Yano, I’ve been knocked about the world a wee bit, but Vancouver is the most beautiful city I’ve ever been to in my adventures. If you go there, you will feel that people are so friendly, not tense all the time like Japanese always are, not rushing everything like Japanese always do, but taking time to do something. Vancouver has a lot of beautiful sceneries that you’ll love, for sure. I really recommend you should go there someday so that you can see a different life. Life is one time, Mr. Yano, why don’t you see the world?”

I’m a Human Being

As soon as we arrive at Jonathan’s, he starts confessing me, “I don’t understand the way of Japanese life. It doesn’t make any sense to me. As I told you before, I didn’t look for any permanent job after my graduation, because I didn’t want to participate in Japanese nonsense age structural society. I don’t understand why I have to respect and use polite words for a person who just happens to be a year older than me. It’s crazy – it also corrupts Japanese because most Japanese are nobody. It’s very sad fate to be born as Japanese, indeed. I guess nobody respects ordinary Japanese because they are nonentities. Consequently, they invented the age structural society so that older people are respected by younger people. In doing so, they feel important among themselves and no longer feel useless. They always want to be respected because of their insignificant existences, so immediately they meet a person who is just a year younger than themselves, they become arrogant and behave condescendingly as if they knew everything under the sun and as if they were better than him. It’s so ridiculous to me, you know, Mr. Onoe, as soon as they know they are older than me, they completely change their attitude toward me and even their way of language. At the first, they talk to me with polite language because they don’t know how old I am, but as soon as they discover they are older than me, they start looking down on me. That’s why I didn’t want to work for a company where the situation is worse. As an employee, I can’t say anything on my mind to my boss, but just obey what my boss says even if my boss orders me to do total nonsense and gives me a boring joke – I have to obey and pretend to laugh at ridiculously boring jokes which make me suffer a lot. However, my colleagues seem not to care as long as they are paid. It seems to me that they are not human beings, but just a bunch of money mongers. I sometimes wonder if they have any feelings and pride. I’m a human being, Mr. Onoe; it doesn’t suit me because I am not a machine and have feelings. I can’t work like a robot –”