Wednesday, March 17, 2010
The mystery of room no. 882...
The other day I went to an official meeting in work at a government agency, the kind of place which looks really crappy and gray with stacks of books all over the place and which is either uncomfortably hot or cold, never somewhere in between. But nevertheless, a place where most Japanese people dream of working, basically they only recruit out of the top universities among the hordes of people who dream of a job in the slow moving bureaucracy of Japan.
As I had my little meeting around a table in a makeshift space in a corner of the office, I had a clear view of the computer screen of one of the junior women working there, young and junior, but not just a lowly assistant. Her screen was out of sight of the other people in the office and probably only visible from the place that me and my colleague were sitting.
On the screen, she had a word file open and written in large font (probably around size 24-32 something) "What's room 882 got to do with anything?" (in Japanese I think it said "882号室は何も関係ないだろう？”). During the time I had the discussions with the people I had come to meet, she sometimes highlighted the whole text, sometimes she removed the questionmark at the end, only to put it back again. Then sitting staring at it for long periods of time.
It really threw me off my balance because I had problems focusing on the other discussion since this mysterious little message kept fascinating me and the obvious dedication she put into this seemingly pointless exercise. Just a few minutes before the meeting was wrapping up, she closed the file without saving and left her desk to go do something else, possibly slightly more productive.
Well, at least it's good to see that the taxpayers money is coming to good use and that our adminstrative functions here in Japan are putting the focus on efficiency!
...but what really was up with room 882...?