Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Current Threat Level - Orange

In case you wondered...

Live from the United States of America

Yours truly, Mr. Salaryman, has just arrived in the greatest nation on earth, slightly drunk from free airplane booze, but not overly so. Now sitting in an airline lounge and leeching off the free Internet and coffee. It feels great to be here, people are loud and fat and not thin and obnoxious like in France, I much prefer this.

So far I have interacted with aprox. 5-6 native United Stadians and none of them could speak proper English. I've also been allowed to have liquids in my carry on luggage from one of the security people because he had relatives from Japan and was impressed that I came from there.

I've also managed to make a few observations that I'd like to share with you since they might come in handy in your life as well, at one point or another. Two things that struck me so far and really made me realize that I'm actually in the US:
1. The bookstores are full of self-help and "political" books (usually with some varation of "America" and/or "American" in the title) with a sprinkle of Stephen King and Dan Brown books added in for good measure.
2. The wheelchairs are wide enough to seat at least 4 standard size Japanese Salarymen.
If you notice any of the two above, there is a high possibility that you might actually be in the US. I advise you to keep an eye open.

This will be a great time indeed.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

The Adventures of a Foreign Salaryman in Tokyo in California

Early next week, yours truly will travel to California for a brief visit to the cosmetic surgery capital of the world; Santa Barbara. Something that I believe will be immensly more pleasant than the stay in Paris. I am very curious on how people will look inside the cosmetic surgery company since a certain amount of grooming would be necessary to represent the company. I do myself feel a certain pressure to look my best to not embarrass myself and the company. Rest assured that I will keep you posted on my findings!

Monday, October 22, 2007

My name is Mr. Salaryman and I have a problem...

Hi everyone, my name is Mr. Salaryman and I have a problem. It is my first time here and it is a bit difficult for me to talk about it, but I hope you all can listen to my story. I am a God-Jesus addict, I just bought another one because my old comrade stopped working a while ago and I feel that I need to fill this hole with another one. I found this one also on Yahoo Auctions and without thinking I purchased it (one bidder - yours truly, 2,800Yen).

But I don't want to stop! I'll buy every God-Jesus damn God-Jesus that comes my way and I won't apologize for it. They make for great gifts too!

I know! I wish they stopped doing that here!

Now, to in anyway claim that this is a photo-blog would be to lie horribly, in fact, I would go as far as claiming that it is anything but a photo blog. Illustrating my posts are usually copyrighted pictures used completely out of context (for journalistic purposes; obviously) and the only original picture that I've actually used so far is that of my little little niece. However, in my neighborhood I saw this great sign that I thought is worth sharing with all of my faithful readers.

The text on the sign says "Don't throw up here!" and as you can also see has a picture of a cherub pissing crossed over. So the message is clear, "don't hurl or piss here!". The sign is located in some lady's little garden located just on the corner of her house. However, what I believe has promted the sign is that this little garden is located just next door to quite a few small sketchy "snack" and karaoke bars, of which I can imagine, a number of patrons might have a little too much of the good stuff and feel the need to relieve their stomach or bladder in the nearby vicinity and has instinctively gone for the greenery.

The only question in my mind is, if you are in such an urgency to hurl, do you really stop to read the sign and even if you did would it be something that would make you stop and find another spot to place the contents of the stomach? Questions, questions but no answers. This sign is relatively new, so I eagerly follow any developments in this and you will too!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Uh-huh, Mm-hmm

A new and exciting question has recently been heavily debated inside my little company. The debate in question is regarding the use of "mm-hmm" and/or "uh-huh" as a replacement for "you're welcome" in response to a standard "thanks". Personally I'm strongly against it and find a number of better and less formal sustitutes that actually consists of a word, such as; "sure", "no problem", "anytime" or even "yeah". Anything but "mm-hmm" or "uh-huh".

Granted, there is also the issue here of the well being poisoned, with Mr. B (who by the way has become a man now...) often using the said sounds and also managing to sound very arrogant while he's at it, like he's doing you a big favor when you in reality just asked him because you couldn't be bothered to open that excel file he had been working on.

The debate rages on and there seem to be some concensus around the fact that "mm-hmm" and/or "uh-huh" sounds horrible coming out of Mr. B but the question whether it generally is acceptable or not is still under debate.
However, I would also like to state that I find "mm-hmm" and/or "uh-huh" to be perfectly acceptable as a substitute for a "yes"/"yeah" in a normal informal conversation.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Monster Dog!

Tomorrow I get to see Ms. Sunshine again, but as if that wasn't enough she's bringing me a gift! She's giving me something called "Monster Dog" and I bet it's the greatest and no, I don't want to trade.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Just give me the drugs so I can get out of here!

If possible, I would like all readers to please feel a little sympathy with your Mr. Salaryman. Ever since my French nightmare I have been plagued with a cold that refused to go away and yesterday blossomed out to a more hardcore fever.

So, I did what people usually do when they feel a bit sick, I went to the hospital. The local hospital I sometimes frequent in times of need gives an atmosphere of death's waiting room with an average age of 92 y.o. (if I am excluded it would go up to 95). I did the standard thing, waited for about an hour for my turn and then got the standard treatment (say "ahhh" and listening to my lungs) after which the doc prescribed me quite large amounts of drugs. I'm always amazed by the amount of drugs prescribed here in Japan (well, with experience in Pharma, I know that there are reasons for this, but I won't go into it here), and I especially hate the drugs I get in powder form. They are bitter and the taste is impossible to get rid off. So now I take 3 pills after each meal and take three bags of disgusting powder and feel no effect, but hey, maybe I'll feel better tomorrow.

Most important is that I feel good for Saturday since I get to see Ms. Sunshine again!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Hold the presses!

There's now an official new favorite in google search words that led a poor soul to this little page!
Tokyo Gay Toilets

Sir! I think we might have struck gold!

Ms. Sunshine came to visit Mr. Salaryman yesterday in his lair. She came, looked at my large collection of comic books and serial killer biographies without showing any form of dissapprovement, then she played with God-Jesus and seemed genuinely amused by Him (and I can assure you that not everyone gets to play with God-Jesus).

This one, I like. All other R&D activities have now been formally canceled and all energy will be focused in this direction since I feel that I might have a real blockbuster on my hands!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Eigo, wakarimasen!

The other day, as I was sitting peacefully at my desk, doing such typical consulting tasks such as making slides about the bulk chemical market, my phone rings and with my ordinary gusto I pick it up and answer. The call was from an american person living and working here in Japan who at some point felt that he had been wrongly treated by someone in my company and is out to get us. He called my number since I have previously been forced to contact him by e-mail and he must have picked up my phone number from that e-mail.
The following conversation took place:

Mr. Salaryman: (In Japanese) Mr. Salaryman at Mr. Salaryman Inc.
Mr. X: (In fluent Japanese with an american accent) Hello? My name is Mr. X and I would like to talk to Salaryman-san please
Mr. Salaryman: (Cheerful and friendly in English) Well, Mr. X, good day to you, we can speak English if you want to, in fact it's probably easier for me!
Mr. X: (Slightly aggressive in Japanese) No! I've immigrated here to Japan so I think we should speak Japanese!
Mr. Salaryman: (In Japanese) Well, sure we can do that...

I still don't fully understand this...

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Adding Value

The current project I've been punished with deals with bulk chemicals and other uninteresting stuff, to add insult to injury we're working with a very marginal budget limiting the number of market reports and overall useful stuff that we can purchase to make our analysis better and also we're a small team working on a very tight timeframe. The team consists of me, the Boy and Mr. Chin Jnr with a little help from the Texan on the side.

Granted, we were given three key phrases from El Presidente at the start of the project that made us feel a bit relieved; "All hands on deck", "indicitative" and "winging it" which made us feel a bit more comfortable with doing the stuff. However, recently that seems to be forgotten and now replaced with the phrase "adding value", repeated a number of times by Mr. K who is managing the project (going back to ancient history, but here you can find more info on the gallery of characters). The question "are we adding value here?" usually comes in conjunction with him looking at one of the slides made, based on what we are committed to show in our proposal. This usually elicits a moment of utter disbelief and a response of "well, that depends on what they want and are expecting, but we're giving them what they ordered and we don't have the time and budget to do anymore than this!". This is usually rinsed and repeated a number of times during a meeting until we finally agree that things could be better but we can't do much more given time and money.

However, the best episode of today was when we were going through a section dealing with outsourced R&D, a field in which we had spent relatively little time and made 5 slides dealing with the basic premises of the market without going into any level of detail to speak of and getting the question "Ok guys, do you think that we have captured everything that is important in these slides?". This caused a few seconds of confused silence followed by an empathic "No, of course not, but give us more time and money and we might be able to do something good" from our side. He did not bring up this topic again.

This also reminds me of one of the golden moments in a previous project. The premise was that we had difficulties getting some information from the client and were a bit held up in our work. We had a meeting discussing the situation and Mr. K throws out the wonderful conclusion; "well, it seems like the client is the bottleneck for us in doing this project...", I'm a bit ashamed of myself since I did not initially react to this but one minute out of the meeting the hilariousness of this statement struck me. I've sworn to never ever let any client be a bottleneck for me to finish a project ever since!

Monday, October 8, 2007

Well, this isn't really normal, is it?

Now recently there has been more random people finding this blog through google searches and as a follow up to my earlier post on this I thought I could show you all some of the interesting key-words that has led people to this cozy place:

Tokyo boobs - Well, not too far off
French boobs - ...this is just plain offensive
Sex baby in Tokyo - Even more disturbing is that this search led him/her to this post...
Beaten by girlfriend in karate - Not really sure what this person was looking for, but I hope he found it here...
Luke and Leia potential lovers - Great thing to spend one's free time researching!
Star wars blogs jedi gay - I like this one!
Salaryman gay video - This is something I maybe should consider branching out to?

Then finally, my all time favorite so far:
Hate the French - This guy was dead on!

Things that have improved my Quality of Life in 2007

Now, I've kept myself from pushing things I like here in my little blog, but there's a few things that I discovered now in 2007 that I feel could use a little endorsement form my side and who knows, they might even enhance your life as well, you just don't know about it.

First I can't recommend the comic "The Ultimates" enough, a reinterpretation of the classic marvel comic "The Avengers" but set in a semi-realistic setting with a more mature audience in mind. The first volumes just finished up and are now out in trade paperback form, penned by Mark Millar and drawn by Bryan Hitch. The final story arc "Grand Theft America" hit like a punch in the stomach and is one of the most powerful post 9/11 commentaries I've seen.

Even if you're not normally into comics this could be something worth checking out, especially if you liked the X-Men movies and I would be very surprised if someone didn't quickly snag up the movie license for this.

Secondly I discovered the synth-pop group "Universal Poplab" earlier this year and got completely blown away. Extremely slick and well produced but packed with hit songs and definately has the potential of breaking out into the mainstream music scene if enough people heard them.

Thirdly, another music group but in a slightly different genre is the band "Strip Music". Their second album "Hollywood and Wolfman" gives very pleasant The Cure vibes and echoes of the album Disintegration in general and the song Plainsong in particular. Maybe not something for everyone, but deserves a listen.

You know you should trust me. Now, where did I put that Terror Punk Syndicate cd again...?

Life ain't nothing but money and bitches

For those of you who haven't followed my adventures in detail I will for once do a quick recap of events. Yours truly came out of a long relationship earlier and has readjusted to life as a single man. Iniatives started has born fruit and I am now going through a screening process to sort out the harvest.
Since it's a known fact that life ain't nothing but money and bitches and since consulting generates a decent amount of the first I've focused my attention now on the latter. Even though I've lived in Japan for something like 7 years all together now, I've actually never dated a Japanese woman, believe it or not. But the line-up of suspects below are all Japanese.

I will here give you a quick review of the current status and women:
First, we had the Karate Kid who is removed from current development activities due to the reasons stated in the post, although I really liked her as a person.
Future Potential Rating (1-10): 4

Then we had Ms. Financial Journalist who is also removed from current development activities. Also a nice person but somewhat in need of a light personality transplant.
Future Potential Rating (1-10): 2

There was also the Rock chick who I met once just before going to Paris for the boob stuff and felt that there was some chemistry at work but she went through a stormy relationship with me without me actually participating. First sending very affectionate e-mails which after a couple of weeks started turning more neutral and then rarer. Then when I get back to Japan she "breaks up" with me over e-mail. It made me feel slightly violated since we actually weren't in any form of relationship.
Future Potential Rating (1-10): 2

Recently I met with the Journalist Girl, also a really nice person, very caring and considerate but not really my thing. I am now a bit torn whether to remove her from the development portfolio completely or give her another shot at some point.
Future Potential Rating (1-10): 4

Last, but not least, there is Ms. Sunshine who has entertained me with amusing stories about the large number of gay men working in the brand goods industry which is a sure way to entertain me. I am now thinking of pausing research and development activities and focus my activities on her since there is high potential for a blockbuster hit here.
Future Potential Rating (1-10): 8

I will not even mention Needy Phone Girl, Boring Girl and Psycho Girl here.

A sharp kick in the head

First of all I should apologize for the lack of updates lately, it is not meant to be a trend but getting immediately thrown into a new project after the boob job and a nasty fever has kept me away from posting. The new project is about bulk chemicals which is not the most exciting stuff to say the least...

Last week a bunch of people from the office including me, The Boy, Mr. Chin Jnr and "I'm your c***" girl went to see the a K-1 (basically kick boxing) Middle weight tournament in the Budokan here in Tokyo. I don't really follow these events so I'm not too familiar with the fighers but a couple of favorites were quickly established. First the great "Mr. Stoic" (definition of "Stoic" from : Not affected by passion; being or appearing indifferent to pleasure or pain, joy or grief) and the Ukraine fighter who fought to get enough money to buy his mother a new house.

In addition to the fights, one of the most entertaining things was to hear the entrance music the fighters had chosen for themselves. Unfortunately it seemed to fall in two categories; either trashy Eurodisco or trashy metal but the big exception was the Dutch fighter who actually used "Eye of the Tiger"!

I do however have one big complaint for the whole event. When they announced the fighters they called out "... and now entering from the red stage ..." for the first fighter and then "blue stage" for the second. Well, that's nice you may think, two different stages for two fighters, but no! It was the same stage and the only difference was that they lit it up in red first and then blue. That's just plain wrong!
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