Sunday, October 22, 2006


As many of you know, my job is, uh, not my favorite thing in the world. (There I said it nicely.)
Lately though it has been fairly tolerable until this week. I have written before about my boss with the purse or the MURSE as we decided to call it, but I have some strange new events to report and I don't intend to be mean about it in any way, more just incredulous and kind of at a loss of what to think.

We have a conference coming up this week and my boss is stressing because he has never done one before. ( He is new.) Anyway, because of this stress his ever constant "smoking breaks" have increased dramatically and so has the smoke cloud he carries with him. ( picture Pigpen from Peanuts, only with cigarette smoke.) He has NO sense whatsoever of personal space and so whenever he comes to ask me a question, he will come BEHIND my desk and stand about 3 inches away from me and begin talking. Normally this would be tolerable, however, he REAKS of smoke, not just his clothing but EVERY breath that comes out of his mouth. I should just put up with it, BUT, being pregnant has made my nose about 1000 times more sensitive ( look out canines) and so it is just MISERABLE sitting there. Plus, I have a baby to think about- I know, I know, I am COMPLETELY selfish for hoping my baby's lungs aren't damaged just because he feels the need to go on and on and not complete a full sentence in English ( even though he got a Masters degree from Harvard???? how did that happen???)

Anyway, this last week has been FULL of days where he comes up and does this close up suffocation thing, but then, Friday topped it all. As he is standing there three inches away from me he starts to SCRATCH HIMSELF. RIGHT THERE. NEXT TO ME. Then he proceeds to use same hand to touch my computer screen. ( I'm praising the Lord he didn't touch my mouse.)


Now, EVERY culture is different and has certain codes of operation, however in a year of working with 9 other Japanese men, I have NEVER had this happen. I would really like to prevent the situation from happening again, and also just get the man to give me some SPACE. But I don't know how to ask or suggest that he do this.

There are 2 things though. Number 1. I should have a bonus coming at Christmas time. Not a huge one, but definitely a needed one, so I can't say anything that would put my bonus in jeopardy.

The second thing is a problem in Japan known as hikikomori. Japan has a huge problem with young men being embarassed, made fun of, suggestions given to and they become COMPLETELY traumatized and as a result become recluses and NEVER leave their houses again. There are MILLIONS of these hikikomori in Japan.

It's like in the movie "Shall we Dance". They show it somewhat in the English version, but much more so in the Japanese version. The louder, bigger dance lady screams "KIMOCHI WARUI" to the larger gentleman who is trying to learn to dance but covered in sweat. He pulls her in and her face lands in his sweaty chest and of course she isn't happy. It literally translates to " bad feeling" but is SOOOOO much stronger than that. fingernails on a chalkboard comes slightly closer. So of course the guy is TOTALLY embarassed and starts crying and stuff in the movie and probably goes home and becomes a hikikomori.

My boss seems like the nerdy, jittery enough type that if I mentioned anything, even maybe a small suggestion or request that he would go home and become a hikikormori, although that might be difficult seeing as how he is in a foreign country. But anyway, what do I do? Tough it out?? Any thoughts or comments??


At 10/23/2006 02:25:00 PM,

I say you fight fire with fire. You lived in Japan for a while and know the culture pretty well can you think of a smell or an action that would be tolerable to you but would repel your boss the same way his smoke smell and scratching repels you? Wearing certain types of perfume or shampoo, garlicy food, not bathing for a week, etc. make him keep his distance without actually saying anything. Then maybe he will be put into the same situation you are in and ask you politley to keep a five foot buffer zone, your problem would be solved, and he might even feel bad about asking you so you can milk a little more out of that bonus.

At 10/23/2006 03:28:00 PM,

That is a fabulous idea! I wonder if someone makes rootbeer scented perfume. I'm sure there's something better though....hmmm. You've got me thinking. THANKS!!!

At 10/23/2006 03:54:00 PM,

That's funny, they hate root beer in South America too.




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