Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Its take your readers to work day!

ユッッッッッッッッッミ メガマフィン.

I thank god every morning that I'm not one of the greeters at the gates of my company. These poor unfortunate souls (there are usually 2 or 3 of them) have the fascinating job of yelling "Good Morning" to every single person who walks through. And then "Much appreciated!" to every person who leaves. I suppose they also serve a security purpose, but I like to think their primary job is to yell at me in the morning.

The thing is, considering they have to say "Good Morning" 2000+ times in the morning, they tend to get a bit sloppy. "Ohayou gozaimasu" is often shortened to "gozaimasu" colloquially, but these guys devolve it all the way to "masu!!" Of course the 'u' is silent, so when people are quickly walking through (often in large crowds when a bus arrives), these greeters simply MUST say good morning to everyone, so all you hear is a cacophony of "Masssss! Massss! Massss! Mas! Mas!" coming from the gate. Talk about annoying and not a good greeting at all.

In japanese there are different words to use to say goodbye whether you're the one leaving work or talking to someone leaving work, etc. Its pretty complicated, but the greeters stick with "Otsukaresama deshita" which translates to something like "Much appreciated" but with more formality than that phrase has in English. But at 6:00 when I'm leaving with with a massive crowd, this phrase gets shortened beyond all hope of understanding to "Shita! Shita! Shita!" Which isn't pronounced "Shit-ah" but more like "Shta".

This is a shining example of how Japanese people seem to have missed the memo. If you have these greeters to make people feel welcome and appreciated in the morning/at night, atleast have them say words, amirite? And have them say it to the people, instead of blindly yelling "Mas mas mas mas mas!" when a group runs through. Its like shortening "Have a good day" to "Day!" or "Good morning" to "Ning!" (I guess I've been known to shorten "Good morning" to "Mrnng", and Aussies do shorten "Have a good day" to "G'day", but whatever, this is taking it to far, mmkay?)

I realized I hadn't really talked about work very much on this blog. Upon very brief thought, this is because of the numerous NDAs which I signed before starting (which unfortunately seem to prevent me even from writing a work term report that will ever leave Japan, but I digress). So I can't talk about the actual work that I do (which is pretty kick-ass - at least on paper - thanks for asking), but I don't remember anyone telling me that I couldn't take photos! (Note: They definitely did, but I probably couldn't understand at the time. Ignorance is the best defense for a gaijin smash.)

So the first thing that needs to be known about my workplace (or perhaps more generally, Japanese workplaces), is that they really, really want to keep track of you.

The name board thingy at my dorm.

When I leave the dorm in the morning, I'm supposed to flip my little name-plate thing from white to red to show that I'm not longer there. Who can find my slave-name on one of the name-plates? (its ファロー ブレイク).

When I get to work, there's this digital name board thing at the entrance that I rub my ID card against, and a pretty digital nameplate pops up and flips around. I didn't take a picture of this, as there is always a very loud (OHAIYO GOZAIMASU!!!) guard watching the place, and he likely frowns on the shashin-ing.

The name board thingy at my building.

Then I go to my building (C41, if you're interested [yah, there is at least 41 buildings in the place]). I head up to my office (which is a room full of semi-cubicles), where I find another nameboard, this time changing things up by having magnets to move between “Yah I’m here” and “Nope, I’m out”.

No other gaijins here :(

After reading my morning web comics (which were really updated sometime the previous afternoon/evening, stupid time difference) and eat my morning donut, I head down to my lab, which has yet ANOTHER name board, but this time I have a personalized magnet with a happy sun beside my name.

I don't feel like a happy sun right now. Its 9am.

Needless to say I’m constantly forgetting to announce my presence or absence on one or all of these nameboards. Thankfully someone dutifully puts a magnet over mine, or a little plate over mine, when it’s obvious that it’s not representative of my location. I can’t read the kanji on this dunce-marker, but I assume it says “The underwritten is an idiot”.

This is my desk. Its pretty standard fare. Except for the fact that when sitting straight, the table level is below my knees. It bothered me a hell of a lot for the first few days, but now I have just assumed a constant slouch. Theres also no leg room though, so my legs are always in some awkward contorted position.

My desk/cubicle area. I've never used that hardhat, it has my slave-name on it.

The glove box in my lab. I always think these things look so funny with the arms sticking out, like that robot from Lost in Space.

The bizarre metal steam-punk Schlenk line in my lab. N.B. the kanji for Nitrogen and Gas are not that different.

Saita-san's collection of extremely outdated electronics, including a lot of MiniDisc stuff (anyone remember the MiniDisc?). Too bad it never took off. I think thats the Powerbook from Independence Day.

Sooo many glove boxes in the clean room.

A dark corridor that leads to nowhere right outside of my lab.

A MiniDisc recording music mixing board on my boss's desk. What do you do with this, Saita-san? Judging by the dust layer, not very much.

You should be able to guess part of what I do (or did, I've since abandoned this course) from these reagents.

Saita-san, seriously? Have you HEARD of Wikipedia? I admit Encarta was all the rage in 98, but times have changed my friend. At least you got Deluxe.

Saita-san keeps his gloves in the desiccator. I don't know why, nor do I ask. Wouldn't they be really, really dry after a while? I guess its a good thing he never actually uses them.

1 comment:

  1. NIIICE! Hope you don't get caught for taking pics =P

    Btw, that sunshine beside your name, I thought was an oryzae moyashimon, haha.