On Gaien Higashi Dori
Friday, September 19
Another day of oppressive silence, the kind that would drive Trappist monks to start drinking their own drink. It's another day in the traditional Japanese office. Here, you leave your life and vocal chords at the genkan with ohayo gozaimasu. Cherish those two words because you won't get another for many a long hour. Take your seat for the ritual, another day has begun. Here, the only sounds are keyboards tapping lightly and the right wing loudspeakers blasting now and then as the bigot trucks make their procession to Yasukuni Shrine. An earthquake. No reaction. Better be stoic than show expression. We Japanese are used to earthquakes. Here, in the silence, your once-held wonder at this strange and wonderful society gets trampled underfoot. The girl in front of me sits with perfect posture, the model of efficiency, but surfs the Internet all day long, usually putting in a couple of hours overtime too. Here, looking the part is the main requirement. It is a world of misekake, the sham.