If you can’t take your work home, just build a new home at work.
It may not look that way when he’s chowing down on 1,000 slices of cheese or blasting his junk with icy cooling spray, but Mr. Sato, RocketNews24’s crack Japanese-language correspondent, has a delicate creative process that belies the chaotic nature of his finished articles. Between bouts of concentrated madness, he likes to isolate himself from the rest of the world, letting his mind heal and his spirit reform, before throwing himself into his next endeavor.
That presents a bit of a problem, though. Like most Japanese workplaces, RocketNews24 headquarters has a very open floor layout. There are no cubicles, and even our boss, man of the people that he is, doesn’t have a private office.
And yet, Mr. Sato longs for a space of his own. Unfortunately, RocketNews24 is located in Tokyo’s Shinjuku neighborhood, one of the most expensive districts of one of the most expensive cities in the world. As such, expanding the office to give Mr. Sato his own territory is out of the question, so he decided to take matters into his own hands and do the next best thing.
The other day, while we were all hard at work, there was a knock at the door. Standing there was a deliveryman with a package from Amazon, which Mr. Sato signed for with an expectant grin on his face.
We were puzzled as he opened the flat cardboard container and started pulling still more sheets of cardboard from it. But after a few moments, what he was doing became clear.
Mr. Sato was building a small cardboard house in the middle of our office.
This was no cheap shack, either. As we stole glances at Mr. Sato’s progress (being careful not to make eye contact, of course), we noticed that the light brown structure was equipped with a functioning doorknob and even an operating push-button doorbell.
Artistic type that he is, Mr. Sato had even selected a model with stars and a crescent moon cut out of the roof, no doubt so that he could gaze up at the celestial bodies to help him overcome bouts of writer’s block.
And finally, to show that the house was occupied, Mr. Sato wrote his name on a placard on the front door, as is the custom in Japan.
The whole thing took about 20 minutes to put together, and didn’t require any tools or cutting. While we were happy for the guy, by this time we were hoping he’d get back to work. Thankfully, he was thinking the same thing…
…and so he hopped back into his chair and started typing away!
However, this is technically a children’s playhouse (which Mr. Sato ordered through Amazon Japan here for 4,644 yen [US$40]) not a piece of office equipment. As such, it wasn’t really designed to be placed on top of a chair. But Mr. Sato was growing increasingly fond of his new home, which is the first single-family house he’s ever owned. And so instead of emerging from it in order to sit at his desk like a normal human being, he solved the problem in a different way…
…by claiming a portion of the office floor and bringing his laptop with him.
With this, Mr, Sato had finally achieved his long-held aspiration of being able to work from home,
▼ He also had a partial view of his coworker’s butt, though we’re not sure if that has a positive or a negative effect on his property value.
In order to make their residence really feel like a home, some people like to throw house-warming parties. However, such a thing would run counter to Mr. Sato’s primary objective of isolating himself from the rest of society. So instead, he settled on asserting his identity as a homeowner by ordering food to be delivered to his house. Granted, he didn’t have a phone line in his cardboard palace, but that wasn’t a problem.
▼ “Hey! I’m hungry over here!”
This caused everyone in the office to quickly shout “Not me!” The slowest to respond, though was Japanese-language reporter P.K. Sanjun, who then made the trip across the street to the local branch of the Lawson convenience store chain and brought back a cup of ramen and a yakitori chicken skewer for his vocally famished coworker.
He also provided Mr. Sato with a can of happoshu, Japan’s ultra-low malt beer, in hopes that if Mr. Sato were full and buzzed, he’d succumb to sleepiness and let the rest of us do some actual work.
Luckily, it did the trick. Mr. Sato retracted back into the walls of his home, and after a few last looks out the front peephole, all was quiet.
Now if we could just figure how to make him come out again.
[ Read in Japanese ]