Full-time butlers are pretty hard to come by these days, so when we had the chance to meet one such professional in Japan, we leapt on the chance to ask him a bunch of questions to ask about his role—like how come they don’t wear coattails anymore?
With December less than two weeks away, Japanese companies are beginning to make preparations for their annual bounenkai (end-of-year) and shinnenkai (New Year) parties. Even if they’re the kind of people who sometimes duck out on after-work drinks with the boss, most Japanese employees are painfully aware that skipping the biggest corporate celebrations of the year is tantamount to career suicide.
Because large-scale events usually require more space than your average drinking party, many Japanese companies have recently been moving away from typical sit-down enkai banquets and are holding more Western-style events where staff are encouraged to move around freely and interact over a few drinks.
But according to a recent survey, these Western-style work socials are overwhelmingly unpopular in Japan. Here are the top seven reasons why.
It’s no secret that Japan may be headed for a bit of a labor crunch, as the population ages and many older workers reach retirement age with fewer young up-and-comers to replace them. And, while the Japanese government seems reluctant to take measures to replenish the shrinking workforce with foreign laborers, non-Japanese workers are nevertheless entering Japanese corporations and workplaces in record numbers.
But Japanese offices are also notorious for their long hours, slow pace of advancement, and frequent, long meetings. Traditional Japanese companies seem stuck in an old-school work culture even as companies in the rest of the world offer increasingly progressive work-life balance programs, workplace perks, and office hours.
With this stark contrast in mind, our Japanese sister site tracked down seven non-Japanese workers to get their for-realsies impressions of what it’s actually like to work at a Japanese company.
When was the last time you thanked your teachers for giving you homework or your boss for piling on the work? Probably never, right? A group of employees in China did something crazy last week, publicly thanking their higher-ups for giving them work.
For many young people in Japan, August means summer vacation, festivals and free time. For fourth-year university students however, it means time to start interviewing for jobs. The job-hunting process in Japan is long, grueling and very systematic, culminating in interview after interview for the jobless, soon-to-graduate, young adults.
Interviews can be nerve-wracking for even the most experienced candidates, but Japanese companies don’t always ask the most predictable questions. In fact, some of their questions can be downright weird. Many of these oddball interview questions, however, may not actually be legal.
If you are unemployed and living in Japan, we may have found a perfect job for you. No experience is necessary, it’s a pretty safe gig and you won’t have to do anything too difficult. You will, however, be a savior, a hero, and a knight in shining armor for one overworked, stressed-out, and understaffed, 7-Eleven store manager in Tokyo.
When you live in a cramped city like Tokyo, owning a pet is a luxury many people cannot afford. Apartments usually come with strict no-pets policies, and the only way Tokyo dwellers have been able to get their pet-fix is by visiting cat cafes. Sure, it’s nice to sip on a delicious drink while petting a purring kitty, but you can’t stay there forever. What are you supposed to do during those other, horrible cat-less hours of the day?
One company in Japan has come up with a solution. They’re bringing the soothing cat cafe experience to the office by filling their workplace with adorable cats.
There are many “symbols of Japan”–from Mt. Fuji to Akihabara, the country has numerous faces to the outside world. But regardless of what comes to mind when you think of the country, there’s a good chance that you’ll stop by one of its many convenience stores on the way to your destination. In many ways, the army of small shops that squat on half the corners from Hokkaido to Okinawa are the perfect symbol of the country. But it looks like the convenience stores of Japan are now facing a serious problem: They can’t find enough employees!
The Japanese work environment might qualify as a something of a business paradise because Japanese workers so rarely take a day off. They are instead known to put in tons of free overtime and often don’t use “sick leave“. There is even a word in Japanese for “death from overwork”: karoshi.
Despite the health risks, many won’t take the day off if they are feeling a little under the weather. But what do Japanese people consider “a little sick” and “really sick”? A survey was conducted aiming to answer that question. Do their answers line up with your own, or would you file them away under “only in Japan”?
Picture the scene. It’s 5pm on a Friday evening and you really, REALLY need (and deserve) a cold beer to reward yourself after a hard week’s work. But what’s that? Oh no! The boss wants you to do overtime!? Argh!
If this scenario sounds like the ninth circle of hell to you, fret not! RocketNews24 is here to bring you a genius new “life hack” which will enable you to achieve a state of blissful inebriation right underneath the boss’s nose, without even having to leave your desk! (Disclaimer: RocketNews24 is not responsible for any loss of earnings or reputation that may result from practicing this “experiment”. This post is for entertainment purposes only. Ahem.) Okay, Mr Sato, let’s see how it’s done!
It’s a stereotype about Japan that most people are familiar with – the Japanese work hard, give their lives to the company, and stay at work until after the boss has gone home. It’s a country where karoushi, or death from overwork, is a commonly-used buzzword. While some people might argue that the Japanese don’t actually work any harder than those in the west, it certainly seems that they’re working longer hours than the rest of us.
But as a consequence, how much sleep are they getting?
Some say that puns are the lowest form of humor–we say those people have no sense of humor! Of course, that’s not to say that all puns are comedic genius, a fact easily proven by turning on any used car lot commercial, but we love a good pun.
While not all puns are created equal, we have to say that our favorite puns often come from children. There’s something perfectly surreal about a child’s fumbling of language–but of all the puns we’ve seen, this might be one of the best…
When crazy ideas work, they can be genius. And if that little spark of genius makes our working day just that little bit easier to get through, it’s got to be applauded and shared.
So, without further ado, we bring you the foot hammock. With benefits for your physical and emotional well-being, there’s never been an easier way to rest your body and your mind while at work.
We’ve all been there. Maybe it was an ill-advised night out the day before or a colicky newborn that wouldn’t sleep or just the shitty weather, we’ve all had days at the office when we wanted nothing more than to curl up and take a nap. In fact, it’s more of a need than a want as you sit there, staring blankly at your computer screen, unable to put a coherent thought together. But sadly, napping at your desk can be seriously uncomfortable, not to mention grounds for termination.
If you absolutely must grab a few winks and are willing to take the risk, though, Twitter user @sui_gin has helpfully illustrated some possible sleeping positions in manga style.
During Japan university students’ final year, many go through a long, physically and mentally draining process of finding a job before they graduate; a process known as “shuukatsu.” Students don matching black suits and attend job fairs, company briefing sessions and employment seminars en masse in the hopes of obtaining a job offer, or “naitei.” Young people often complain about the soul-sucking system and how difficult it can be to land a job offer without completely abandoning your personality along the way.
Recently, an animated short film has been making waves among Japanese netizens for the horror movie-like way it portrays the difficult and often depressing job hunting process in Japan.
An investigation into the suicide of a police officer in a Tokyo police station has found that harassment from a superior contributed to his death. While the chief is now facing disciplinary action, it has again highlighted the problem of abuses of authority in Japanese workplaces, also known as ‘power harassment’, or pawahara in Japanese.
To all of our lovely women readers out there – have you ever felt betrayed by another female friend? Perhaps you were deceived and taken advantage of. Perhaps the coworker you trusted as your confidant was surreptitiously spreading scandalous rumors about you behind your back. Whatever the situation was, it was sure to have been an unpleasant experience.
A recent survey on popular Japanese site Mynavi Woman asked its female readers the same question as above. Dozens of women shed light about backstabbing friends and unbelievable scenes from the past. Have any of the following situations ever happened to you?
The Japanese division of Swedish furniture chain IKEA recently announced that they will make large changes to their job descriptions including the elimination of fixed-term contracts for part-time workers.
The new job descriptions are said to begin this September and aim to create equal treatment for their 3,400 employees in Japan. Reports suggest that they may raise the salaries of all part-time staff who make up 70% of the company’s work force.
There appears to be a generational shift in the workforce of Japan recently. New additions to companies labelled as “monster recruits” in the media, along with a reported 30% of new employees quitting in three years, are leading organizations to look into new ways to protect their human resource investments. Many of the following training methods have been carried out for decades but have been steadily growing in popularity among Japanese companies.