A Fecal Truth behind the Burst of the Bubble

Sunday, May 15 2011 @ 06:35 AM JST

Contributed by: Y.Yamamoto

The waitress puts a plate in front of me with a piece of chalky Camembert on it. I glance round the room and a feeling of violent disgust comes over me. What am I doing here? What are these people doing here? Why are they eating?
- Jean-Paul Sartre


I have been living alone for a decade by now. Since I don't like to cook, I always eat out. The places I can barely afford to frequent for my meal are all small eateries in this neighborhood. That means I am always forced to eat junk food, while hearing other diners dishing the dirt at the nearby tables although I have no intention to eavesdrop at all. Information these brain-dead people are shuffling around among themselves purely on an ear-to-mouth basis reminds me of a female monster I got associated with in 1989. I have encountered many women who were gifted with both charms and intellect. So this extraordinary person was the only speck on my 75-year life.

On the eve of the burst of the bubble economy of 1990, I was a senior manager at the Japanese subsidiary of a rotten Swiss trading company named Siber Hegner. And I was living alone just like I am today. Toward the end of the 1980s a Japanese executive named Akihiro Sumitomo had started insinuating me into hiring this woman, named Keiko Inoue, as a manager in my shop. The tricky and pushy executive assured me that she had proved an exceptionally competent IT manager when she was his direct report in an American company he was from. The bastard added that she also had very good skills in communicating in English. I was skeptical because it was quite likely that he was setting a honey trap for me on behalf of the Swiss CEO by the name of Kurt E. Sieber who was dying for a good reason to get rid of me. I was the only manager around who was not a sycophant.

But I said to myself: "Why don't I just take her as my IT manager? If the broad turns out little more than good boobs, still this could be the last harvest I could reap from my hard work during the high-growth era which is coming to a screeching halt now." Actually it didn't take me a month until I realized Sumitomo had been lying about the bitch.

One day, Inoue came to my office and said: "Mr. Yamamoto, I heard you are currently living alone. I really sympathize with you because you must have great difficulty working from early morning till midnight and traveling around all the time, without a mate who personally looks after you." Soon we made love. A week or so later, Inoue came to my office to tell she had filed for divorce to become my mate. She added: "I will bring my older son with me. I hope you get along with him and he likes you as well."

This is how I became her live-in boyfriend and stayed with her and her son until 1997. These were the post-bubble days I was struggling to reform our organization which was already swimming in the pool of red ink.

Actually, she was yet another idiot; she had no computer-literacy, business-literacy or English-literacy. And yet, she didn't have to study hard to improve because now she had a good personal coach in those areas. She didn't even have to pay tuition because it was me that was supposed to pay something for all this arrangement. This way I was exploited financially, sexually, and linguistically in the next seven years. She kept drinking all along.

In a sense, the Inoue broad was an exceptionally honest person in that she was quite sachlich. Especially she was explicit when it came to sex and excrement. In the morning, at least once a week, she would tell me to do shopping on my way home for foodstuff to feed the three of us. To be more specific. she said:

"Why don't you bother to buy us our fecal material at the supermarket this evening?"

Over time, she found herself in an awkward situation because of her relationship with her boss. So she decided to move on to the Japanese subsidiary of Siemens AG. I had to write her application letter and resume in English as well as a prompt for the anticipated questions by the English-speaking German interviewer. Siemens bought her because I exerted every effort to hype the empty-headed applicant. After her personal coach walked away, she had to further move on to the consulting arm of IBM Japan, my alma mater, presumably because IBM has a tradition to allow its subsidiaries to stick to local languages in intracompany communications.

Sumitomo was always willing to prostitute himself for the expat. Initially he must have thought he would be able to ruin the entire career of Sieber's archenemy, or at least neutralize him. But when I left the bitch the way I did, he knew he had failed. Since then he made every effort, from different angles, to make my retirement as disgraceful as he could. Finally the born con man, as his former colleagues at the American company called Sumitomo, fled the drowning Swiss company when Diethelm Keller Holding, Ltd. acquired it at a fire-sale price.

A couple of weeks ago, I ran into the bitch in Yokohama Chinatown. The alcoholic, now in her late 50s, said her career as an IBM consultant is on a roll. I am sure she is teaching her Japanese clients how effectively to produce shit.

On the surface, the IBM consultant is not like any other Japanese woman. Aside from her exceptional explicitness and self-assertiveness, however, she is a typical Japanese.

About the time the bubble economy finally burst, it started to dawn on me that the gulf between me and my fellow countrymen was unbridgeable. And by the time the "boobs" burst, I realized that my conversation with any Japanese, especially male, almost always went round in circles like this:

Me: "Why do you work?"
Japanese: "Because I have to eat."
Me: "Why do you eat?"
Japanese: "You can't live without food."
Me: "What do you live for?"
Japanese:" We must feed our children."
Me: "Why do they have to be fed?"
Japanese: "They can't grow without food - and perhaps a good education."
Me: "Why do they have to grow in the first place?"
Japanese: "You are an impossible nutter."

In a shabby Chinese eatery I'm always reminded that the "lost 20 years" will never come back and that I remain an impossible nutter in this country where 100 million zombies are leading their purposeless lives.

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