26 February 2009

The Furious Guide to Being Passive Aggressive in a Japanese Office Environment

Or, "How To Be An Asshole So Subtly That No One Really Notices" (volume 1)

1. If someone leaves anything on your desk on days you aren't there, hide it on the days that you are.

I've had huge stacks of marked tests, sample MEXT-approved textbooks and a big bag of white rice (only in Japan) waiting for me on my desk after a couple being away for a couple of days. While there's a 99% chance that if it happens, this belongs to a teacher directly beside you who forgot you actually work there, studies have shown [citation needed] that quietly picking up this object up, bringing it to an empty table nowhere near the offender's desk and discretely abandoning it sends a firm but absolutely innocuous message. The first time you'll get an apology from the offender, and after that they'll keep quiet.

2. If you forget your lunch, there's always omiyage.

Shiroi-koibito and day old green tea are part of a balanced lunch.

Plus, Shirokoibito was my club name back in Roppongi in the 80's.

Surely, no one will notice a few extra missing, but they may quite possibly notice those few extra wrappers on the edge of your desk and wonder who the hell you think you are.

3. Cut someone off when they say goodbye

If you're in the process of stealthily "going home for lunch", and someone catches you red-handed and begins to say "otsukaresama desh---" [have a nice d---], cut them off with a friendly, if not brisk "konnichiwa!" You're the forty-seven ronin, and the front door is Kira Yoshinaka and Nishimura-sensei is Prince of Sendai [see below]. Right?

You gotta do what you gotta do, man.

4. Laminate shit.

That's what the laminating machine's there for.

5. If you make a spelling or grammar mistake in class, blame it on your dialect.

This happens to the best of us, where the teacher -- who obviously has read "The Furious Guide to Being Passive Aggressive in the LL Room", or felt scorned by what they read in "Your ALT is Just Not That Into You" (both available from Doubleday) -- smugly points out an obvious mistake you made in front of the whole class, and it's always embarrassing, unless you act a bit holier-than-thou, up on your English high-horse, and say that they're wrong and it's actually a very common way of saying it in your own dialect, and then indignantly lament the misfortunes of the Americocentric English education system.

If used properly, this guide will help bring about antipathy, foster a vague infamy, halt pesky enkai invitations and help cement negative stereotypes about Westerners.


Gorrozolla said...

I am on the edge of my seat for the later volumes. pure gold. I think I smell Pulitzer.

Adam said...

I think the desk bit is brilliant. I would normally just push it to the side and ignore the shit on my desk. But this is better I think.

Michael said...

The desk thing works too. Well, it doesn't necessarily stop people from doing it, but they'll at least accept that they have to make a choice between not leaving papers your desk or being subtely told to go f**k themselves.

Adrien S said...

It seems you have mastered the art of being an ALT.