A quite amazing apologist!

I picked up this story from reddit about a foreigner working night-shifts at Watami chopping up veggies, and it surely must be another case of Poe’s Law? For instance:

There were 16 people in our Cut department. The manager came down with 15 disposable ball pens attached to a nice neck string. The even had a label on them with the name of the worker.  Well guess who did not get one?  Kevin. […] It was after that I opened my eyes and saw that actual efforts were made to keep me in a remedial station for my entire term with the company. This is where I remain after 2 years. I do not blame the management. I am sure my peers have expressed the idea that most of the tasks would be too difficult.

Oh dear… There’s apologism and there’s being a doormat.

Leave a comment ?

45 Comments.

  1. Another amazingly ‘over-qualified’ westerner stuck in a shitty job in Japan. But this one bends over faster than VK when it comes to authority.

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  2. Perhaps his co-workers resent him because he holds both a undergraduate degree and an MBA. When I was 20 I worked in a restaurant where the dishwasher was a doctoral candidate in philosophy. The cooks gave him a pretty hard time. Such gems as, ” He’s very philosophic when it comes to washing dishes……” He didn’t last long and why would he.

    Why is doing that if he doesn’t have to? There’s opportunity’s I’m sure for an MBA in Japan.

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  3. http://thegreatglobaldivide.wordpress.com/2012/05/03/how-i-feel-about-non-japanese-name-usage-in-japan/

    Just some background on good old Kevin. Turns out he’s a 50-year-old ALT who cuts vegetables in the factory between teaching gigs, has a hang-up with names, and still can’t quite figure out ‘Japanese Culture’.

    This is one of those gaijin things, where they have the totally wrong idea about some sort of local custom but then get angry at the locals for not following their mistaken assumptions of what that custom should be. After all Japanese people never address each other without the correct suffix attached right…..it’s an iron-clad rule from the Heian Dynasty!

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  4. KT88 (retiring rojin KB部 member)

    Wow, I guess there’s no age limit on weeaboo. We’re all on our own journeys, no?

    Is there an Ayn Rand quote I canuse here? :wink:

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  5. @Greg: iLD will agree with me when I say there’s nothing inherently wrong with doing manual labour; indeed my employer sends all new grads to a production line for a month as part of their training, and then sends many mid-career employees to Yodobashi Camera, etc, for a period on the front-line, but there’s a hell of a lot wrong with accepting being a doormat and being ostracised from the group by not getting your own ballpen.

    I see on his blog he says:

    I speak Japanese but never really had the need to learn the kanji characters for HAKUSAI or TAMANEGI in Japanese. I can read it but writing it is a challenge.

    Here’s a tip: write it in hiragana once, then before you come to the job the next day, practice the kanji; hell, just stick to the kana, as I would bet that not everyone is writing in kanji, especially not the non-standard 葱 character. Statements like that reinforce my feeling that you are making yourself into a doormat, and reinforcing the stereotype that foreigners cannot master the language.

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  6. Good on him for going down to Hello Work or whatever and trying to break out of his shitty middle aged teaching life. His bakery job amidst a forest of nubile saplings sounds like a nice break from the Internet but I don’t get za Watami thing at all. I’ve read the bits of his blog where he talks about being employed in the United States of America when I was hungover and it’s just as shitty and weird. He’s obviously a misfit and the whole Jiro Shacho at the American Village in the Dutch Theme Park Story is so far beyond me I can’t even begin to understand it.

    Mr Ken’s right. We all love fucking with the new hires from design when they’re down on the factory floor for a month but at the end of the day they’re mostly in the way and we’re worried they’re gonna fuck up and hurt something or themselves.

    But a 50 year old man who claims to be bilingual on his blog but can’t write the word ‘onion’ at the end of his shift when his job is chopping onions? It’s well possible that Kevin’s co-workers and ‘new management’ are arseholes, we’ll never know, but come on, he’s a dork right? Am I right?

    His schtick of ‘not blaming the company, they are wonderful’ applies to his USA stories as well so fuck knows what that little self-flagellating fetish is all about…

    I feel like I’ve just looked at an ugly family’s photo album but fuck, at least he’s trying, no matter how horrible he may be at it. I’ll take a sadly whipped old man like Kevin over a fresh-faced eikaiwa jock with a smarmy blog any day….

    It’s a touch more keeping it real than our Loco whining on his blog about his dispatch company still like, expects him to work when he’s already a famous writer IN JAPAN.

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  7. The Chrysanthemum Sniffer

    “What do I hope to achieve after more than 20 years in Japan? The answer is simple, relevance.”

    I feel like crying.

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  8. “As an added bonus, most of the staff are young females and are as hot as what comes out of the ovens there.”

    Yeah, well, I had a feeling the commentary would eventually come around to this.

    I mean… there’s certainly nothing wrong with a guy admiring the *cough* scenery while on the job, providing he a) write about it in the middle of a supposedly serious article about his experiences in the workplace, and b) remembers that he’s freaking fifty and quite possibly the same age as the hot young females’ dads.

    Hmm. Maybe this is the crux of his whole problem… :twisted:

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  9. As a followup to my previous comment, quoting from his article about naming conventions:

    “They introduce themselves by last name only, for example, ‘Hello, I am Bush’ or ‘Nice to meet you, my name is Johnson.'”

    One can read a severe case of repression into sentences like this.

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  10. Flattered to have reached your corner of the web, I guess. After all tggd is my first attempt at blogging ever. Sorry it wasn’t as educational as it could have been. It’s my life for the time being. All the best.
    Kgo

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  11. Ummm men don’t stop looking at women just because they ‘reach a certain age’ where they could have technically created them. The pharaohs of Egyot used to fuck their daughters senseless and none of their buildings have fallen down.

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  12. Hi O’Leary!

    If you have any questions about working in a factory, ask away! We’re a fountain of technical and cultural knowledge here, and you seem to be foundering….

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  13. Yea. Was wondering what kind of job you had suggested for me. An ALT wasn’t something I did long. Don’t know where that came up. There is always a reason for everything.

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  14. Well, that wasn’t really a question but if you’re still in a muddle about how your coworkers should address you after two years on the job you need someone’s help!

    Most people call me by my first name at the factory, sometimes with a suffix attached. It all depends on status, situation, and relationships. See? That was easy! Now how else can we help you not fuck up your life more than you already have?

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  15. @iLikedolphins: Come on, you don’t have to be a cunt all of the time.

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  16. I don’t see you trying to help Kevin to fit in at work. At least he’s put in the effort to get a real job. It’s just so gaijin to falter at the starting post though. Seriously all he has to do is relax and improve his banter with his coworkers, they’ll come to trust him and he’ll end up part of the team.

    All this other bullshit about Japanese naming conventions and ballpoint pens is just a mark of a failure to communicate. Either that or he works for dickheads, but that can’t be a coincidence for EVERY job you’ve worked at right Kevin?

    After seeing so many of these stories on the Internet you know they’re all the same. If a guy like Kevin put as much energy into building relationships as he does dissecting them in his mind, we wouldn’t even be reading his crazy ass stories.

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  17. Ok. Got the gist of your site. Not my cup of tea. Not healthy for me right now. All the best.
    Kgo

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  18. @iLikedolphins: or Mr well adjusted. See, he wasn’t a Deb or loco. Just a guy dealing with some hardship in his life. Did you read the blog? If so you would of seen that and showed a little more compassion. Your second answer was more productive but a bit too late.

    Sorry Kevin, best of luck.

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  19. Yeah I read the blog. Didn’t see any hardship. Guy has a sweet deal at the bakery with sweaty faced teens. Cuts onions part time but can’t get any respect. Is convinced the ‘Japanese’ aren’t using the right suffixes when it comes to his royal self. (Because everyone in Japan refers to the new guy on the onion chopping line as the Queen of Persia.) Blind to his own incompetences. Racist to the core.

    I thought this site was based on the precept of pusillading prejudiced pomposity, a few sad faced Rainman posts from ‘Kevin’ and you lose your nerve? Fuck you nerd. Buy the ticket. Take the ride.

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  20. “Certainly Japan, by no means is a perfect society. Being a foreigner in Japan who has earned more yen than dollars has taught me Japan is for the Japanese and only the Japanese. I am not nor will I ever be looked at as an equal member of their economy and society. I am not in the Japanese circle and my participation is pretty much at their pleasure.”

    -Kevin ‘Douchebag’ O’Leary

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  21. Oh shit! Someone’s soundin’ a little Debo Loco riiiiiight there

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  22. @Greg: Soz Greg, IMO iLD is right on with this one.

    Kebun’s out there on his own trip. That’s fine. We all are. Doesn’t mean he’s got some serious cultural adjustment/racism/self-esteem issues going on. You put yo life out on the net, you get what you get.

    It’s funny, common wisdom (oh the paradox, the irony) is that the older you get, the wiser etc…

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  23. @Greg:

    ILD needs *constant* affirmation in just how well he thinks he’s doing “as a gaijin”. If he didn’t keep reassuring us all the time just how much everyone treats him as a regular guy, one might start to worry that he was having problems.

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  24. Well, we should clear up some things.

    Like North America, it is exceedingly rude in Japan to ever call someone by their last name only

    Uh, no. At nearly every Japanese company I’ve worked at, 呼び捨て was the norm for managers addressing (male) subordinates. ~君 was not unheard of by older managers (it’s a bit of a douchebag move for a younger manager to pull a ~君 on a subordinate tho). Most offices are 呼び捨て for just males; most managers will use ~さん when addressing females.

    If you just joined a company, and are male, your age is irrelevant; you are below the bottomest totem pole. The janitor can probably yobi-sute your butt. Them’s the breaks.

    Although I can communicate at an adequate conversational level

    Besides not being as good at Japanese, I am also slightly hearing impaired in my right ear.

    Hmmmmm….

    Also, how can you tell that everything they say to you is ‘silly crap’ or ‘a waste of time’? They may have been trying for two years to train you, for all you know.

    “It was like she was speaking to a small child.”

    Well, if you can’t speak, read, or write the language…

    Just sayin’.

    I’m not quite sure why someone with an MBA would resort to working the night shift on minimum wage cutting up vegetables, but to each his own I guess.

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  25. You should try being a regular guy one day VK! Might erase some of those bad high school memories and help you break out of your English-teaching bubble!

    Sounds like Kev could do with a bit of a hand writing down how many onions he’s sliced. You could put your academic side to good use! :roll:

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  26. If you check his latest blog post you’ll note he was once the King of O’Leary Language Laboratories, a bubble-era money making machine with computers and tables and textbooks that he keeps in boxes.

    He is the guy from In Appropriate still chasing poon tang in the Bakeries of Western Japan.

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  27. Actually Mr-Urista-san, what O’Leary-kun has touched on has somewhat of a ring of truth to it. There is a pure blood Yamato tendency to over explain the steps involved in a process no matter the direction of the initial inquiry. It’s a tendency you can see in the thoroughness of written directions as well.

    I’ve always assumed it to be part of the issues of personal responsibility, after all if Rainman Kevin fucks up on the line it could well be considered the explainers fault. Go through all the steps and there is far less likelihood of making a mistake later on.

    Sure this might be annoying for a grown ass man with an MBA and a Food Hygiene certificate but Japanese factories are generally geared toward training young hires or dithering ancients. And I’m sure even some of the English-teaching crowd have run into this kind of rampant over-exposition in their dull, emotionally cut off lives.

    Where King Kevin gets it wrong is to assume its all about him. The Japanese talk to him like that because he’s a foreigner! It’s the gaijin complex innit?

    A complete failure to understand your environment and situation and an easy escape to blame the ‘other’. This is the offhandedly casual racism that must be rooted out if we are to move forward as immigrants. The weak and the cowardly wil not be tolerated in the new order. There are thousands of useless middle aged Japanese men like Kevin but your sympathies lie with his white skin and his English words eh Greg. Just a foreigner trying to get along.

    Forgive him his trespasses Lord for he knows not what he does. No. No more free passes for the Kevins of Japan, Asia, and the world.

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  28. KT88 (teh ivory phallus admirer)

    @iLikedolphins: Hey Dolphy, that was practically academic. (You secretly studying your own MBA or summit?)

    Be careful you might tread on some VK toes… then we’d have some real controversy around here.

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  29. Beneaththewheel

    At my (small) company I get called by my first name because that’s what people think Westerner’s like, and what people do with Western business partners.

    Some older people don’t add a -kun (they do for others) perhaps because they think it’s silly for a Westerner.

    Most people just use my first name as has been, and add -san at the end of it, including my direct kacho and bucho.

    I’d prefer to be called by my last name, but I ultimately don’t care. I raised the issue once drunk at a work party, and we had a nice talk.

    Perhaps that is apologism, but I’m much more concerned with how I’m actually treated, and I feel I’m treated equally, for better or worse.

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  30. @iLikedolphins: He’s a guy with some emotional issues not a guy trying to pass himself as a journalist/novelist, activist or Japan expert on racism with a black slant. He not peddling a novel but just writing another Japan related blog. There’s a multitude of them and how ken found it is beyond me. If he started peddling a book, trust me I would lose all sympathy. He has a few misconceptions about Japan. These are probably exacerbated by his emotional state but haven’t we all had misconceptions about Japan?

    My sympathies lie with him because Ken put it up on this site. Has there ever been an article or blog written by a Japanese person criticized on this site? Far and few between. We predominately attack white people don’t we?

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  31. Yes! Because they are awful.

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  32. @Greg:

    We predominately attack white people don’t we?

    Well it’s not listed on this site for nothing.

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  33. From the comments:

    “Japanese people can be extremely rigid and racist in ways they will never understand”

    They simply cannot fathom their own rigidity. I believe it’s from a lack of critical thinking!

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  34. KT88 (teh ivory phallus admirer)

    @iLikedolphins: “They simply cannot fathom their own rigidity. I believe it’s from a lack of critical thinking!”

    Indeed, perhaps they could start teaching it in non-Japanese weeaboo schools?

    And boy oh boy did I have a belly laugh about this:

    “We predominately attack white people don’t we?”

    Oh, shucks, golly-gee. It has taken a while but WASPy angst is even infiltrating this horrible little haven.

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  35. @KT88 (teh ivory phallus admirer): But it’s true. When has this site ever looked at a Japanese persons blog and tore them a new asshole? We briefly looked at Sora’s..

    No waspy angst here, just curious. ILD thinks all white people are horrible, I assume he means foreigners. I would agree, many foreigners in Japan were emotionally stunted children. Not all, but many. I miss few of them and hope to never see most again. But, there are no horrible Japanese bloggers out there?

    For reference for those who don’t recall his site.
    blog.goo.ne.jp/kentanakachan

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  36. @The 2-Belo: That’s funny. Remarkably I’m only half of those things on that list. I’m not the cliche I thought I was. Banksy’s overrated but I love puppy’s.

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  37. KT88 (a proclivity pedantic panties pulled plentifully)

    @Greg: Fairz enuff. Let us not forget the true function of the living Zen poetry of iLD… let us not forget.

    I think however, in a moderately serious answer to your question, although perhaps not the aim, it appears that the function of this blog is to gingerly land upon interpretations, depictions and tropes of Japan as they are created by NJs (ooh, I used a Debism).

    These NJs are of a particular bent – overwhelmingly monolingual, most often (yet certainly not always) white misfits (but not the good kind like on the TV show, season 5 was a corker, no?) with emotional and or psychological issues related to culture shock whose views have somehow achieved a visibility directly disproportionate to their accuracy and/or veracity.

    TL;DR? Japologism – where you get to kick the shit out of dysfunctional man-children who post made up whoopee in Japan on the internet.

    amirite? For your reference, the things (or is it stuff?) that bogans like is a similar theme (although woefully outdated, un-updated)…

    Or is it just me reading all this wrong. Oh my life is a mess. Time to blog about my oppression and lack of equality as it qualitatively effects my day to day life in Japan…

    Oh, wait. I’ve got nothing to write about.

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  38. @Greg- agree about cutting some slack for someone not peddling his wares on the market. “A guy with a blog about Japan” is the contemporary version of the oft-heard exclamation heard circa 1996 among eikaiwa teachers (yes, I admit doing that gig…)- the infamous and eye-roll inducing “yeah, I’m writing a novel based on my Japan experience”.

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  39. @KT88 (a proclivity pedantic panties pulled plentifully): “A corker” Why am I the only one that doesn’t get Big Bang Theory? It’s not that clever!

    Second paragraph from the bottom for most and a stab at pseudo-celebrity for a few.

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  40. Oh, I’m sorry, I didn’t realize Mr Ken had set this website up for emotionally-retarded racists to garner sympathy, my mistake.

    After all, us foreigners need to blow off steam from time to time, get a few little digs in at the natives, payback time, eh boys? Can’t see the harm, he’s one of us innit.

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  41. @Andrew in Ezo: I was distracted by my toast. I remember those books collecting dust at Kinokuniya. I once read the publishing industry published such books as a scheme to right off taxes. Yeah, they factor in poor performers purposely but those days may be over now that the industry’s sales aren’t what they once were.

    Japan needs another Japan expert with a blog like the world needs another singer songwriter. Blah!

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  42. KT88 (sporadic terebi spectatah!)

    @Greg: Bigge bhang feery? Never seen it. Misfits on the other hand… Sure there was no Nathan but Rudy worked well. Favourite line of the the season “Couldn’t you just cum on his shell”. Hmm, seems context is important to the you more there… oh well and err… oh! and what Dolphii said.

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  43. @KT88 (sporadic terebi spectatah!): Oh the Brit series. Heard of it but have never scene it.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mee4fYr8N_A

    Looks funny. That Chan 4 produces some racy stuff.

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  44. I’ll be the Curtis to dolphin’s self hating Malcolm. Move on up my white brother.
    Be careful of Captain Corduroy and Hypno Toad and you just might make it.

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  45. To be clear, I’m more into practicing self-love. It’s the Baka Gaijin that I can’t abide. I want to ethnically cleanse them.

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