Thursday, November 29, 2012

"Thank you for looking so tired"

Japanese people work very, very hard. Exhausted salarymen (corporate businessmen) sleeping on the Tokyo subway are a common sight. When we were in Japan, our tour guide told us that the greatest compliment anyone can receive from their boss is to be told: "Thank you for looking so tired."


This must be why there are a gazillion vending machines in Japan selling an infinite variety of canned coffees. Endless caffeine is what keeps salarymen and other workers going.

I snapped this photo of a typical canned coffee machine in a hotel near Mount Fuji. BOSS COFFEE / COFFEE BOSS says it all, really. Drink coffee, work harder, keep your boss happy!


In this ancient land of tea, tea houses and the tea ceremony, coffee is marketed as a hip foreign American drink. In advertising, Japanese canned coffee imagery often uses western spokespeople and English words or phrases.

[First photo from the internet; second photo by Debra She Who Seeks]

29 comments:

Sulky Kitten said...

I was reading that the subway is a nightmare to travel on at certain times because millions of people squeeze themselves breathless to get on it. I would hate to have to be that deferential to my boss.

DEZMOND said...

I admire Japanese discipline and hardworking efforts.

Laurie said...

the work ethic and loyalty is amazing isn't it.I find i fascinating the way coffee has taken hold in Japan, I have a few favorite Japanese blogs and they always love to show photos of their coffee and pastry for morning meals, they all seem to take cream too, the green tea would be healthier.My friends who live in Japan say thats why the young are getting fat, western pastries and coffee!

Linda Wildenstein said...

to be that diligent is a matter of honor for the Japanese....and I love that about their thought process. So many here in the US just got to work for the paycheck not to do the job and think that is good enough. They have no honor. I find that hard to comprehend. A days slacking for a days pay vs work hard and make a living.

Jane of The Jewels said...

I had heard the work ethic of the Japanese is very important to them, but this is ridiculous!!

turquoisemoon said...

Agree with Jane... I still have a part time gig and it amazes me to watch this young group of "workers"...They really don't work!!! But that's a subject for an entire blog...

Ken said...

Being the boss, I have nobody to thank me for looking so tired.

I can however smell the distinct aroma of this mornings coffee, beginning to waft through the house.:)

Anne Huskey-Lockard said...

You know, I had to read this twice.
I believe in hard work, but not to the point of physical wipe-out....maybe because I have been there so often and know what it does long term to the body.
It is rather sad that Japanese culture is moving into more Western things.....I am a coffee fiend and like nothing more in the afternoon than green tea and time to rest.
I guess things evolve.

XXOO~~
Anne

A Beer for the Shower said...

I've never been on subway that felt safe enough to merit me sleeping. How odd.

Also, COFFEE BOSS IS THE BOSS OF THEM ALL. What a strong tagline. I want to buy this coffee already and I know nothing about it.

heartinhand said...

Oh, to be praised for looking tired LOL! I'd be a hero for sure!

mxtodis123 said...

I should snap a picture of the crew here on my job at the end of the day. We'd fit right in. (Chuckle).
Mary

Laeli said...

My husband would love workers like that! He has mostly slackers,lol

laughingwolf said...

good they're into coffee... just hope they keep their trad tea ceremonies... exquisite, from pics i've seen....

Martina said...

I would love to visit Japan some day. Their culture fascinates me.

Jeanne said...

The saying, Live to work or Work to Live comes to mind.... I wonder what their work/life balance is?

CraveCute said...

This is actually quite sad. :(

Em said...

Not long ago I watched the movie Happy, which had within it a little about KarĊshi, or death from overwork. http://www.thehappymovie.com/
So when I see this, I think of that. It's a very sad thing.

Riot Kitty said...

I've found that making sure my boss has coffee keeps both of us happier!

mrsduncanmahogany said...

My son has this lifelong connection with Japan. I will tell him that if he goes to live in Japan he has to get used to being tired and pleasing the boss! My boss always tells me I look tired. I am going to explain to her why now....

Plowing Through Life (Martha) said...

They have a reputation for being hardworking and disciplined, but this seems like a little much. I wonder how it affects their health.

Francie M said...

Fascinating culture. Black or white, not much grey. Wonder if hard working women are praised for looking tired??

Introverted Art said...

I love Japonese culture. My aunt's husband, Uncle Nelson, is nisei, or first generation born outside Japan (secind generation). I spent some holidays with Bachan and Dichan. I would love to visit it one day....

Magic Love Crow said...

I think this is very interesting! I give them credit for working so hard, but I think it's kind of sad in a way too.

Kay G. said...

Oh my, being praised for looking tired? I am in the wrong country!

JACKIESUE said...

I always thought tea had more caffeine than coffee,

Jim said...

Somebody in this house would really be interested in trying BOSS!!! Interesting phenomenon and a 'cultural twist' from here.

sophie...^5 said...

SOme people just can't keep their lips zipped...gimme a BOSS please!

Guillaume said...

Not sure, I'd like to work in Japan. And it is a shame coffee is getting more popular.

Sarita Rucker said...

That's an interesting compliment. If I were an employer I would want my employees to look awake, not tired. Awake people are probably more productive.