Monday, 9 October 2006

Fear and Trembling

Just finished reading "Fear and Trembling" by Amelie Nothomb. Quite amusing but also annoying. Basically, Belgian girl (but Japanese born) goes to Japan to work for big corporation, thinks she has a massive career ahead of her, but bollockses it all up by a series of seemingly insignificant cultural mistakes which end up with being demoted to toilet cleaner for a year and looking out of her cleaning cupboard 395th floor window day dreaming.

She refused to resign before her years contract was up as this would be dishonourable. Shunting semi-digested rice and shashimi poo down the lav was clearly the more honourable option for her.

The moral of the story is, keep your mouth shut in a situation you are unfamiliar with and not give it large. People will think you are a prick no matter what culture you adopt.

She didn't keep quiet to find her feet and got slammed down big style and quick time. She turns up and thinks cos she speaks Japanese everyone will kiss her arse. They just thought she was an arrogant westerner, at best simple, at worst someone who was a serious threat to their jobs.

I thought she was a bit wet, if you're gonna be subservient in Japan, then do it full Kurosawa mediavel rural peasant style and prostrate yourself at the local feudal lords (or the head of the accounts department) feet begging for mercy whilst whimpering and screaming for forgiveness.

Either that, or go the other way and scheme to have your work colleagues killed when they dare to dishonour your family when they tell you the coffee you've made for them takes like shit.

The book sort of just fizzled out, no ritual suicides, no demands for fingers, no 50 foot high robot-lizard crushing the city, no aliens or exploding cars. I was hoping for a twist, but it just sort of ended with her handing in her resignation and going home to write books.

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