Note to readers: If you are Japanese, please accept my apology in advance.
In an elevator, Sony starts laughing. Hua-hua-hua. “Hey. Look at me,” he says. “I’m a salaryman.” Drunk on a full liter of gin, he is accompanied by six of his colleagues. All are salarymen. Sony continues. “Karoshi” he says, acknowledging a recent conversation. “I am honored to take his place.” The salarymen nod this with only a few hums. Death, of course, is a heavy matter. Especially when it’s the death of a colleague. Sony, though, never as one to let a bad vibe linger, switches gears. “Let’s watch the Giants and drink beers and hit on hostesses” he says. The salarymen chuckle boorishly. Sony feeds on their enthusiasm. “Tell the officelady to tell the careerwoman she brings me honor.” Hua-hua-hua-hua. “Every time I see her, I stutter, like a child seizuring to a Pikachu.”
The elevator door opens on the 32nd floor. The salarymen step out and are greeted by a secretary. Ramen. Sony’s personal secretary. “Officelady” he says, holding down a gin-fueled belch. “There is some business to attend to, you know.” He says this to her and nothing else. Causing a pause by everyone.
One of the salarymen taps Sony on his shoulder and whispers in his ear. Grinning, Sony nods, now reminded, he breaks into song. He parodies, on-the-fly, the theme song to the children’s cartoon show Pokemon. The American-English version of the song but who cares, (why should that be peculiar?) Sony is a 45-year-old man living in Japan in the present year and everyone in his presence knows these lyrics just as well as he does. How could this be, you might wonder. Well, Sony’s a salaryman, Goddamnit. And he earns his salary in the entertainment Industry. Under Kikkoman Productions. The guys responsible for sending Pikachu overseas in the first place. It was kikkoman. With industry icon Kyocera Mitsubishi (now retired) at the helm. Sony’s idol. At that time, Sony was just starting out with the company, but unlike his idol, who worked his way up through ranks as an officeworker, Sony was a salaryman from day one, coming in as a touted recruit from The University of Tamagotchi, a prestigious feeder school to this industry. To this day, Pokemon is the crowning achievement of Kikkoman. It is the flagship franchise of their company.
“I want to be, the very best, like no salaryman before.” The other salarymen chime in to assist. Each one stomps forward, singing in unison: “DUN, DUN, DUN DUN.” Elated, Sony gets even more into it, pumping his fist, closing his eyes as hard as he can. “To work my way, to the window desk, and from there to the top floor.” He holds the final R for a solid five or so seconds. “SALARYMAN” the others shout to end it. Hua-hua-hua-hua-hua.
Ramen stares blankly. Unsure of how to respond, or if even to nod at this nonsense. Sony, still chuckling, “hua-hua-hua,” as obnoxiously as ever, apparently enjoying her reticence. “Yeah,” he tells her, “You tell her that, officelady.” The salarymen roar. Hua-hua-hua. “Cruisin’ down Shibuya in my TL,” Sony drags on. Enjoying things maybe too much. They chuckle, less vigorously. Ramen reminds herself she doesn’t hate her job, but definitely her boss, at least most of the time, she definitely hates him.
Awkwardly, she attempts to humor him with a feigned smile. While Sony, and the six salarymen standing behind him, watch eagerly, awaiting her response. “SALARYMAN!” one of them blurts. Unable to resist. Hua-hua-hua-hua. Ramen jerks a quick smile. But can’t bear to hold it. She looks as if is she is tasting something sour. Sony scowls at this. He glances back at the other salarymen to see if they’ve noticed. Then promptly, back to her he directs his disgust. He is embarrassed. And massively drunk. He is also an asshole (as if that needs to be said.) Sony is a highly functioning alcoholic, although this is not the cause of his assholeness, in fact, he is far more an asshole when sober. “Hua-hua,” he mutters. “Officelady.” Ramen responds impassively. And Sony, like the lightswitch that he is, from solemn to chipper resumes in song. This time without parody. “Oohh! You’re my best friend,” and belches.