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"Letter-Letter 310"
November 5th, 2001

"Change is Certain"
"Ms. Osokumade Wants an Answer"
"After Looking Around..."  by CPK
"A Moment of Anger/Humor in the Prez's Office"
"Patriotism Without a Flag"  by MMH
"My Replacement"
"Our Trip to California"  by CPK
"It Shouldn't Matter, But....."
"Inefficient Efficiency"
"For the Sky People"
"Trips to Here & There"  by NBN
"Lunch With the Prez"
"BaHaHaHaHa!"  by CPK
"Payback for Opposing the Glue?"
"Time for Love..."
"Separate Cars"  by APP

"Change is Certain"     [Top of page]

When I began writing about the office in some detail, I wondered where the story would lead.  Considering the contentious nature of that office, I figured that things would come to a head sooner rather than later - and so, keeping that in mind, it's probably a bigger surprise that I lasted there as long as I did, rather than that my foes finally got the upper hand... and now here I am - with November to be my final month in that terrible place.

"Ms. Osokumade Wants an Answer"     [Top of page]
(November 5th, 2001  Yotsuya)

There was a general stand up meeting this morning... something that the company used to hold every Monday, but abandoned in favor of holding it in the conference room.  Next week, the meeting is back to the conference room and I am not to attend, so the situation begs the question - was I was a key reason for the old style stand-up meeting, as well as its content?  Basically, the Prez went on for about ten minutes about how bad things are now - and that, while it isn't something to get into a negative frame of mind over, the figures are not good, and so everyone ("minus a certain red-barbarian" he didn't say) needs to work hard so "we" can pull out of the slump.

It was a little strange for me standing there... with threats of low revenue naturally not worrying me, as I've already been cut from the payroll as of the end of the month.  I wondered what the other people were thinking, so I looked around the room and noticed that everyone had their eyes aimed in every direction except where I was standing..... until Ms. Osokumade looked my way and then asked about the meeting scheduled for next Monday.

This was answered by Mr. Chikuma, who said they would be deciding what to do about the spray glue at the next (closed) meeting on Monday.  This prompted several furtive looks in my direction, including a quick direct glance from Ms. Osokumade, who asked "What does that mean exactly?  Will we be making a binding decision at that time, or just discussing it?".  Mr. Chikuma did a PR mumbo-jumbo dance around her question, but Ms. Osokumade brought it up again - prompting more PR mumbo-jumbo dancing by Mr. Chikuma... so she asked her question a third time, and finally Mr. Chikuma realized that she just was not going to buy his song and dance, and was in fact demanding a real answer, so finally he, clearly irritated, agreed to send out an e-mail about it and leave it open to input from anyone interested during the week, and said that things would be decided in the (closed) meeting next week.

The meeting was followed by Mr. Chikuma (who sits immediately behind me... so close that we sometimes end up banging our chairs together) painstakingly building an address book for the first time - he had only used "Reply" and the one general address that automatically sends e-mail to the entire office before, but it wouldn't do for me to get any information on the company's final plan to (no doubt) put the issue of opposition to the use of toxic substances in the office to rest.  Their excuse?  That everyone in the industry is doing the same thing.

I find it interesting that guilty people always do that.  When responding to charges that they are guilty of doing something - something so clearly wrong that they cannot hide from it - they invariably say "But someone else is as bad/worse!".  It's gotten to the point where when I hear that, I automatically convert the words to: "Yes, it's true.  We are guilty.  We have no defense, but we intend to continue committing the offense - what are you going to do about it?"

"After Looking Around..."     [Top of page]

Date: Sun, 28 Oct 2001  -0600
From: CPK  [US]

..............  I was fired once too.  The Salon owner caught wind that I was "looking" for a new place of employment and schemed to beat me to the punch in hopes of retaining some of my clientele.  She prepared letters to send to my clients, encouraging them with a discount to return to her salon.  Not only was it a frustrating inconvenience, but it was such a disheartening shock to me, as I was raised by my parents to "work above and beyond the call of duty" in any situation.  So after years of loyal, hard work for this company, putting my heart into it's success, I was rewarded with the unthinkable... being fired!  I had always thought that would only happen to people who were lazy or dishonest.  As I said, I had been shopping for greener grass, but pretty much found that it's not much greener elsewhere, so I had not decided to move.  She had heard from another salon owner that I had been inquiring.  So, after being fired, I went into "booth rental" or freelance.  All of my clients that she sent letters to pretty much said, "Ha, not even if they were giving the haircuts away for free!" and remained loyal to me.  She eventually did the world a favor and got out of the business herself.


"A Moment of Anger/Humor in the Prez's Office"     [Top of page]

Not long after the morning meeting on Monday, the Prez called me into his office for a meeting - something neither of us was looking forward to I think.  It went about as expected - with him justifying the action by saying that as he has handed that power over to Mr. Zangyo, it's not his decision, and then launching into a list of reasons why I'm a bad employee.  From my end, I basically told him that he is being disingenuous.

But never mind that - it's an old story in this world, and not interesting to hear about even if it weren't.  What was funny in a moment of anger for me, was the Prez trying to dispel the tension by making a stupid joke and leaning back in his chair with his made-for-clients jolly laugh... I beamed pure anger straight back... and it was like something I've seen in movies and/or cartoons before.  The one side laughing - the other in a state of anger/power untouchable by sophistic tricks... and the laughing side's laughter then tapering off in the relentless glare of genuinely burning emotion.  So what's funny?  Nothing really - except the moment of seeing his stupid face melt from fake jolly laughter to nervous laughter and just at the point that the nervous laughter was growing weaker, the humor of the situation caused me to avert my eyes from that idiotic face and look out the window - with a feeling of reluctance... as, in effect, he ended up being successful in dispelling some of the tension, but I daresay not exactly in the way he had intended.  If he had any idea of how he looked to me then.....

"Patriotism Without a Flag"     [Top of page]

Subject: Dose of MMH 11/02/01
Date: Fri, 02 Nov 2001  -0800
From: MMH  [US]

I have become wary of the instant patriotism everyone is displaying.  There was a poll taken by a Luntz Research Company last week.  Of the 1,000 adults they polled, 63.5% indicated they were displaying the American flag on their home, 28.9% displayed the flag on their clothes, and 28.1% displayed the flag on their cars.  You cannot walk down a street without seeing at least one flag, if not a dozen.  As for myself, I'm not displaying the flag... which isn't to say I'm unpatriotic - I consider myself patriotic - it's just that I plan on continuing to show my patriotism as I have in the past, by voting in all the elections and by having an active role in my community.  For me, that role is provided by being an advocate for the Graphic Artists Guild and unions in general.  I am concerned that this flag waving accomplishes nothing but stirring the air.  If people feel the need to become involved, then step in and get involved.  Buying a flag and mounting it on your porch is not involvement, it is decoration.  I fear that sooner or later the flag will be packed up and made way for the traditional yearly decorations of the season, and along with it the potential for worthwhile involvement.

I heard from my aunt who recently moved away from Wyoming to Arkansas.  While my brother was fortunate enough to close on his house, my aunt's has not sold as quickly.  The downturn in the economy has everyone holding back on purchases.  The retailers have forgone Halloween and Thanksgiving decorations already and are launching in with Christmas decorations to get those gift dollars moving.  I am avoiding the Mall... I do not need to hear Christmas Muzac this early in the year.

Last weekend, the sun came out long enough to evaporate most of the puddles.  The ground was still wet, but there was work to be done in the yard.  I ran the chipper-shredder and eliminated a large pile of brush clippings that had been accumulating over the last few months.  We have begun spreading the mulch to keep the weeds out over the winter.  I ran the machine till it had burned all the gas in the tank and then stored it for the winter.  The grass could do with a mowing, but the power lawn mower is still on the blink... and it's too wet to mow anyway.

I heard from my brother Bbccc today.  He is currently in Cordoba, Argentina where he has spent the last few days in the mountains riding horses.....  (Boy, that sounds like a lot of fun!)

There is a disturbing trend occurring in the pen-pal world.  I have discussed it with a few of my fellow pen-pals and they have noticed it too.  Con artists are going to the sites where people request pen-pals and then after a few e-mails they tell a sad story of how they are in financial trouble and ask you for money.  Some of these con artists are very obvious, asking for your bank account number and the fax number at the bank etc.  Others are not so obvious.

I have a policy where I do not send anybody money, especially pen pals.  I am now posting this policy in my posted pen-pal descriptions to avoid further requests.

Now, I have pen-pals who have asked for money who I trusted on face value were not con artists, so I don't hold their request against them.  If I were between a rock and a hard spot I would be trying every avenue for help as well.  I just hope they don't hold it against me when I decline.  Just call me a cold-hearted guy who is more interested in his ongoing self-preservation.  I can't help it that I am a starving artist - not a Peace Corps worker.

One of Aabbb's coworkers has a daughter who is a Peace Corps Worker.  The mother keeps a map of the country her daughter is in with photos of her next to it in her office.  She is very proud of her daughter and I have to admit that I am very impressed as well.  I briefly thought of joining the Peace Corps back when I was in college, but after having spent some time in Japan, I wanted to wallow in American culture for a while.  Also, I was eager to start my career as a graphic artist, and at the time I did not think the Peace Corps had any need for an illustrator.

I am very excited about the upcoming convention.  I have reconstructed my presentation and am all set.  Every day this week I have been in teleconferences sorting out last minute resolutions.  It should be a hoot.

MMH     [Top of page]

"My Replacement"     [Top of page]
(Yotsuya war zone  2001/11/07  16:11)

My replacement was taken around the office and introduced to everyone today - including me.  She seems like a friendly and intelligent person.  (If she in fact is, boy has she picked the wrong bunch of dishonest people to spend part of her life with.)  I don't think I've ever been in the position of working on borrowed time after being fired and then being introduced to my replacement... it was a strange moment - one of those indefinable microseconds with a thousand feelings packed into the one moment in time.  We locked eyes, I mumbled hello in Japanese (not intentionally - it just stupidly came out) and she said hello back.  Hopeful her, and completely, totally, and irrevocably disillusioned me.....

As I was writing the above, I received a call from Mr. Newbie (the friendly guy from Canada who worked here for a grand total of a month before getting out - who told me at the time "Get out of that place man - it's toxic in there, both the air and the atmosphere").

"Wow!" thought I.  A friendly voice received in the depths of the toxic war zone!  I happily said hello to him ("Hey!  A human being - on planet earth!")  and cheerfully told him that I'd been fired - "I may end up starving, but at least I won't be in this toxic place!" I said, well aware that all ears in the room were straining to hear what I was saying.  I ended up saying far more than I should have in full hearing range of the room full of straining ears, but the contrast was an important reminder for me of just how unfriendly the JW office is, and that I really do have to get myself out of here as soon as possible.

"Our Trip to California"     [Top of page]

Subject: If you have time...
Date: Sun, 28 Oct 2001  -0600
From: CPK  [US]

We sold two horses to my husband's sister and aunt.  I'm very happy to have the herd thinned down to five for the winter.  We had to transport their horses from Minnesota to California, to me a good excuse for a vacation.  We have never gone anywhere without the kids, so I called this our honeymoon.  My mother-in-law took excellent care of the kids and animals while we were gone a week and two days.

A couple of days before our trip, something strange happened to me.  After work one night, my legs swelled up huge right above the knees.  I had no idea what was going on, so I called a 24-hour nurse to ask what might be going on.  She thought it might be an onset of arthritis, and suggested I put heat on them.  Well, by morning, they were so huge I could hardly stand or walk.  My mother-in-law took me into the orthopedic clinic.  It was a fluid buildup in my knees.  The doctor drained the fluid, which was a great relief - but an icky process.  I showed him a bite I had on my hip.  It looked to me like a mosquito bite, but had been persistent.  He thought I might likely have Lymes disease (caused by the deer tick and probably due to too much camping this summer).  It can be a bad and persistent condition, but if caught early enough, easily eliminated with antibiotics.  He put me on the antibiotics immediately, presuming that to be the case, and said I could still go ahead with my travel plans.

It was a hard trip.  The antibiotics made me sick and driving was hard for me, but we pushed on.  It was about 36 hours and we hardly slept or ate the whole way.  We only stopped for gasoline (frequently as you'll read soon) and let the horses out to stretch and lay down only four times.  I think those poor horses probably thought they were going to live their whole life in that trailer.

We drove our old '78 Chevy 1-ton, 4-door, dual rear wheel pickup truck clear to California and back.  It's big, and only gets about six miles to the gallon, but it runs great - we passed a lot of fancy rigs bogged down on the steep grades and in the high altitudes of the Rockies.  Aabbb's aunt and sister, who bought the horses, reimbursed us for the gas, which ended up costing around $800!  Our big old truck ran great, except for the gas gauge and speedometer that don't work.  This isn't a problem though, as we have a GPS.  Pretty handy little gadget.  That's how we kept track of the miles - knowing when to stop for gas, and always showing our speed in miles per hour.  Aabbb programs it with the computer, so it also shows us the cities and exits we are approaching.  We also brought my laptop along (with headphones) so either one of us could watch DVD's and listen to music without disturbing the other.  We plugged this all into a power inverter that plugs into the lighter.  It was a neat trip.

Have you ever been to Las Vegas?  My husband visited several times when he lived in California, but I had only been once, and had driven in at night (not flown).  Vegas is sort of in a valley, so when you approach, you suddenly see it down below.  The lights are like nothing else in the world.  I imagine there are a lot of lights at night in Tokyo, but Vegas is just this concentrated light show.  I was driving when we approached the city.  It was almost dawn, so I was really hoping to get there soon enough to see the lights before they were all shut off.  We got there just in time.  By the time we were past Vegas, the sun was up and the lights were off.

We had a good visit at the ranch.  I'm sure the different climate was a bit confusing to the horses though.  No woods and soft black dirt and mud.  For me, the ranch is like paradise - the weather is always perfect, there are mountains all around....  I love the palm trees, and they have every kind of fruit tree.  There is a hot tub outside - perfect for cool evenings.  This is where we plan to retire some day.  We also went to visit Aabbb's sister in San Diego, where we ate too much sushi, which gave Aabbb a bellyache.  Then we set out for home, stopping in Vegas for two nights, one of which was my birthday.  We had a fabulous Jacuzzi suite on the 29th floor of the Luxor (a pyramid hotel with an Egyptian theme).  We got home safe and sound and found everyone well taken care of, thanks to my mother-in-law.  So, now it's back to business as usual.

CPK     [Top of page]

"It Shouldn't Matter, But....."     [Top of page]
(2001/11/08  Yotsuya  14:00)

I just received a copy of an e-mail sent everyone in the company - except myself - about the spray glue (sent to me by a silently sympathetic friend in the company).  They've already taken me off of the general send list.  Not surprising, as I was expecting it, but an unpleasant discovery all the same.  Expecting something unpleasant to happen, and actually having it happen are not one and the same after all.  Feeling a little miffed, I gave copies of a pamphlet about air quality in the workplace to a few people.  Interestingly, the guy who comes into closest contact with it and has been coughing away and not looking very healthy for months now, was the most dismissive of it.  I suppose he figures that touching the issue will just get him fired - like me.  Still, I gave it to him for his sake, not mine.  I won't be here breathing that junk much longer, but he'll still be at the front line with the highest (improper) exposure to the toxins.....  Mr. Ochitsuita's rudeness bothers me... but if there is anything this company has very clearly demonstrated, it's that people do not always act in their own self-interest - indeed, they usually don't it would seem!

The e-mail itself says that the results from the people who came out to test the air - in accordance with orders from the Shinjuku Labor Standards Inspection Office - are back... and that they are low enough not to have any effect on people.....  Right, that's why I have burning eyes and a sore throat every time they use that stuff - "no effect".  Whether that is indeed what the report says (I doubt it), common sense dictates that you just don't spray toxins on a daily basis into a sealed recirculating air system.  Well - I'm out of here after this month.

"Inefficient Efficiency"     [Top of page]
(Nishi-Shinjuku  2001/11/19  02:24)

I've been busy rewriting my resume, looking through help-wanted ads, sending faxes and e-mails... going to an interview.....  Looking for work is a kind of full-time job itself.  It's not so terribly time-consuming to get my resume stuffed in the wires, but taking four hours off for an interview on Friday reminded me of what a huge time burner job interviews are.  The actual interview only lasted an hour and fifteen minutes, but it was over an hour away from the JW office in Yotsuya.  It's times like now that I feel Tokyo is inefficient because of its size....  In a more normal sized city, people don't waste so much time in transit.  The ridiculous size of Tokyo necessitates a fantastically complex and efficient train system, but this same efficient train system breeds disrespect for distance, and thus the ridiculous situation of most people spending two to three hours of their daily lives traveling great distances to get to and from work.  This seems especially ridiculous to me when I stop, look at the the work I've been doing, and realize that over 95% of it could have been done from home!  In the office, someone e-mails me a file to rewrite, I rewrite it, sometimes asking them a few questions, and then e-mail it back.  The only thing that would be different if I were at home, is that the conversational part would take place over the phone.  Being out of there would keep me away from so much nonsense!  Speaking of nonsense...  Here's an e-mail I sent to Mr. Dekataido on November 15th:

Mr. Dekataido,

I have a request.  Nearly every day, you bump into my chair two or three times when you are walking by.  If this were an isolated incident, I would discount it as being an accident, but since it happens repeatedly, over and over, day after day, week after week, it is clear that you are doing this on purpose.  The only other explanation would be that you are extremely ignorant and/or extremely clumsy, but I can see that you are clearly not stupid, and clearly not so clumsy, so the only remaining possible reason is that you are doing this deliberately.  I don't know why you are being hostile (because of the poorly translated article of yours that I had to rewrite?), but I am now formally requesting you to cease and desist this unprofessional and childish behavior.


Lyle Saxon

The thing about Mr. Dekataido, is that he was friendly at first, but Ms. Piman didn't like that, so she pounced on him and scratched him up... after that, he fell into line and adopted her nasty attitude the better to please her.  Don't bother thinking about that one too much - there's a very good reason the insane cannot be understood - if they can't understand themselves or the reasons for the things they do, how is anyone else to?

Why does the ship run in circles?
Because the rudder is broken.

Why is the rudder broken?
Because the captain didn't know how to use it......     [Top of page]

"For the Sky People"     [Top of page]
(November 30th, 2001  1:00 p.m.  Nishi-Shinjuku)

I wasn't going to write this one - but when I look at the title I came up with weeks ago - "For the Sky People", I couldn't... I can't... erase it.  I mean... if I forced any one of my fingers to press the delete or Backspace keys twenty times, it would be gone, but the title looks back at me from the screen and resolutely asks, nay, demands that I put the idea into words.

In the weeks after September 11th, every morning when I went into the office, fired up the computer, and pulled e-mail off the wires, I sat there as the messages came in and imagined myself being up in the sky in one of the World Trade Center towers pulling in e-mail on that morning.....

One afternoon, as I was listening to music on my headphones while working at the computer, I looked over at the windows to the left - through Mr. Zangyo's office - and had this feeling - no... "feeling" is too weak of a word - passion - I had this passion to carry on unfinished dreams.

..... words fall far short of the actual idea... so... picture people proud to be working on the 100th floor of a building - up there in the sky.  All those dreams... the realized dream of the buildings themselves, and the dreams-in-progress of all those lives.

"Trips to Here & There"     [Top of page]

Date: Fri, 2 Nov 2001
From: NBN  [UK]

...............  Sorry to hear that you have been fired, but l was expecting it.  Perhaps it will be for the better, as you were obviously not happy working there.

My son and his girlfriend went to Gibraltar for four nights in August, and had their photo taken with the Barbary apes!  Whilst there they walked over the border to Spain but were only there a couple of hours as the people they ran into were not very helpful.  They were hoping to have a day's excursion from Gibraltar to Tangiers in Morocco but left it too late to book.  Aabbb was very disappointed about that, as he wanted to go to Tangiers so he could say that he had been to Africa!  They came back engaged and are getting married next summer, afterwards they will live in Copenhagen where Bbccc is from.

The day after returning from Gibraltar, Aabbb bought a second-hand car and the following day he and Bbccc took me to North Wales for the day.  That is were l am from.  First we visited the small village in the Conwasy Valley were l grew up, and saw two of my old neighbours - calling on one who is in her 8O's now.  Afterwards we went to the seaside resorts of Colwyn Bay and Rhyl, and then went to a mountain zoo.  ln Rhyl we had a meal, walked along the promenade and beach, and had a paddle in the sea.  Last week Aabbb went to Copenhagen for eight days, with three nights of it spent in Berlin, Germany.


"Lunch With the Prez"     [Top of page]
(November 30th, 2001  Nishi-Shinjuku)

Both the Canadian guy who worked at JW, Inc. last year and quit in December, and Mr. Lookingfor who quit a couple of months ago, declined Mr. Prez's offer to have a final lunch together, but I accepted... and ended up mostly regretting it - it did remind me, however, of just how nice it is to be escaping that inept captain of that leaky boat.  Basically, he just said that everything was my fault.  I conceded that I was not perfect, but also reminded him that things were more complicated than that.....  By the time I got back to the office however, I was feeling rather irritated.  At least until I talked with Ms. Gaimen, and joked that "All that guy does is blame people for everything... I suppose when he's on his deathbed, he'll raise an accusing finger at a poor grieving relative and say 'It was all your fault you know...' and then kick the bucket".

I don't generally like that kind of humor, but you would have to experience the way this guy tears nearly everyone in the office down -  one by one.....

December 3rd, 2001  Not ten minutes after I had finished writing the above on November 30th, I took my pay envelope out of my bag and counted the money that I had been paid the day before... and it was Y50,000 short!!!  Ouch!!!  Since it was cash, and I was handed it on the 29th, I had no proof that they shorted me.  Stupid me - trying to adjust to local custom by not counting the money in front of the people who paid me.  Anyway, there'll be more about that further down the letter, including what should be the last letters to the dirty stinking foul critters at the JW Office.

"BaHaHaHaHa!"     [Top of page]

Subject: Whazzuupp!?!?
Date: Wed, 7 Nov 2001  -0600
From: CPK  [US]

I took a recent visit to Classmates.com and saw what many old acquaintances had written about themselves at the site.  I graduated from a high school in Texas 20 years ago.  I moved there when I was a sophomore, so I was not deeply acquainted with anyone really, and then I moved away after high school.  Far far away, and I didn't bother to keep in contact with anyone for a very long time.  I'm thinking about going to my 20th reunion next summer though.  It was interesting to read the bios that people left.  Everyone's lives sound incredibly successful and full.  Especially a few of the people I remember as being stuck up, full of prejudice, and just plain mean and nasty.  I wonder how many have contemplated what really matters in life, or if they are all wrapped up in vanity, as it appears by the info that they submitted.  Nobody said they take Zanex just to get through the day.  So, I suppose I should put down some happy info about my life as well.  I was very glad to get in touch with an old boyfriend - my first love, and from a very important time in my life.  We went steady for a couple of years and became engaged.  I broke the engagement realizing I wasn't ready to settle down yet.  Far from it, as things turned out over the next nine years.  It has been really great corresponding with him.  He's still the same brilliant artist with a great sense of humor I knew 20 years ago.

So in honor of Aabbb, I'll write you a story from the past:  One of my favorite memories about Aabbb was when he was a projectionist at a theater.  The theater was owned by an elderly couple - Mr. And Mrs. "B".  They also owned a drive-in theater just several blocks down the same boulevard.  Mrs. "B" was a crabby old bag that had no sense of humor and never ever smiled.  One day the "B's" wanted a huge helium balloon moved from the theater to the drive-in.  It was shaped like a blimp and used as an advertisement.  They didn't want to let the helium out, only to put tons of the expensive gas back in, so they tied it down to a pickup truck with ropes crisscrossed all over the thing to hold it.  Aabbb and another guy named Bbccc started driving slowly towards the drive-in when a huge gust of wind caused the balloon to get free, rip out the rings where ropes were actually linked to it , and ascend to the heavens.  I guess the look on Bbccc's face made such a funny lasting impression on Aabbb that he couldn't for the life of him stop laughing.  The balloon cost several hundred dollars and Aabbb had to go tell Mrs. "B" that it was no more.  He tried over and over to get his composure as he was still chuckling over the sight of Bbccc looking up at the sky with his mouth hanging open.  Finally, when he thought he had it licked, Aabbb walked into the theater and up to Mrs. "B" with a fin in his hand that had ripped off of the blimp.  He opened his mouth to speak and bahahahaha came out!  She didn't smile, as a matter of fact she was very angry.  He didn't get fired over it but she didn't find it as humorous as he did.

The end.


"Payback for Opposing the Glue?"     [Top of page]
(December 4th, 2001  Nishi-Shinjuku)

At this point, I'm trying desperately to get the poison of the JW Office out of my system, so I'm not in the mood to elaborate on the last day there - but here's a letter I received from Mr. International, a very nice guy from China who is sort of on temporary loan to the JW Office from a company they are working with.  Following his letter is my answer to him, including a copy of the final(?) letter I wrote to the Prez.

Subject: Re: Hello/IfCase...
Date: Tue, 4 Dec 2001 11:46:49 +0900
From: international@international.com
To: Lyle Saxon

Yes, I heard about the situation from other people.  I fully understand your anger, especially considering all the troubles this company has given you.  On the other hand, since you didn't count the money on the spot, it is hard to make them change their stance.  From an outsider's point of view, both you and accounting may be telling the truth.  From the accounting's point of view, they might sincerely believe that they have passed you the correct amount, but somehow the envelope was tampered by someone else while in your procession before you opened it.  I think a compromise would be the best you can hope for.


My answer:

December 4th, 2001

Mr. International,

Thanks for writing.  You're probably right about the compromise - actually, in light of the fact that I have no proof, I've basically given up on the Y50,000, but I would like you to know the truth, so I'm sending you the last (probably final) letter I wrote to Mr. Prez about this, along with the letter that accounting had someone (Mr. GoodGaijin?) write to me.  An important point that I would like you to understand is that I have never - in two years of working there - ever signed for the money "on the spot".  In fact, the second or third time I was paid back in 2000, I came back from lunch one day to find my pay sitting on my desk in an unsealed envelope (cash)!  I immediately went to accounting and requested that they hand the money directly to me in the future.  Ms. Keiri's response was "But Ms. Gaimen was sitting right there, so it was safe."  I responded "I'm sure it probably was, but please hand it to me directly anyway!".  After that, they always handed it to me in an envelope, and I always counted it in the bathroom or in the stairwell.  After I had counted it, I signed the receipt and took it back to accounting.  After doing so for two years, it never entered my mind that they would short me on the pay.....

Anyway, beyond all this mess, let's meet again for a coffee sometime.

Lyle Saxon

The final letter to Mr. Prez:

December 3rd, 2001

Mr. Prez,

Regarding the missing money.  I wasn't going to say any more, but the charges in the letter sent to me from accounting need to be answered.  Specifically this part:

"Exactly because we wanted to prevent any dispute such as this from happening, that we asked you to verify the amount at the spot.  I even asked you twice to give me a signed acknowledgment.  Despite all the chances we gave you, you didn't check the amount until 3 pm this afternoon."

Your brother's exact words were:

"Kakunin shite kara, sain-shite kudasai.  Ima demo ii."
["Please sign the receipt after counting the money.  You can count it now if you'd like."]

That's asking once I think, but even if you want to count that as twice, the fact is that in nearly two years, I have NEVER signed the pay slip in accounting ("on the spot" - not "at the spot", who wrote that anyway... not a native speaker I hope), as I thought it would be rude to count the money in front of the people who had carefully counted it out, as though I didn't trust them (as it turns out, I shouldn't have!).  Month after month after month after month - with no exceptions, I NEVER, EVER signed that paper in the accounting room.  It is this fact that leads me to think the money was stolen and I was set up.  Your brother knew very well that I was not going to sign the paper in that room.  I never had before after all.  I concede that I was remiss in waiting until the following day to count the money - but remember how you were angry with me for being late to lunch?  I walked into accounting at just before 1:00 p.m., and your brother kept talking to me about how safe the spray glue really is, that toxic fish are a bigger worry than mad cow disease, and about my energetic singing at the first karaoke place we all went to when Mr. LongGone left the company.  The atmosphere was hardly one of him demanding that I sign the pay receipt and my refusing to sign.  That's nonsense!

But what was formerly fresh water flowing under the bridge has now entered the salty ocean and I have no hope of recovering my stolen Y50,000.  Yes, I was remiss - both for trusting your brother and also for not counting the money immediately - with witnesses in the room.  (Unfortunately, only your brother was there at the time.)  I was very careful about my bag by the way - I didn't even go to the restroom at the restaurant we went to together so that I could keep my bag within sight.  In any event, you should be careful Mr. Prez - for you have some dishonest people working for you, the habitual liar Mr. Aruchu and maybe even your own brother as well.  Remember when Mr. Manuke told me I could get Y2500 per hour, but you told me that you could only pay Y2200?  Imagine my surprise this summer when I asked for a raise - and had it granted, with the comment that it was going up from Y2000 per hour to Y2200 per hour!  (Did that bit of deception come from you or accounting?)  Again, I was remiss... in trusting the company to act honorably and truthfully.  I should have distrusted the company and calculated my salary from the very beginning.  This is particularly irritating in light of the fact that people in the company seemed to have been under the impression that I was getting Y3,000 per hour!

One more comment regarding this from the letter I was sent:

"In addition, according to our books there is no mistake in the amount we paid you."

This is not proof that I received the money - what it is proof of is that someone in accounting stole that money.  The money isn't in their books?  That's because it's in their pockets!

Nevertheless, I went to the trouble of sending a letter to your brother (CC: to you and Mr. Zangyo) saying that if he really believes that he paid me the full amount, that I owe him an apology.  Whether he thinks he is right or not however, he did not in fact pay me my full salary, but rather my salary minus Y50,000.

I trust that you are interested in knowing the facts - thus I am sending this information to you.


Lyle Saxon     [Top of page]

"Time for Love..."     [Top of page]

Like "For the Sky People", this is a title in need of text.  Generally the stories come first, and the titles are the last thing to decide.  Other times, like now, the title is there and waiting for the words that - more often than not - don't come!  It would seem that titles really need to go on last.  I should have written about the feeling when it happened - one fine day in November when I took a long lunch and found myself in the park, staring up at a beautiful sky with dramatic clouds.......

I looked up at the clouds and told myself:

"Time to love... enough of the insane battle raging on the 6th floor - it's time to live - to love life......."

A beautiful moment - too beautiful to describe, and here again am I with a title and words not up to the task of describing what I would like them to.  I think of that title now though, as I have a pain in my chest thinking of how I was cheated out of a big chunk of my final pay.  I began fighting the fools in the office when I first started experiencing chest pains last year - and fighting for myself cleared the pains, but now they're back.....

Time to forget - time to move on - time to live - time to love.......

"Separate Cars"     [Top of page]

Subject: Re: Hi!
Date: Sun, 11 Nov 2001
From: APP  [Australia]

So sorry to hear about your job.  My partner was retrenched a month ago and is still looking for a job, which are hard to find these days.  At the same time, his car was slowly but surely dying and he desperately needed a better one.  He has been looking around with local dealers, private sales and on the Net, but is reluctant to let go of his pride and joy very old old car.  However, with a bit of nagging, yesterday he went off to look at cars on a famous strip in the Western suburbs.  He got home quite late and at dinner casually announced he had bought a car.....

"WHAT" I screamed, "You bought a car without ME???"  When he had told me he bought a sporty two door car, I really flipped.  I went to our garage to look at it, thinking and hoping like mad that I would like it.  I opened the garage door and didn't know whether to laugh or cry.  He had to be kidding.  This was no grownup's car, it was a little dinky toy I felt sure I could pick up and put in my pocket.  I got claustrophobic just looking at it, so knew right away there was no way I could sit in it for too long.  I went back to the dinner table and ranted and raved (usual for me in these kind of circumstances), about how could he do such a thing.

Finally I could see that he was getting upset and felt a little, just a little mind you, guilty.  So I asked him to take me for a drive, hoping like mad that the drive will help me change my mind about it.  NO, not to be.  It is so close to the ground, this car, that I thought I was on a roller coaster bouncing up and down uncontrollably and thinking I was going to lose my stomach any minute.  We got back home and my partner agreed that it was a bit bumpy and he hadn't realised it till the drive home after buying it.

That was yesterday, and he has gone back to the dealers today to see if he can either get his money back or exchange it - but I really don't like our chances.  I can just see us now going out to social events and arriving in separate cars!!


I must say I thoroughly enjoyed reading APP's letter - as I could very well imagine being in the spot her partner is in!  Many a typhoon I have weathered as a result of purchasing some mechanical and/or electrical device!  By the way APP... what kind of car is it exactly (make, model, year)?  I wouldn't be surprised to hear that it's a car I might of bought myself.

Well - time to call this one a wrap.  Sorry it's taken so long, but job hunting has been eating up so much of my time.....

Sore dewa!

Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon, Images Through Glass
- Nishi-Shinjuku, Tokyo
December 5th, 2001 - (KFMM-10/LL310/HRE040617)
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