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InvisibleGaijin has been a Salaryman, both the work-yourself-to-death-by-quietly-taking-shit-every-day Japanese kind and the fully-loaded-ex-pat-who-hangs-out-at-the-American-Club-talking-shit-about-Japanese kind.

For my generation, being a loyal, dedicated, hard-working Salaryman was a good thing. Wearing a non-descript-so-you-don’t-stand-out-too-much suit from Takashimaya, wedged into the Odakyu train every morning like soybeans into tofu, chain-smoking Seven Stars, drinking Kirin Lager, and slowly working one’s way up to Exalted-but-do-nothing-Bucho-ness — that was the life all good boys aspired to (or at least the life their kyoiku mama‘s programmed them for). 

Even as a third-generation Japanese-American born and raised on the streets of South Central Los Angeles, “having a good career” meant: go to good university, get degree, get white collar professional job, get married to approved-by-mom-nice girl, have 2.3 children (1.4 children in Japan), work ass off for 30 years, then enjoy retired life on a pension.

Even though I was once a I-make-way-too-much-money-thus-I-am-a-god kind of executive-asshole, I eventually realized there must be more in life than the endless pursuit of corporate profit. Especially when the other boys got bigger bonuses than me just because they liked kissing the board’s ass, exploiting the loyalty of local staff, and lying to Clients.

Oops, sorry, that should read: “being a team player, empowering staff, and creating value for Clients.”

In my early middle age, I reached the point where I said, “f**k that!” and pulled the pin, resigned my executive position, burned my suits, and tossed my briefcase into the gomibako.

The Salaryman in me died that day. Actually, I snuck up behind him in a dark alley, popped a cap in his head, and stood over the corpse, saying, “who’s your otou-san now?”

In the Death of a Salaryman began the Journey of the InvisibleGaijin.


  1. Hi, this is a comment.
    To delete a comment, just log in, and view the posts’ comments, there you will have the option to edit or delete them.

    • Mr. WordPress, you are too kind!

      • Mr. WordPress always says the nicest things…real flatterer.

        Interesting post!
        I like your style

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