Medication time

I tend to write about a lot of small, quirkier things I find in Tokyo, but for a long time I’ve been planning to write a longer series on what the day-to-day routine of Tokyo working life is actually like.  Luckily for me, this ad on the Tokyo subway does all the work for me:

To explain:

07:45 – Crushed in Tokyo subway.
09:00 –  Operate computer in wind tunnel.
13:00 –  Bolt down lunch at a standing ramen bar.
15:00 – Offer your business card to a customer, making sure to show respect by being knock-kneed.
16:00 – Carry a box of things somewhere – quickly!
18:30 – Erase the soul-crushing memories of all of the above by ingesting some booze, and plenty of it.

Of course, being marketing, this is not nearly realistic: no-one finishes work anywhere near as early at 6:30pm.


Cut it from right to left, thanks

Seen on the Tokyo subway:

If you speak a language which is written from left to right, you might be forgiven for thinking this clinic is actually selling a treatment for hair loss.  Every “before and after” shot I’ve ever seen goes from left to right.  Is this just a quirky ad, or maybe there’s something else at play here?

Just on this topic: after two years in Japan, I finally got my first haircut on Japanese soil!  I’m perversely proud of how long I held out after my horror at seeing the unintended result of an ex-pat friend’s trip to the barber: a completely defoliated scalp.  It ended up being pretty straightforward, and in a area where a haircut seems to cost an exorbitant amount, it was a bargain at $10.

In the event of non-fluency, panic

There’s an ad on the Tokyo subway for the well-known Berlitz language school that I love:


Paraphrased: “You’re in a meeting in English, you’re asked for an opposing opinion but all you can get out is a single word – ‘Yes'”.

I love this ad for two reasons.  The first is that this is largely expresses how I feel in a lot of meetings in Japanese. (Record meeting time to date: six hours).

Secondly: just look at those nasty-looking English speakers!  I can’t remember the last time I saw such a great collection of yuppie scum.

I am imagining the guy on the right saying any line from Patrick Bateman in American Psycho with utter authenticity: “Look at that subtle off-white coloring. The tasteful thickness of it. Oh my God, it even has a watermark!”.  The guy next to him is even better, like a yuppie scum version of Dave Spade.  He looks like he’s just finished saying “That’s it non-English speaker, I’m going to go to my car, get my baseball bat and teach you to waste our precious company time once and for all.”

If any of the guys who were in this ad happen to be reading this, I’m sorry.  I’m sorry that you look like yuppie scum.  Maybe it’s just a lighting thing.

I think I like the video version even more (with bonus visual metaphor!):