Thursday, November 1, 2007

Cautionary Tail

I always thought this would happen to my old employer first.

NEW YORK The former creative director of the U.S. arm of Japan's largest advertising agency sued the company Wednesday, saying he was pressured to visit a brothel and engage in other sexually explicit activities on company outings and then was fired after he complained.

I occasionally hear stories of people being taken to these secret little hideouts for Japanese businessmen - piano bars, hostess clubs, massage parlors in Jackson Heights - and they always come back either bewildered or enchanted. Sometimes they keep going on their own. Most times they tell their stories like it was Bangkok on acid and never return. Occasionally they are actually repulsed and start complaining about how this perpetuates stereotypes about Asian women and the commerce of their supposed sexual proclivity.

My favorite story comes from a Mormon friend who at the time worked for Goldman-Sachs, and went to a popular Japanese-style piano bar with a bunch of financial types. He felt sorry for his assigned hostess and asked her rhetorically, "how can you let yourself do this?" as he sipped his Diet Coke, blinking like a toad. Slrrrp. [To get the full effect you must realize this friend has never ever gotten drunk, and talks somewhat rapidly.]



Ed Sizemore said...

I'm amazed this behavior still goes on. I can see this among the good ol' boys inside Japan who know each other well. But most Japanese execs should be culturally aware enough to know the differences between America and Japan, not to suggest this kind of 'business meeting' to someone they don't intimately. (Pun intended, forgiveness sought)

C said...

hairy went to a hostess bar??

ill iterate said...

charlos? charlos is that you?
yeah, hairy went to a hostess bar and his exact words to describe it were:

It was disgusting. (laugh)