Aggretsuko: a manual to survive Japanese offices?
Monday, May 7, 2018
Whether you just saw one or two of the memes flourishing on the social medias or binge watched the series (as I did! ), you couldn't miss Aggretsuko's big international debut last month!
Aggretsuko narrates the story of Retsuko, a young Red-Panda stuck to an accountant job in a Japanese Company. Her job is boring, her superiors are lazy and some of her colleagues are simply unbereable.
Strangely enough, Retsuko's story echoes with various talks I had with Japanese friends or even with my own experience when I started working in Japan. More than a blunt critic of Japanese society, Aggretsuko shows us ways to adapt and keys to understand the Japanese Business Culture.
So let's check together the clues given by the show!
1. Work strategies
Retsuko's friends show a large palette when it comes to coping with stress: the cool and detached Fenneko couldn't care less about her job, Gori and Washimi climbed the hierarchy by not showing any weaknesses and Tsunoda, a new hire, put all her efforts in being cute so she can get other people do her work.
In the meanwhile, Retsuko's strategy is resiliency. She will say yes to everything and eventually get rid of the pressure by singing Death-Metal in karaoke. However, little by little, she will learn how to assert herself.
2. The beer secret
"You know, the episode when Retsuko get scolded because she has to pour beer with the label side up... it completely reminded me of you!" said my friend V. after the release of the series.
Freshly hired in a old Japanese company with hundred years of history, I discovered the tough reality of Nomikai when you are the youngest one. Going from table to table and ensuring that everybody's glass was full was my mission on that evening and all of the following evenings. More than a beverage, beer is a token for your appreciation.
As colleagues and bosses get a little tipsy, they will start to talk less about work and more about themselves. It's the perfect moment to learn more about them!
3. Karaoke and Yoga, the key to heaven?
Retsuko loves singing Death-Metal in Karaoke. Karaoke is a wonderful tool to cry out loud one's true feelings and shake the stress away. On the other hand, Gori and Washimi give their best in their after-work Yoga classes.
Having a hobby or an activity helps you to connect to other people non related to your work can be necessary to keep a good work-life balance. It helps you creating bonds and friendships outside the office! And special bonus for the karaoke: it helps you improve you Japanese pronunciation and reading!
Whether you are already living in Japan or just waiting for the right opportunity to jump in the adventure (Psst, we have offers for you here!), watch Aggretsuko in Japanese. You will surely catch some office-related new words! (and have a good laugh)
About the Author
IZANAU's Great Manitou. In Japan since 2011, settled since 2013, have been working in various fields here and there and got a lot of anecdotes to share!