I’ve been talking with my friend who is visiting from Japan. He told me that he works 6-7 days a week at his job. He gets vacation time and he goes either to Germany or the US. This time he’s in the US. He told me that even though he has vacation time, he still has to work. He uses the hotel computer to do his job. He does not even get proper vacation time. There is no overtime pay which is what this is. He is on a fixed salary. He said this is customary in Japan. I have heard other Japanese speak about this and generally they don’t mind working like this, even my friend who is a woman working in her 50’s and she too works on her days off from home. The reason why I think Japanese tolerate it is due to the fact that Japanese are modern-day Buddhists. Buddhism teaches us that no matter how hard or unfair life is, you keep a stiff upper lip, your mouth shut and continue on. Turn a frown upside down. Religious doctrine dulls the pulse and lets the establishment get away with the gradual stripping of people’s freedoms.
It might be rare to hear a Japanese person complain due to Buddhism, but does that mean they should be manipulated and taken advantage of like this? Does that mean they should be treated as cattle? We all admire the Japanese for working hard, but is this is what life was meant to be about? A student of mine in Japan owned a company and after work, almost every night, he had to take his clients out for drinks. He’d get drunk with his clients at hostess bars and not arrive home until around 4AM just to get up the next day and start over. And on weekends he had to take his clients to play golf. It’s not play; it’s strictly business. He had learned to not mind it. In this de-spirited state, he could get up everyday and do the same thing with no real time for himself and his family. And how perverted is the western world to admire this? I get it that we all need to work to make ends meet and so we can enjoy our lives and be independent. That’s a noble task. But working so hard you never get to do much of anything but sleep, eat, and work? That merits no worship. That’s a broken part of society that warrants repair.
I am sure there are examples where the conditions aren’t so extreme, but I used to live in Japan and while there are some who are freer than others, it’s notable enough to talk about.
So, while my friend gets to see San Antonio, everyday he has to go home to his hotel and continue working. When Fritz heard his story, he got angry and said he’d never put up with that… as anyone in their right mind and a pulse would say. But the day we stop getting angry is the day that our silence could be construed as consent and then all the reason to continue to get worse.
My friend had said South Korea is even worse when it comes to slave labor. Some parts of China do it. And how do we know that isn’t happening all over the world or more than we think? Venezuela is a more progressed version of that. I think America might be on it’s way if we are not careful. Americans admire hard work and again, it’s great to be independent and make enough money to enjoy life, but we’re not talking about that. How far should America go with this hard-work ethic we have? It’s something to think about since Americans think very much like the Japanese when it comes to hard work. It’s admired, but it all depends on how we define “hard work”. Getting sick, having no time with family and friends and having no life, no vacation and no overtime pay is not something I particularily look up to. In countries like Japan, suicide unfortunately is not rare. Adults and especially children are killing themselves more and more everyday as the shackles tighten. Children in Japan get very little free time to play.
Anyway, my heart goes out to the Japanese. Anyone with a pulse will feel a heavy heart for those carrying the cross of slave labor on their backs. Having a good attitude is not admirable; it’s rather a defense mechanism to keep the grave reality of the situation far from consciousness. It’s how the slave class survives since awareness is too painful.