Now if we can only get her to rename Hard Off

Roy, who reads the parts of Japanese newspapers that aren't about the physical appearance of celebrities (making him my nemesis, I think), hepped me up to this story about secondhand bookstore chain Book Off's new president: HASHIMOTO Mayumi. Hashimoto was personally chosen by current president and company founder SAKAMOTO Takashi, who plans to magically transform into a chairman.

Why is this story interesting? Because now Book Off will only sell diaries written in kana Hashimoto started her career with Book Off only 16 years ago, as a part-time shop assistant. Of course, that was at the very first Book Off store, and a year later she was already manager of the second Book Off store, so it isn't so much a rose-from-the-ranks story as a was-there-from-the-beginning,-paid-her-dues-and-had-her-talents-recognized story... still, I understand that it's still quite rare in Japan for a person to rise from the customer-sullied shop floor to the top of the pyramid like that.

After all, in Japan, a part-time worker is a paato or baito (from German Arbeit), but a full-time worker is a "true employee" (seishain). (Yes, yes: "he said, implicitly invoking naiive Eskimo-words-for-snowism.")

Popularity factor: 3


Oh God, plus ニート's and フリーター's too?! I can practically see the "Eskimo-snowism" theories forming by themselves!


When I first saw a Book Off I laughed my head off. In Canada, and elsewhere I suppose, when someone spray-painted Fuck Off! on a business's wall, the proprietor had two choices. They could re-paint the entire wall or they could take a spray can and change Fuck Off into Book Off. (This was a long time ago, spray paint may be easier to deal with now.) But Book Off! Was one of the talismanic phrases of my childhood, appearing on building after building for no reason my parents would explain to me.


Now that you mention it Japanese speakers sure are unwilling to use a Japanese-derived word for part time work, aren't they?

Mitch: that story is completely awesome. As if Book Off wasn't funny enough already.

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