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The boss is too stupid (to function)

This is a Japanese novel I picked up on a day where I was pissed at my job and my company and the title caught my eye and resonated with my feelings so much that I had to get it.

The narrator is 28, works in a bookstore and starts the book with

いつも通りの長い長い店長の話に、いつもよりはるかに苛立っているのに気がついて、私は生理が近いことを思い出した。

Loosely translated (by me) to:

“The boss goes on and on as always and I notice that I am more annoyed than usual which reminds me my period is close.”

Which might have described me perfectly that day. It’s very relatable throughout and as an avid reader I loved to see the daily life at the bookstore. Seeing the interactions between the employees and the customers and how they are when their shift ends and they go home.

Each chapter deals with one thing that is stupid so it goes like:

  • 1: The boss is stupid
  • 2: Writers are stupid
  • 3: The company president is stupid
  • 4: The sales department is stupid
  • 5: God is stupid (or gods as in customers are stupid)
  • 6: In the end, I am stupid

You can feel the characters coming to life in this book. They are all real, flawed, human beings. No too perfect people here.

While it is not a mystery novel, it has a teeny tiny mystery towards the end which makes you want to read faster to get to the bottom of it. I was ready to throw the whole book out the window, but was luckily spared having to do that.

I really liked chapter 5, “God is stupid”, except it is not the god we would naturally think about. In English we say, “the customer is always right”, while in Japanese they say “the customer is God”. The different customers (gods) we meet in this chapter reminded me of my own time working in a couple of bookstores and the kind of people that would frequent them. Not all are bad, but not all are good either. As I do not necessarily believe the customer is always right, nor that they are gods, I believe I am not suited for a job dealing with customers, though I would love to work with books, either in the publishing industry, a bookstore, or maybe a library.

I really hope this gets translated so that more people can get the joy of reading this book. I loved every twist and turn and the little daily happenings that make up our lives.

Maybe I have to set out to translate it myself?

Will definitely recommend this book to everyone who loves books, daily life stories, maybe a bit pessimistic and easily annoyed people, and almost a surreal mystery springing forth between the pages.

Summer reading

For me, summer meant summer vacation, (we had two whole months), which meant lots of time for reading. Sitting outside in the garden or on a friend’s veranda or at the beach with a book in my hand enjoying life.

Now that I am working here in Japan I effectively have no summer vacation, but I have noticed that my appetite for reading has gone up considerably the last month and I am finishing books at an almost alarming rate (I am not complaining though).

Here in Japan it is mostly autumn that is closely associated with reading. They say 読書の秋 (dokusho no aki) which means something like “the autumn of reading”. They actually have this thing called 〇〇の秋 where you input a two-kanji compound word to reflect what autumn is about to you. So another popular one is 食欲の秋(shokuyoku no aki) which is “autumn appetite” as autumn vegetables are so delicious here so people spend a lot of the autumn just eating (and reading).

Anyways, for me it’s summer, so I guess it’d be 読書の夏 (dokusho no natsu) instead.