Japan: I am Isolated in My Workplace

The Internet can be a saving grace if you’re isolated in your school or workplace.” – This was a remark from my recent interview with Izumi Mihashi from Lingua Japanese. I was reminded of it when chancing upon a poignant cry in the form of an anonymous blog entry [ja].

Bullying doesn’t stop at the schoolyard.

by Flickr user maciejgruszecki.com

Note: This post was translated in its entirety. Please note that the original text does not give any indication of gender for any of the characters, but the translation assumes that the blogger and colleague are male for brevity's sake.

Today, I realized yet again that the treatment I receive at my workplace is really acrimonious. I went to work in the morning, checked my e-mail, and got chewed out by four people for four different things within the first hour. When I was alone, I couldn’t help but quietly laugh with bitterness.

I feel that if I can just find one positive thing to latch onto, I can work out some of these issues as long as I apply myself to it. The thing is, I can’t help but think that I’m just being cut off completely.

After the troubles that morning, I ended up with some free time on my hands. I went up to one of the people that had gotten angry at me and quietly asked, “Is there anything I can help with?”. He replied “No”, with a very tired face. That he couldn’t trust me with anything was written all over his face.

I felt extremely sorry, embarrassed, and so many other emotions mixed together. From the bottom of my heart, I wanted to say, “I’m so sorry for making you feel this way.” It was all I could do to force a smile and say, “Please let me know if there’s anything I can help you with.” After going back to my seat, I reviewed my past work to see if there was anything to do. There were many errors, so I went to work on fixing them.

It’s cold at my window seat so I got some hot tea from the vending machine and sat back down, trying to warm myself. The person next to me furiously shouted, “Don’t bring anything that smells to your seat. What are you thinking!?”. I begged forgiveness – almost on my knees – and escaped to the coffee room.

Feeling depressed, I looked out the window from the coffee room and thought about ways that I might improve myself. The only plan that I could come up with in my current state was very general – there’s nothing that I can do except take extra care with my actions and do my best.

This kind of life has been going on for more than three months. In all honesty, I want to quit this company. I think it’s time.

Sometimes, I think I shouldn’t be here. Still, quitting without making personal improvements feels like running away. I can’t do that. Me breaking down mentally, or my colleagues’ patience reaching the limit… which will come first?

I’m so sorry that I’m such a miserable person. I’m just so sorry.
And, I’ve caught a cold. But I can’t take a day off.


  • Wendy Smith

    There are many toxic workplaces and this poor blogger seems to be in one of them. Sounds like morale is down in general and that perhaps he/she has been used as a scapegoat. The internet can provide solace and feedback for folks like the author of this blog, and for those of us who work at home, an important form of collegiality.

  • Having worked in Japan, I understand “window”…

      • Ian McKenzie

        Having personally butted my head against the cement ceiling for foreigners working for large corporations in Japan, I emphasize strongly with the person who wrote this blog. Lacking extensive experience, not knowing how to safely navigate through the political waters of corporate politics, wanting to do one’s best but getting not getting any help (but plenty of blame) from one’s co-workers, all the while wondering if one should stick it out or throw in the towel… In Canada, I’d tell the person to start looking for a new job more suited to their personality. But in Japan, what kind of options would a person in this situation really have under current job market conditions?

  • The written piece is very symbolic agreed, beautiful in a way…

  • Wilson Hernandez

    I believe that every story has three versions. His, hers and the true; therefore, I do not think that the problem it is entirely yours. many people take their on frustrations on coworkers, family and children. when the real problem it is that we humans are beginning to think/allow that the opinion of others about ourselves become more important that our own opinion. the internet has revealed to us that whether is japan or any other country in the world humans will be humans. we will take advantage of the situation for our own purpose. I will tell you to read books about self improvement, religion and try to avoid persons that bring your self steam down. every human being has a beauty withing him/herself, you just need to find those people that bring out the best of you. I hope this helps…

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