Welcome to Issue 5 of Volume 2: Slice of Life!
We will be rounding off the year with a look into the lives of high schoolers, university students, and company workers.
Many of us work a 9-to-5 where we’re expected to dress “appropriately” (whatever that means!). Be it a uniform or a suit, there are dress codes we have to adhere to in our place of work. But sometimes it can feel a little too restrictive. Sometimes you want to inject a bit of your own creative flair: a pink bow here, a glittery heel there… what harm can it do? We’re all entitled to look and feel our best at work. As long as it doesn’t get in the way of our jobs—perhaps a pair of platforms isn’t ideal for a day at the doctor’s office, though!
Japan is a country known for its work culture—for better or worse. Picture this: the hardworking salaryman, with his white, freshly-ironed long-sleeved shirt and crisply pleated trousers. He’s overworked and exhausted and ends up drinking till all hours with his workmates to forget the stresses of the day. The men—and women!—work hard to send their children to the best schools where students work hard to achieve the best grades. Maybe you know a bit about Japan’s rigorous schooling system in which most teenagers are expected to attend cram schools on top of their regular education. They study hard to attend the best universities in Japan. Once they’ve entered university, they go all out in social activities, joining social “circles” and drinking parties. That is, until the final year when they have to start looking for a job (“shūkatsu”), usually in the corporate world. Thus the fabled salaryman is born… and the cycle starts all over again.
“But surely the whole nation doesn’t adhere to these simple stereotypes!” you say, and we reply: “Of course not!” Japan has various career paths and a number of ways to thrive. And that is what The COMM is here to showcase. No doubt all the community members from around the world can relate.
This issue is divided into three parts:
The Double Life, The Fantasy Life, and The Boss Life.
In part one, The Double Life, we look at the delicate work-life balance as experienced by the majority. How do you navigate the corporate world with a creative passion? What are the experiences of people, both native and foreign, working in the Japanese workplace? Separation of passion and livelihood can seem like the only way… but is it?
The Fantasy Life is an imagined version of our career aspirations with photo shoots inspired by slice-of-life anime and American sitcoms. We imagine a world where we can be corporate and kawaii every day! Meanwhile, university students live their best lives while on a budget.
Finally, The Boss Life. We showcase those who have taken charge of their creative projects and successfully merged them with their work lives, whether as model, designer, or influencer. Who says you can’t have it all??
We want to see how the COMMunity Members express themselves both in and out of work! Can you wear kawaii fashion to your job or is it restricted to the weekends? Use the hashtag #thecommoffline on social media to show us your best corporate kawaii outfits!