The men were exempt from menial tasks because they had women who submitted the expense reimbursement form and procured stationaries for them. The landline telephones were placed only on the women’s desks. The rest of the men had PHS phones. The women answered the landline calls, which almost always asked for one of the men, and divert it to their PHS. The director who sat at the head of the island also had a landline phone, but he never picked it up unless the women forwarded the call. When there were guests, the women served tea from the beverage dispenser placed at the corner of the office everyone could access to.
Mr. Iwata initially treated me as an honorary man and exempted me from assistant tasks. But there wasn’t much work an inexperienced new graduate could do, so I took up some of Miss Yabe’s job. I logged into the financial news terminal at the opening and closing time of the Tokyo Stock Exchange and reported the company’s share price to the email alias of the above-manager level employees. I checked news related to the videogame industry and sent it out to the same alias. Miss Yabe and I took turns to serve tea when Mr. Iwata and Mr. Kamoi went into the meeting room with analysts from financial institutions.
I looked around other departments we shared the floor with – Accounting, Finance, HR, Operation. They had a similar arrangement as my department. There were men, then, women. Most women were younger than most men, regardless of their position as an assistant or otherwise, so menial tasks were inevitably assigned to women. There were two young women at the Accounting Dept., whose fingers danced on a calculator elegantly while their eyes kept on a computer screen, were always precise with numbers, and spoke confidently of their expertise. Another in the Finance Dept. was a CPA who worked until late every day. But their positions remained low until their disappointment prompted their departure. The men hired more young women to replace them so that the wheels kept rolling under them. Meanwhile, in our department, Mr. Iwata flaunted his CPA license kept in his wallet at least once a week and never missed an opportunity to remind us of his qualification. Mr. Kamoi was an incompetent and imbecile sycophant.