Today, Saturday is marked in Japan as the supposedly hottest day of the year (土用の日 ) and as food-centric as the Japanese are, broiled eel is traditionally eaten on this day to provide stamina to get through the day, or to recover from it.
Not at the worksite, a guy has taken it upon himself to hook up with a local Japanese restaurant to provide on an order basis, daily bentos (lunch boxes) for those working on the project. The price is $10 which is ok I suppose for DC, but it adds up quickly and I until yesterday always pack something made at home to eat.
But Yesterday I made an exception since the menu was for broiled eel to mark 土用の日. when it arrived and I went to the kitchen area to pick it up, discovered a small group of people had also made arrangements for an eel box lunch, but very different, Each lunch was in a fancy ‘gozen’ box (probably plastic) and soup was also provided in well decorated tradition soup containers. Now the price was double that of ours.
No what made me burn over this was first, this was offered only to a select group of people, the ‘ins’ and not offered to anyone else, something from my experience as being part of magenment comes very close to no-no land as far as HR rules are concerned (exclusion, hostile work environment).
Second, was the combined look of smugness and control and showing to others, “see this is what we got and you didn’t/won’t get’. And last, just the childishness of it. A group of adults, one of whom is in her fifties, on the same level of maturity as a junior high schooler.
But this doesn’t surprise; I have always felt that as a whole -there are individual exceptions- the Japanese show a level of maturity below that of westerners the same age. At times its just head-shaking, at others, hateful.