According to my copy of the 1987 textbook ‘Japanese in Plain English’ the honorific term San is used to address anybody and takes on the appropriate meaning of Mr, Mrs or Miss. The author points out that “The concept of ‘Ms’ has not penetrated the Japanese language or culture”.
I was reminded of this when I spotted a recent news item concerning Nippon Paint, which has moved into the field of consumer paints. Initially their product range was stagnating, until two of the female employees came up with the idea for ‘Roombloom’.
This was proposed as being ‘A well-designed paint for women’, and included radical ideas such as ‘Repainting your home’s ceiling and walls according to your tastes’ and ‘If the paint cans were cuter, women would also probably buy them.’
Because of the successful advertising campaigns launched by (for instance) Honda and Toyota, we may be in danger of thinking that Japanese consumer and corporate cultures are almost the same as our own. It may be that Japanese home-owners always use professional decorators, and that the idea of painting your own walls is a novelty.
Perhaps Nippon Paint executives are already aware that in Europe and the States, women are not seduced by cute label designs, but instead are making important decisions on technical and commercial aspects of coatings. And women tend to show a much lower incidence of colour-vision defects than men, so it makes perfect sense to employ them in the coatings sector.
Meanwhile, I shall keep a look out for tins marked ‘A well-designed paint for men’ next time I’m pushing a trolley round B-and-Q at Batley….
Journal Entry, 02 Dec ’98: Last night went to MAG, a purely social evening. Grenville turned up looking well, had details of the Goldwing and Triumph Owners Club parties.
Today at work Mike called a group meeting to explain the R and D Job Evaluation Structures. Clearly based on the RSC responsibility score template. Then we were given individual talks – apparently my own score is minus forty and so I would normally be on a lower salary but they’re not going to change anything.
According to Mike I show poor management skills (but my job doesn’t involve any managerial duties) and I show a lack of involvement, with behaviour alternating between v good and utterly hopeless. He said he didn’t understand what made me tick, but that’s hardly surprising since he – so I’m told – can’t stand me.
In the news – triple murder and suicide in St Austell.
Journal Entry, 08 Dec ’98: Well…where does a girl begin?
Last Friday all the managers were summoned to a mysterious meeting, and it was announced that all finished goods were to be moved to Stretton and we would keep only raw materials here at Derby. Which means that a dozen or so warehouse staff are to be made redundant.
Anyway, this afternoon the works held a Union meeting and went off to see Chris (steel by name, steel by nature) who told them that if the works agreed to go onto shift work, then jobs would be found for the dozen victims. Otherwise it was three-month notices all round.
Atmosphere of terror, muted resentment towards the numerous temps who we have at work.
Journal Entry, 18 Jan ’99: Work of fiasco the…
As part of the FART (Fast Action Response Team) I have been working on a project to do with Corroless Distributors’ formulations. Andy F was originally meant to do this one but has made no progress.
In four days I have managed to get print-outs of many of the Corroless products and identified those for which formulations are not available. And boy, do we have problems…
Mineral oil defoamer – this is being added to the paint at the end, instead of being ground into the pigment stage!
Pigments, fillers, glassflake and aluminium paste all dispersed by high-speed thrashing. We use a leafing additive for the glass but not for the aluminium.
Some include isocyanate hardeners but also butanol as part of the solvent blend.
About fifty product ranges for Corroless, including primers – water and solvent-borne versions, air-drying and two-pack topcoats, etc. But the existing Mason Coatings range includes several products which have almost identical specifications, so why not amalgamate?
Journal Entry, 25 Jan ’99: Today had statement from Yorkshire Building Society concerning my Sharesave Account. About £500 in at the moment.
Last night went to Curzon’s Nightclub with James. Black stripper. VVV well endowed. Fab muscles.
‘Good News’ issue 31 appeared. Four items, plus a page of facilitator items carried out: Tony Cooper is 50; one guy at Beith has been there 25 years; and two of our customers are going to continue using our products.
Van Leer and Blagdens and T & D have all found out about our WB alkyd materials. Ouch!
Meanwhile at the Royal Academy in London an exhibition of the later paintings of M Monet is packing them in. Huge demented symphonies of colour and endless queues and round-the-clock viewings. I remember last time this happened and I saw a couple of Monet pictures at the National Gallery of Wales.