Tokyo keeps a precise order by following a combination of rules, roles and traditions: everything has its reason and everybody seems to know what to do and where to go.
Salaryman are a good example of that combination. Japanese use the word salaryman to refer to those men that work in an office for a big corporation, presumably long hours.
No matter when or where you go, you will always find some salaryman supposedly heading to or coming back from work. Since they all respect a dresscode it is very easy to recognise them and, if you are a gaijin living in Tokyo, you will be so used to seeing them that you will most probably end up unconsciously integrating them in your personal picture of the city. Just as if they were a part of the city itself, like trees or urban furniture, almost immutable.
I started observing them in that out-of-office state of mind, even following them, focussing on reading their faces and small details that would lead me to find that undercover role or feeling that remains hidden inside each one of them.
That’s how I found myself inmersed in their salaryman day-to-day life. That’s how, suddenly, I found myself immersed in “The land of the Salaryman”.
Published in Japanzone.cat, Japonismo.com and Eikyô Magazine #09 – Eikyo.es (print).