I enjoy living in Japan for the most part, but the one thing I can’t stand is the toxic work culture. The COVID-19 pandemic has amplified the toxicity of Japanese corporate culture even further, and it’s disgusting. I recently learned that my wife’s friend was peer-pressured into attending a company retreat.

These sorts of gatherings are fine during normal times, but to pressure employees into attending a retreat during a global pandemic is just moronic. At first, it was apparently supposed to be an optional onsen trip. However, after a few people in the company decided not to go, management made it non-optional (sounds like a power trip). Even worse, they changed the location from a local onsen to a distant location from Tokyo. So not only are employees required to attend, they also have to risk their lives on long-distance public transportation.

I just don’t get it. What’s the point? Is it really necessary for management to say “f*** you” to everyone, and make the retreat non-optional? Do they think employees are going to have a good time at this retreat? Probably not because they’ll be wondering if they contracted COVID-19 the whole time.

Seriously, what’s the point?

Man, Japanese work culture sucks.