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I visited my old workplace for the first time in ages to find Kubo at his desk twirling his pen in his fingers. Kubo was once my subordinate. He would demonstrate his prowess, doing fancy twirls, only when he was irritated; he was always so easy to read. Now, Kubo is the creative director, so he has the right as boss to get irritated.
Apparently, the reason he is fidgety is that he is waiting on someone who promised to be at the office at gogo-ichi (derived from gogo meaning afternoon and ichi meaning one). Looking at the clock, it says 1:22 p.m. Normally, I would wait a little longer before getting antsy, but whichever way you look at it, someone is late.
Go on, tell him off. 1:25 is definitely not gogo-ichi.
Go ahead. Don’t hold back. I mean, 1:35 is five minutes late for a 1:30 appointment, but in terms of a gogo-chi appointment, this is a no-show!
But hey, is this the right time to be figuring this out?
As Kubo stops twirling the pen and starts to thinks, I quip, “Well, for starters, it can’t mean one o’clock. If it did, you would make the appointment saying, ‘See you at one,’ and there would be no need to use a different expression.”
“But,” Kubo says, ignoring me, “he might have wanted to use gogo-ichi to mean one o’clock in the afternoon. Like any industry jargon, words get shortened.”
If that’s how you want to think about it, don’t let me stop you.
Being his ex-boss, I feel a responsibility to say something. “You can’t get any work done unless you make definite appointments by saying ‘at one o’clock’ or ‘be here by 1:30.’”
giving me the “I’m no longer a whiny little freshman, so spare me the lecture” look.
Don’t you look at me like that, Kubo. I’ve known you from the time you cried in front of a client during a presentation because they wouldn’t accept your proposal. Remember that!
I think back to the appointments and rendezvous of yesteryear.
I mean way back before the proliferation of mobile phones. Back then, young people (me, in other words) were sincere when arranging times to meet. Oh, to have a video to show these fools.
None of the silliness of today. Things like “I’ll text you when I get to Shibuya, so just hang around the area.” A proper rendezvous would be, “meet you behind the statue of Hachiko in front of Shibuya Station at 3 p.m.” Not “around three,” but 3 p.m. on the dot.
If a guy arrived five minutes late for a date, he would immediately apologize and ask if she waited long. If 15 minutes late, he knew she would be angry, so he would be thinking of an excuse. If 30 minutes late, he didn’t expect her to be there.
From the girl’s perspective, if she was kept waiting for five minutes, she would accept it because he is always late. If 15 minutes, she would be thinking of some expensive cafe or restaurant he could take her to make up for being late. If 30 minutes, she would be overcome with panic hoping that nothing terrible had happened.
That’s what an appointment is all about; it covers the uncertainty that you might miss each other for some reason. As both parties are unsure, they carefully commit to a precise time, avoiding any misunderstandings.
A concept like gogo-ichi wouldn’t even enter into the equation.
The words one uses do not always clearly convey the intended meaning to the other party, mainly because the same clear meaning itself is not shared.
What I consider responsibility and what you consider responsibility….
What I consider commonsense and what you consider commonsense….
What I consider gogo-ichi and what you consider gogo-ichi….
There are a lot of words flying around that we pretend to grasp in mutual understanding, but we obviously don’t.
Listen to that, he just added “around” to gogo-ichi.
Now, I’m doing it!
I’m ready to punch you, Kubo.
You are really annoying me, you idiot.
Looking now at the clock, it says 1:48. There is no way you can call this gogo-ichi, no matter how fuzzy the expression is.
No sooner did I think this, than a guy walks into the room and says with a slight drawl, “Kubo-saaan.”
What? You were waiting for the delivery guy? Give me a break!
creative director and copywriter
born in 1961
He joined Dentsu Inc. after graduating Osaka University. He is currently active in copywriting and has won numerous advertising awards.
His work on the Toyota Motor Corporation Corolla Fielder ad won him the 2003 TCC Grand Prix award for the second time.
After serving as creative director, he left Dentsu in 2006 to establish Kotoba Corporation.
Yamamoto’s book An-bon (Idea book) was published by Impress Japan
In addition to his work in advertising, he is involved in various creative activities, such as writing lyrics for the Japanese pop singer Akiko Wada.
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|CATEGORY : Culture||TAG : CULTURE,Words around Town|
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