Stephen Starts a Diary: May 14th COMPLY

5/14 Monday

I don’t know about you but I just love signing a binding contract every single year.  Today was our annual “compliance” seminar, designed to both bore you to tears and indoctrinate you in the ways of Yoshimoto.  It is exactly as exciting as it sounds.

There are a bunch of rules you have to follow as part of a Japanese entertainment company.  Whereas your manager and agent works for you in other entertainment systems, you work for the agency in Japan, which means no work without your company’s approval (oops) and adhering to whatever random rules and regulations your company may have in place.  Needless to say, in a company as large as Yoshimoto, there are tons of rules and tons of people who completely fail to follow them.

So what ends up happening is that the agency calls you up out of the blue, gives you a date and time (usually a weekday at buttass early o’clock) and the instruction to get to one of its many theaters for another compliance sesh.  You show up, half asleep and a sweaty mess thanks to Tokyo rush hour train traffic, and are crammed into a dark theater with several hundred of your peers (many of whom are only comedians in name only due to a lack of gigs or work) where you have to sit around for an hour as a random Yoshimoto lawyer goes over the same old “don’t take pictures up chicks’ skirts spiel” he did last year.  Then they make you sign your contract (this is how they also take attendance) and push you out the door to accomidate the several hundred people waiting for the next session to start.

Not for nothing but you end the day feeling like more of a faceless cog in a machine than you did when you woke up.  Also, calling something “Compliance” makes it sound like some sort of punishment in a draconian regime.

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