When I have just started working in Hong Kong, I was the only Japanese employee in the company. Most of my colleagues were from Hong Kong, and others were from different countries in Asia.
I was working as a manager for a Japanese restaurant chain. Most of the employees, including me, were provided meals in restaurants.
One day, I heard that some of the staff were complaining about the meals from the company. They say that the food was not delicious or not enough for everybody, that it was not fair because the kitchen staff could eat anytime what they wanted to eat.
At first, I didn’t take it seriously. I thought in my mind; “Stop complaining! Go and do your work first.”
For me, it was not the most important thing what and how we eat at work. More importantly, we had to get the job done and make a profit. However, as time went by, I realised that I was wrong.
When I was learning Chinese in Japan before I went to Hong Kong, I read an interview article about a Chinese cooking expert, Wu Wen, who lives in Japan. She said that eating is fundamental to our lives. “If you eat well and enjoy eating, you will be happy and can live healthily. It is so important that you cannot ignore.”
Although I was still thinking that it was a small issue, I talked about their complaints to my boss. She said that I should go and solve it. Yet, I didn’t understand how big the problem was. Anyway, I had meetings with the leaders of the shops and discussed what to do. After that, I realised that my thought was very Japanese thinking and typically workaholic.
Yesterday, I read an article in which the writer mentioned about the lonely death of 40’s Japanse lady. She had her own business online and was always working at home. In February in 2019, she was found dead in her bathtub, at least one month after she died. According to the article, she was workaholic. Her business went well, so she had enough money to live. Still, she didn’t eat well. It must have been one of the reasons why she suddenly had to die young.
There are lots of workaholic people in Japan. They tend to suppose that eating is less important than their work. People say that what you eat makes you. It is true, but I think that it is more than that. Eating well-balanced food makes you healthy and content, but you will be much happier if you can enjoy eating and share its joy with your people.
We are not so complicated. I believe that just a simple thing makes us happy. If you still think I am talking something useless, be careful, you might already be workaholic.