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    How the Yakuza girl came about...

    The inspiration for the Yakuza girl came when I first met Jess, the marketing girl.
    She had just returned from a trip to Turkey last year.

    Some of the incidents I remembered included the following over a period of 2-3 months:

    • I was surprised when she showed the tiger tattoo above her butt to me.
    • Telling her about the Malaysian colleague Aaron who had a girlfriend when he is married, as I had heard from my American colleague. From the American colleague, it appeared that Aaron was sleeping with this girlfriend.
    • Hearing from Jess that Aaron is an interesting person, when we were working, she at her desk, and me at my desk (as we were sitting back-to-back, back then). She had apparently been chatting with him.
    • When I went to Kuala Lumpur to visit my friend Johnny, she sent the WhatsApp group a photo of her drinking with Aaron.
    • When I came back from Kuala Lumpur, hearing from Joanne that Aaron had in fact invited her to share his hotel room (due to Aaron learning from Jess or Joanne) as she has to turn up early at the MBS convention the next day.
    • So one week in April, the whole lot of us decided to go and have drinks together. Aaron, Jess and I then decided to continue elsewhere at Circular Road for drinks. When we were having drinks, Jess announced that there is a French tradition, by toasting and looking at the toasting partner's eyes will ensure great sex for 7 years, which she toasted to both Aaron and I. I had observed both of them messaging (to each other or not, it's unclear), however, I left at about 11pm, while the two of them were still together (and typically, girls will always take the taxi first, but in this case, Jess offered the taxi to me, which was kind of suspicious). She then claimed that her boyfriend will be coming to fetch her.
    • A few days before 6th May, inviting me to dinner with Aaron and her on 6th May, and then the next day, claiming she had forgotten that she had a wedding dinner that night. After this occurred, during a coffee session the following week, revealed on her own that she had in fact had dinner with Aaron.
    • On the week of 23rd May, she had lunch privately with Aaron even though the whole group went to the Maxwell Hawker centre together, while the rest of us came back together, and the next day, then invited me to have lunch with Aaron and her, which I declined as I had scheduled a lunch appointment. So, the next day, when the 4 of us went for lunch together (Aaron, Jess, Bob and me) at Maxwell Hawker centre, Jess without asking Aaron, dumped food onto his plate, which shocked me, and more shockingly, Aaron didn't protest as well, which indicated they were closer than the rest of us had known.
    • Then there were 2 days on which Aaron and Jess both came in at 9am in the morning, which indicated that either they had arranged to have breakfast together, or they were having an affair, as Jess had arranged her office hours to be 10am to 7pm. When I asked Jess a few months later about this (having breakfast), she denied it. Since there is nothing to fear about having breakfast with a colleague, it is more likely they had an affair in the short few weeks they knew each other.
    • Aaron holding Jess' hand in order to balance her, when she was on the balanced wheels, and Jess automatically accepting Aaron's hands.
    • The last day that he was in the Singapore office in May, Aaron was on the way back to the office, having bought a backrest for Jess, and I was on the way to MRT when I encountered Aaron.
    • Jess asking if I was going to a Scandinavian country, and me saying yes, instead of answering with a specific country.
    • The next interaction (the day, or two days after), she asked if I was going to Helsinki.
    • After I got back from Helsinki, Jess was pressuring in trying to get me to follow the entire company in going to watch Independence Day, which I didn't want to go, because the week before, I had already watched it, and also (I'm not sure here) I wanted to see how far she would go in getting me to agree.
    • When I accidentally burnt my finger, she was adamant in wanting to help treat my finger, and when I refused, she followed with me and Terence anyway to get burnt cream for me.
    • Jess mentioned in November that she and Aaron had a quarrel. This is suspicious, since she's still using the backrest he bought, as going by her character, she would have dumped the backrest.
    • Finally, on 27th December, for me to discover her high heels at the floor area beside Joanne, and there being 2 bottles of wines, 2 tubs of ice cream in the fridge (1 tub of Häagen-Dazs and 1 tub of Magnolia Chocolate), 1 carton of eggnog in the fridge, and a packet of turkey drumsticks and a packet of pastamania cheese. It's evident that she had a party in the office, as she asked me how to prepare the turkey drumsticks since she didn't have an oven at home. The tubs of ice cream, wines and eggnog were probably bought by her fiancé's friends, just like they helped sponsor the hotel stay for the engagement on Aug 13 at Novotel, since it's strange for a couple to be buying two tubs of ice cream, and Jess isn't the extravagant type.
    • Also, she once mentioned staying and chatting with her boyfriend in the NetApp office until 3am in the morning, which led me to the conclusion that between 25 Dec to 27 Dec, Jess and her fiancé (there might be others involved?) actually partied in the office.

    The Yakuza practices

    • Sokaiya is the name of a form of large-scale bribery practiced by the Yakuza. First, they buy enough shares in a company to get them a place at a shareholders meeting. They then dig up as much dirt as they can on the company leadership. After that, it’s a case of “give us the money, or we’ll come to the meeting and embarrass you.” The Japanese fear shame so much, and so this tactic works. What is peculiar about this scam is that it is carried out with the utmost politeness. The threats are made in a roundabout way, as are the pay-offs. The Yakuza will host an event—a golf tournament or beauty pageant, for example—and sell awfully overpriced tickets to the victims of their blackmail. Some of Japan’s largest companies have been targeted. Sokaiya had reached such endemic proportions that Japan introduced laws making it illegal for corporations to pay the blackmailers off. Unfortunately, the law did little but make the Yakuza more sophisticated in hiding the scheme. The police are prone to leaking secrets, so reporting the Sokaiya may result in the original blackmail information getting out anyway. Managers would also have to put up with the Yakuza out for revenge, and possibly face prosecution if they have paid off Sokaiya in the past. The most effective tactic so far has been to align shareholder meetings, as the gangsters can only be in so many places at once.
    • Yakuza members who do something they shouldn’t are forced to atone in a brutal way—by chopping off part of their own finger. They start with the tip of their pinkie, but further transgressions require further mutilation. This is known as yubitsume. As a result, many gang members are missing most or all of their left little finger, as well as some others. One of the most iconic images of the Yakuza is their intricate, full-body tattoo art. These use a traditional method of manually inserting ink under the skin, known as Irezumi. They are seen as a mark of a person’s bravery due to the pain the method inflicts. In recent years, the number of non-Yakuza getting this style of tattoo has increased significantly. Popular designs include dragons, mountains, and women.  Despite this widening trend of tattoos among non-Yakuza, they still carry a significant stigma in Japanese society. The mayor of Osaka instituted a ban on government workers with tattoos, telling them to either have their ink removed, or leave and find a job in the private sector.
    • New recruits to a yakuza organization are required to take a subservient role to one of the more experienced members. This is called kobun, literally “child role.” The Yakuza have a complex leadership structure, and there are many layers one must progress through to reach the top. The initiation ritual for a new recruit is a ceremony based around sake, known as sakazukigoto. The initiate sits opposite his oyabun, or “father role,” while the drink is prepared by other members. The newcomer gets a smaller portion while his sponsor’s cup is filled to the brim, a reflection of their status. Each drinks from their own cup, before swapping and taking another drink, at which point the ceremony is complete. This represents the creation of what is almost an adoptive father–son bond between the kobun and oyabun. Drinking of sake is a common ceremony to represent the creation of a bond in Japanese culture. Sake was seen as a bond between man and the gods, formed from the blessing of a good harvest, and this same bond could cement the relationship between people. Couples sip sake at their weddings to represent their coming together. This historical link gives the Yakuza ceremony a religious significance, so it is often performed at a Japanese Shinto shrine.

    Published Thu, 19 Jan 2017, 9:48 PM by frove

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