There's No Such Thing As An Easy Job by Kikuko Tsumura
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Featured on The Thread: 'There's No Such Thing As An Easy Job' takes gentle aim at Japan's work culture
A young woman walks into an employment agency and requests a job that has the following traits: it is close to her home, and it requires no reading, no writing, and ideally, very little thinking.
Her first gig--watching the hidden-camera feed of an author suspected of storing contraband goods--turns out to be inconvenient. (When can she go to the bathroom?) Her next gives way to the supernatural: announcing advertisements for shops that mysteriously disappear. As she moves from job to job--writing trivia for rice cracker packages; punching entry tickets to a purportedly haunted public park--it becomes increasingly apparent that she's not searching for the easiest job at all, but something altogether more meaningful. And when she finally discovers an alternative to the daily grind, it comes with a price.
This is the first time Kikuko Tsumura--winner of Japan's most prestigious literary award--has been translated into English. There's No Such Thing as an Easy Job is as witty as it is unsettling--a jolting look at the maladies of late capitalist life through the unique and fascinating lens of modern Japanese culture.