POD: Set in the future
All Fall Down
|Type of Appearance:||Direct|
Mr. Nobashi was a Japanese salaryman who clung to the typical business practices of that corporate culture despite living in the United States. He headed the American division of a Japanese ramen noodle manufacturer supervising importing and distribution of noodles across the U.S. He hired Louise Ferguson as his assistant and when she doubtfully said she would try to work the spreadsheets he gave her, he told her "You no try! You do!"
Nobashi's temperament was as explosive as the initial impression he made. He was constantly on the phone to the home office in Hiroshima speaking in impassioned Japanese with the occasional "Ohh, Jeesus Kerrist!" or the like interspersed. When not on the phone, he was constantly shouting for Louise to bring him coffee and sweet rolls or tea and rice or sashimi or anything else he need to keep going. He left the impression that he lived in his office 24/7.
One thing Nobashi wasn't was a lech. His immediate predecessor had tried to treat the women in the office as though he were still were in Japan. One woman sued the company for sexual harassment and won a large settlement. Nobashi was sent as a replacement and kept his hands to himself.
However, a nice guy lurked under the gruff exterior. When Louise first became pregnant and before she informed him of her condition, she was extremely fatigued. She managed to struggle through most of the day and around three thirty he sent her home to get some rest without docking her pay.
Nobashi, although unhappy about it, continued to tolerate Louise's absences for doctor's appointments throughout her pregnancy. When Louise did go off on maternity leave, Nobashi had Patty back-fill her position. After Loise had James Henry and returned from maternity leave, she resumed her position from Patty. Nobashi continued to tolerate her fatigued behavior due to James Henry waking up at all hours, mostly because she could do the job despite how tired she was. However, he would have docked her a day's pay for every day she spent at home when James Henry was sick if she hadn't used vacation days instead.
As the U.S. economy continued its downward spiral due to the eruption of the Yellowstone Supervolcano, home office in Hiroshima became concerned by the decline in profits. Nobashi tried to convince them to continue the U.S. operation but in the spring, two and an half years after the eruption, he was ordered to shut down and return to Japan. He informed Louise that he had to let her go but he would give her a "most excellent letter of recommendation". He acknowledged it wasn't much but was the best he could do.