You stand, motionless, eyes fixed on the sign before you.
You think your mouth is open a little; nowhere near the cliched slack-jawedness of outright shock, but at least open enough that any winged insect with an agenda could whizz its way in if it really wanted to.
You’re aware of this, but you can’t bring yourself to move.
In fact, you stand so completely still, so completely slightly open-mouthed that at least two people passing by glance surprisedly over their shoulders to see what you’re looking at.
It’s not a big sign so far as signs go. Actually, the bluriness of it tells you that it was originally quite smaller and then blown up to make it more visible.
It’s a help wanted ad. For a ramen shop. More specifically, an ad for a cook’s position at said ramen shop.
You’re pretty sure you’ve passed it before, but the details of it have never quite registered. Like most ads, it lists a suggested salary range. The bottom figure is equal to the starting salary for English conversation teachers. You find this somewhat surprising, but not too terribly so — English conversation pay is generally pretty terrible.
Last month, you received a raise. A small one, but a raise nonetheless, the result of the past year of honing your craft, learning concepts and specialized terminology that most native Japanese wouldn’t be able to make heads or tails of.
The salary for the ramen cook position caps out at what you made up until last month.
Your mouth is still slightly open.
And you wonder if that ramen shop hires foreigners.