2019-12-08 - Meeting The Samurai


A meeting of business minds

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Sun Dec 8 03:28:04 2019
Location: Yashida Limited

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After being told about Ken from Barbara, Bruce had made arrangements for himself and his heir apparent - that being Helena, to meet with Ken and get some information on the new business in town. As the family's town car pulls up outside of the business, the driver steps out and opens the door for Helena, and then Bruce. Stepping out, the older of the Wayne's offers a smile to the driver. "Thank you. I'll page you when we're done."

"Very good, Master Bruce." comes the response, before Bruce is glancing over at Helena and giving her a swift little smile. "Alright, this is mainly just to see if there's anything we can help with and welcome him to the neighborhood. Hopefully, it will go well." Because Bruce isn't sure if Ken's arrival has something to do with the recent uptick in gang activity.

Business meetings. These days, Helena spends most of her time in uniform at SHIELD. But there's no real avoiding the fact that she'll eventually inherit the business and the responsibilities that come with it. Potentially sooner rather than later, given the things the family gets up to. So she's here, dressed neatly in navy blue trousers, a ruffled white silk blouse, and a tailored blazer, her hair twisted up into a knot.

"So we should have brought some cookies?" she replies to her father with a flicker of a smile as she straightens her jacket, wry.

Yashida Limited is one of several moderately sized companies in the city owned by the Yashida family of Japan. None of them are really competitors of Wayne Enterprises. Sure, they may make some products in the same markets. Wayne makes enough things that this is difficult to avoid. However in terms of market share, none of them are even close. Still, they do well enough. Well enough to pull down hundred of millions of dollars between them and post very healthy balance sheets.

The man overseeing the group of companies - including this one - for the family is named Kenuichio Harada. He's… colorful. The illegitimate son of the family's late leader, he has been a Yakuza operative, very briefly a HYDRA agent, a hero for the government of Japan working for their version of the Avengers, a martial arts teacher and of course, a businessman. All of this isn't difficult to find out. It's public information, if one knows where to look and thus the famously well prepared Waynes will very likely know it.

The very polite front end staff very quickly see Bruce and Helena up to the upper floors. Once there they may note how very Japanese the decor becomes from wall hangings to bonsai trees. "Mister Harada should be here…" The receptionist assigned to take them up says, knocking on an open door.

"Come in." The voice is accented but not overly so. It belongs to a well dressed man in a dark suit and tie, about half Bruce's age, who is just leaning over to clip a small branch off a small tree.

"Ah. Mister and Miss Wayne. Come in. Make yourselves comfortable. Can I offer you some refreshments? Tea perhaps? Or something stronger?"

"Tea would be fine, thank you." Bruce offers. He's already read up on the dossiers, he's left things to Helena to let her decide if she wanted to study up or learn on the fly. Taking in the office on the upper floors, there's a small chuckle. "It's very feung shui, isn't it?" he asks his daughter as he waits til he's greeted by the owner of the company and offers his hand. "Bruce Wayne. A pleasure to meet you. This is my daughter, Helena." Of course he already knows this.

"She suggested bringing cookies, but I think we'd may have gone with the fruit basket instead." Of course there is no fruit basket, he's teasing the oldest. "Welcome to Staten Island. Have you been settling in well?'

Helena did her own sort of studying. If she's picked up anything from her father, it's a tendency to hoard information. Signing on with SHIELD hasn't really improved that tendency. "Normal people bring cookies," she counters her father with a wry smile, stepping forward to offer a hand once the adults have exchanged greetings. "Tea sounds lovely, thank you. And it's a pleasure to meet you, Mister Harada."

"Pleasure to meet you both." Kenuichio says, shaking both Bruce and Helena's hand when offered, giving them a polite bow in the process.. He moves to a cast iron kettle sitting on a much more modern induction heater. Water is poured. Matcha powder is dispensed and stirred with the sort of perfectionist precision that is stereotypical of the Japanese. A mastery of details endemic to their cultural conception of mastery of a task.

"I must admit I was rather surprised to get your message. Pleasantly so, of course, but I was not aware that any of the Yashida family businesses were really on your radar, so to speak." The tea is handed out and, with a cup of his own, Kenuichio settles into a chair that rather than being behind his desk, is in front of it, and near a small table that he can rest his cup on. All of the chairs in here seem to be so arranged.

"And yes, it is rather feng shui, Miss Wayne. Purposely so, of course." Ken smiles a small smile and takes a sip. "In any case, thank you for your welcome. And welcome to Yashida Limited. So named for the amount of time I prefer to spend here."

There's a chuckle from Bruce as he waits for Helena to be seated first and then takes his own seat. Folding his hands around the mug, he glances at the contents of it. "I try to keep my ear to the wind as it were when we hear of new companies setting up. Wayne Enterprises has been a staple of Staten Island since the Revolutionary Times, and my father tried to impart the idea of welcoming new ventures and offering assistance as needed. Have you been settling in well?" he asks.

Lifting the cup sip from it, after the drink, he moves to set it down delicatedly on the table as he looks aside to Helena. "It's also a bit of a learning experience. Someday, my daughter will be running things more often, and I want her to know those that will be living nearby, as it were. Have you only established your business here or were you looking for a home as well? I know a lot of owners tend to commute."

"Staten Island: Where the crime rate does great things for dropping property values and making industrial investment in warehouse space a good deal," Helena says cheerfully, as if it were the borough's tourism motto. "Which in turn contributes to continuing the crime rate, because warehouses and industrial areas are less likely to constantly have interested people than residential areas."

Clearing her throat, she looks down into her teacup to take a sip. "Sorry," she says afterwards, setting her cup down with a rueful smile. "We've been studying some crime rates and enforcement data in school lately."

"Well enough, Mister Wayne, yes. Business culture and regulations are quite different here. Our board has a number of Americans on it, so that helps, but there are things that are still strange to people like me." Kennuichio says, taking another sip of his drink. "It's an interesting concept, or at least it is for Americans. In Japan of course there is a great deal of… what is the best word? Awareness of social position and niceties. I have observed that less in business here. People are polite, don't mistake me, especially in private settings, but in business… well. Business is business, as they say."

"Ah the business is somewhat more mature than I. I was sent by the family to help manage the holdings. It is in truth neither my passion nor my calling but I am good enough at it and it is my duty to the family. If I may be candid, the Yashida family has only in the last few years divested itself of ties within it's businesses to organized crime. Part of my reason for being here is to make sure that it stays that way."

"I have am at present staying in a company owned condo in one of the towers here on the Island. I am interested in not being in it long term, though, so you could say I am looking for a home. One here, though. Close to my other, more enjoyable business."

The Japanese man pauses to take a sip of tea and look curiously at Helena. "Yes, I have noticed that crime here is more endemic than in other parts of the city. And business… well. Let us say that if we wished to expand we should not have a problem buying real estate to do so. Though that is a curious line of study for someone looking to inherit an empire such as Wayne Enterprises."

Bruce cuts Helena the lightest of looks as she brings up the crime statistics. "…we have been very productive in trying to turn thos numbers around, Mister Kenuichio." he tries to start to spin the thought around. "The Thomas Wayne Clinic provides free health care and services to those that can't afford it. We have several food pantries in town, and are the largest employer in the area. The Martha Wayne Foundation provides shelter and support for those in estranged relationships, and we're staunch supporters of the local police union and it's Captains." he explains.

"But yes, Helena is right about the crime and business circle of life as it were." he says with a little sigh. "Though urban growth has it's own hazards."

"Truthfully I'm more interested in the technology aspect of things myself," Helena smiles sheepishly. "But required courses being what they are…" Trailing off, she reaches for her tea again, taking another small sip. "More enjoyable business?" she prompts with an interested look. "What part would that be, given that you'd prefer to limit your time here?"

"Reckless growth of any kind does. It's not a uniquely American tale but your nation knows it well. How many ghost towns dot the West, where those once lured by gold staked claims?" Quite a few. Staten Island was a modern day boom town story. And this is what happens when the boom goes bust. Except with millions of people it's not like the city can just fade away. Not quickly, at any rate.

"It is good though, that your business does good. It sounds like that is something you are very personally interested in, Mister Wayne. Though if I may be so bold as to observe… I am not entirely sure the police department on this island is on the up and up."

There's a short pause as if Ken means to expound on that but then he seems to think better of it and instead reaches into his pocket for a phone. He pulls up a page and hands it over to Helena. "To answer your question, Miss Wayne, that."

There is an image of a small, very traditional looking Japanese building with a Staten Island address. "My dojo. I teach there, when I am not looking after things here. I mentioned that business was neither my passion nor my calling. The martial arts are."

With a brief sigh, Bruce weighs Ken's words. And when he responds, it's carefully. "The NYPD has it's own share of issues from time to time. But it's a matter of knowing that they are doing the best that they can. Which is why I still support the various police charities, the Fraternal Order, and usually have a full table at the luncheons and Policeman's Ball." he explains.

Glancing at the picture of the dojo, Bruce chuckles. "I signed up for some of those classes once. I enjoy the exercise aspect of it all over the whole.. combat?" he asks. "It's very centering. Though I usually have my children train as well." He's known to have had at least three wards and two children after all. "Though I'm sure with Helena's work at the Academy, I'm not sure if she could get a leg up on her martial arts training."

Casually, right up under that bus father throws daughter.

"Oh!" Helena exclaims, smile flashing as she sees the dojo. "It looks like a labor of the heart," she agrees, taking in the architecture, knowing that's not something you just find here on the island. It's a place you build.

"And if I've learned anything at the Academy," she drawls with a rueful glance in her father's direction, "It's that there's no such thing as learning too much. There's always more you can learn, and even the best fighter is only one mistake from losing at any time."

Kennuichio chuckles quietly. "It is very much a… what is the expression? A labor of love, yes Miss Wayne. And it does sound like you are a quite busy young woman." Or so her father seems to suggest. Bruce gets a little bit of a wink here.

"But if you did decide you have time to learn, I make time to teach. One of my classes only has one student at the moment. Someone, incidentally, associated with the police department. I am sure she would not mind the company." That would be Babs. Which Bruce likely knows about but does Helena?

"And yes, Mister Wayne, of course. I did not mean to say that there are no good officers. Or even that the officers are mostly bad. But the behavior patterns of the force as a whole… they put me in mind of things I saw when I was assisting the family in cleaning out our own businesses. Call it a hunch. I may be wrong."

But it's clear that the Japanese businessman does not think that he is. Be that as it may, he doesn't press the matter. Bruce came here for pleasantries and possibly business, yes? Not a discussion on the state of law enforcement on Staten Island. After all… why would that be a topic of his especial interest?

It's not, really, but Bruce is paying attention. "Cleaning out their own business?" he asks curiously. "I hadn't heard about it, but I admit, there are times I miss out on things."

That's a lie, he knows, he is just fishing at this point though. Because Bruce Wayne isn't supposed to know the things he knows.

Lifting the tea to take another sip from it, he considers the cup. "Staten Island is a bit broken, I know that. But I'm of the opinion that it's a bit like kintsugi. You fill in the cracks with something better, and it will come back stronger than before. Which is why I came by. I know that things are a little.. off balanced in Staten Island. But if you ever should have need to want help with a project, or a door opened that may be a bit harder, let me know, and I'll see what strings I can pull."

"I'll have to look at my schedule," Helena muses, taking a last look at the dojo. "Classes keep me pretty busy, but I do at least get home on weekends. Sometimes," she adds with a rueful smile and a look to her father. "If your other student has connections with the police department, it might be a connection worth making regardless. I've always been of the mind that it's better to know things than not, even if you don't know what you need to know it for."

"An apt metaphor, Mister Wayne." Keniuchio nods. "And a very generous offer. Allow my to return the offer in kind." He produces two business cards and hands one to Bruce and one to Helena. "My phone number. My family has several interests here on the Island and they were not considerate enough to all be located in the same building. But I am always happy to take your calls, should there be need."

Ken can't do near as much in the way of opening doors. But he has a lot of interesting connections, particularly overseas, and he is incredibly familiar with the international business scene here.

"Ah yes. Cleaning out our businesses. The late head of the family had ties to the Yakuza and tangled up our businesses with them. When he passed, his successor elected to cut those ties. It was a process and not one that the Yakuza was entirely happy with. But the family thinks we are better for it. And I tend to agree."

"Connections are indeed good to make, Miss Wayne. And my offer is open. I will not be insulted if you do not take me up on it though. I know you must have a great many demands on your time, as any young noble would." And that is indeed what they are. People who stand to inherit businesses like Wayne Enterprises are the new nobility and the parallels are… well. Many.

Perhaps a bit more than Ken realizes, since SOMEONE spends a lot of time learning to fight. Well. Two someones, actually. Both the Waynes would certainly surprise him in the sparring ring if they let themselves cut loose.

"Ah. That would color the police response, I imagine. But I am more than happy to help with any cleaning of images. I have a great team for it." Bruce offers with a small chuckle. "After all, they've had to help me with most of my.. younger indiscretions." There's a shrug of his shoulders and a small laugh at that.

"Then I welcome you to Staten Island, Mister Keniuchio, and I look forward to seeing what you bring to Staten Island."

Bruce has no plans to dojo visit. But there is a small pause. Because he considers telling Ken about Talia's recent involvement in Staten Island, but for now, he can't find a good way to do so. And he keeps it to himself. Taking the contact information, he provides his own. "I won't share this with anyone else without contacting you first. Is there anything else we may be able to help with?" he asks.

Helena laughs softly at the use of the word 'noble.' He's not wrong. But it's something she balances every day at the Academy. Too many people see it as a sign that she's likely to try to coast through things. "Thankfully, we're at least past the whole arranged marriage thing," she winks, setting a hand to her father's shoulder.

"Thank you again, Mister Harada. And welcome. If you need any advice on the little things of settling in here on the island like where to get the best burgers, you know where to reach us."

"I shall not hesitate to reach out." Kenuichio says, rising. "Come. It seems like things are concluding. I shall walk with you on the way out. I have to look into one of the family's other holdings before the day is done."

There are a great many things that the Waynes may have learned today. And one or two that Harada may have learned. And how will that all play out in the great nightly game on the city streets?

Time will tell.

The room shakes and begins to crumble.


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