Saturday, June 7, 2008

How dare you blow your nose in front of that nice Japanese lady!!

Story time!

A brief forum post I just made got me recollecting the day I once spoke to a woman.

It was 10 years ago now, and I was going out to dinner with a couple of friends of mine and their female cousin who was visiting them. She was 19, brunette, tall, and leggy. She was the epitome of beauty. The very essence of a young man's deepest desires. I hadn't seen her since she was in pig-tails, but she had now blossomed into the 8th Wonder of the World - full of heavenly possibilities.

Well, naturally, I wanted to impress. So I went all out on looking the part, and loaded myself with the most expensive aftershave I could find.

When they picked me up, Laura, for that was her name, turned around to me in the back seat and said "You smell really nice, Kiah". I was taken aback. I stammered some response, and she giggled at me, and in a cute voice she said "You are too funny, Kiah!".

Cheerleaders in my head were doing triple somersaults! "GO KIAH!!"

When we arrived I opened the car door for her, and similarly hurried over to the restaurant entrance and opened the door for her there too (and yes, my two friends were rolling their eyes the entire time, lol). She smiled back at me and said, "Thanks Kiah, that's very sweet of you". Three cherries on a slot machine went off at once in the small recess of my mind, and I heard the wonderous sound of jackpot music. I was on a roll!

But when we sat down at the table there was an uncomfortable silence.

As my friends left to get drinks, I found I was in the most precarious situation a nerd like me could ever happen to be placed in. Alone with a girl. It was like having the most delicious pizza ever created sitting right in front of you, but not knowing the physical means necessary to be able to eat it.

As I pondered this thought, I played with my cutlery, folded and unfolded my napkin, and generally looked as out of place as one could be without nudity and crocodiles being involved. I found that I couldn't even look at her. My heart was racing and I could sense the golden slot machine in my head being smashed to pieces, never to chime for me again.

The silence had grown to painfully distressful proportions, but my mind was forever racing for something to say. I wanted to tell her what a beautiful woman she had grown into since I had seen her last, and so in a last ditch effort to salvage the situation, I tried to form those words, but instead blurted out:

"You're a lot more endowed than when we last met."

As I was looking at her chest (but not looking really; just avoiding her eyes), the intent of my statement took further reinforcement, and she started to frown. The frown then turned into a scowl, and the beautiful woman before me transformed into the bitch queen from hell. I was only trying to say how beautiful she was - it just came out wrong! I've never even used the word "endowed" before! She immediately stood up yelling words along the lines of "That's all you guys think about!", and stormed off, somewhat ironically, into the area where they housed the slot machines.

I never saw her again. But if I did, I'm quite sure she would be a lot more endowed than when we last met. heh.

Now, there is no moral to this story, and there is nothing there to do with anime, and quite frankly I've forgotten the original reason why I wrote it in the first place. hehe

Oh yes, this entry is supposed to be about Japanese manners and etiquette. Okay it's an extremely slim connection, but originally this was going to be a pretty short post. lol

So now for the actual intent of this entry:

Japanese Etiquette.

I am quite sure that I would somehow have violated a least 50 rules of Japanese etiquette with the above story (ding! see there's the connection! lol), and would be a nervous wreck in Japan if ever I visit. Because after just half an hour of researching Japanese etiquette, it seems there are enough customs (both spoken and unspoken) to fill an entire university course syllabus. lol

Firstly, let me list a few of them which I found intriguing. I cannot vouch for the accuracy of these claims though, so perhaps if anyone familiar with Japanese customs is reading this, can let me know if they find anything incorrect. :-)
  • It's impolite to lick your fingers in front of others.
  • It's impolite to pour your own drink in the company of others.
  • Don't use chopsticks to point at people.
  • Do not tip anyone in Japan. It's considered an insult.
  • It's considered rude to count your change after paying for something.
  • Don't blow your nose in public.
  • Do not stand in the middle of escalators or on the right hand side.
  • Wear a kimono with the left side over the right. You do the opposite at funerals.
  • It's polite to initally refuse an offer of help.
  • It's polite to belittle the value of food or gifts that you offer to someone else.
  • Do not unwrap a gift immediately upon receipt unless you ask for permission first.
  • Slurping noodles in a restaurant shows you are enjoying it and is considered polite.
  • Avoid eating while walking and on the go.

(Evil Lemon is not amused!)

So there you have it. There is definitely alot more research I will have to do if ever I were to holiday in Japan, but I suspect that most Japanese would be used to "ignorant" foreigners stepping all over their customs, let alone mangling their complex language. hehe

Hmmm....I just read some info on Japanese loincloths and Japanese baths. But that's an entry for another time (oooh, and perhaps another story too! haha).

Until next time fellow readers!


NomadicWriter said...

lol, haha great post, is that a true story? if so i can't believe you said that lmao, that poor girl, although you deserved it lol, I think she probably handled it a bit badly though, but some girls do that, i probably would have laughed and told you to shutup, but then again I'm a weird 19 year old that grew up with a heap of boys (my brother and his friends, who are like brothers lol.)

But the Etiquette you posted seems to be all right, with my knowledge anyway lol. Its highly interesting stuff, and I wonder how many times all us foreigners would stuff up lol.

Sandbar said...

Yep, it's a true story, Kate. Happened exactly like that (I of course added flair with all the slot machine and cheerleader stuff - hehe - but yep, the actual events did take place, and words spoken just as I wrote). LOL. It scared me away from women permanently after that, and I haven't spoken to one of "them" since. hehe Except online, or in the confines of a work environment. lol. I've become a recluse cause of that incident. Scarred me for life! Ahhh. :-(

Sorta turned into a long blog entry, and got away from my original intention which was to talk about Japanese customs. hehehe. Funny how my mind wanders, eh? lol

So you know most of that already, huh? I need to find other stuff to blog that isn't probably as obvious to long term Otaku's such as your good self. lol I wanted to post pictures of men putting on loincloths, but I didn't know what comments to make on them. hehe

Oh, and thanks as always for the comment, Kate!