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Will

Will writes from Washington, D.C. (well, Arlington, Virginia). You can reach him at willblogcorrespondence at gmail dot com.

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8 Responses

  1. Avatar Jaybird
    Ignored
    says:

    In Western Culture, a bow is something we associate with royalty.
    In Japanese Culture, it’s a sign of respect (among other things, of course).

    If he had gone to a country where people greet by flapping their arms like a chicken and ululating, I’d have no problem with him flapping his arms like a chicken and ululating. Hey, it’s funny because it’s not our culture.

    If he’s bowing to a dude because he says “oh, that dude is royalty”, then that’s when you polish off the “we didn’t fight a revolutionary war to bow to royalty!!!” diatribes.

    This calls for a much more nuanced diatribe. That Guy in your D&D group who went to Japan and just started bowing to any (EVERY!) body he had opportunity to interact with? The hostess at the restaurant! The lady at the laundromat! The guy selling newspapers, gum, and cigarettes at the kiosk! Bow! YOU’RE IN JAPAN YOU’D BETTER START FRIGGIN’ BOWING!!!!!

    Yell not at Obama because he bowed to royalty.

    Yell at Obama because he is That Guy.Report

    • Avatar Kyle in reply to Jaybird
      Ignored
      says:

      That’s such an American complex I find. The sense that I have to partake in a cultural tradition to demonstrate my respect for it, even if in most cases there isn’t reciprocity.

      I mean it’s not as though the Japanese stop bowing and start shaking hands when visiting America.

      Weird.Report

  2. Avatar Nob Akimoto
    Ignored
    says:

    Except he isn’t “That Guy”.

    He bowed to the fucking Emperor. I’m glad there’s actually Americans capable of bowing at the waist and not the half-assed head crap you lot always try when you greet Japanese people.

    I suppose maybe we (the Japanese) should be ranting about the fact that the Emperor dared to shake the hand of a westerner! I mean the nerve! It shows how much we’ve been enthralled by western cultural standards that are threatening our traditional ways of life….

    …see? Isn’t that a little silly?Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Nob Akimoto
      Ignored
      says:

      Well, if the emperor came here and started shaking the hands of everybody and talking about the great bargain Wal-Mart had on bottled water and discussing the finer points of scrapbooking with the Cri Cut printer with the First Lady… well, I think that the curmudgeons in Japan who would snort and say “step foot on US soil and the next thing you know, That Guy is shopping at Wal-Mart” would, indeed, have a point.

      That said, when the Japanese Prime Minister came to the US, he put on Elvis’s glasses.

      That’s, like, 10 times cooler than what US officials tend to do. US officials throw up and stuff.Report

  3. Avatar Scott
    Ignored
    says:

    Since when do American presidents bow or their wives curtsy to foreign potentates? Obama’s bow said I am an inferior and you are my superior. It is hardly the kind of message a world power wants to send.Report

    • Avatar Nob Akimoto in reply to Scott
      Ignored
      says:

      I assure you bowing has nothing to do with inferiority or superiority in the Japanese mind unless it involves a dogeza. It’s simply what you do when you meet someone and introduce yourself properly. To view everything through a western prism is the biggest flaw of foreign policy commentators in the US.Report

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