I remember when we were having a big expensive dinner for 20 people or so, all coworkers, for those from out of town.
The most senior ranking member didn’t eat fish. We found that this dinner, like ANA Business Class, had only fish options. Out the main dishes and side dishes, there was only a single side dish that wasn’t fish. It was duck.
My colleague and I were having dinner and drinks and one of the tables, talking to the 3 young ladies across from us at our table for perhaps an hour. They were from out of town and had a lot of questions. We told them as much as we could in casual conversation about our experience in Japan, the food that we were eating, learning about the culture, the language, traveling the country, having fun. I truly thought that we were enlightening them, sustaining their curiosity and wonder, sharing our personal experiences.
Something about us must have seemed off. Maybe it was my colleague, maybe it was me. I am guessing that it was at least partially due to me eating edamame with chopsticks, something that nobody does.
The leading lady in the middle asked in a jovial yet sincere way: “Wait a minute, are you guys just making all of this up? Do you really live here?”
I laughed, hard.
I laughed harder than is generally accepted in the workplace. She put a surprise ending on my whole evening.
We could have been making it all up; ad-libbing years of experience in Japan.
It would have been hard to keep subtle lies going for so long.
It was somewhat cruel to cut through all that had transpired with an accusation. At the same time, I prefer this brutal honesty and demonstration of character rather than a smile and a nod.
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