Will & Tracy

This is our blog

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Baby take a bow....

I do have to admit my biggest paranoia living here is offending the Japanese ...and trust me... there are a million ways to do it. With everyone spitting and peeing everywhere in China you can understand why I didn't really worry about it there. Will doesn't seem as concerned as I do, but I seriously don't want to screw up. I think eventually (meaning very soon) I will just need to get over it and figure that I'm going to be "oh she is just an American" and go with the flow. Haven't I had enough practice with "going with the flow" living in China for the last 2 years?

Now lets get on to an important subject here in Japan - bowing. I thought I bowed quite often in China and I'm sure there is a technique and rules there, but not like there is in Japan. The problem is - I don't understand the rules and so whenever someone bows, I bow back - seems reasonable - but EVERYBODY seems to bow at EVERYTHING. This may be a bizarre reference to make, but anyone remember the German woman who bowed non-stop after coming in second place against the VonTrapp Family Singers at that folk festival at the end of the "Sound of Music"? I feel like THAT woman and all the Japanese are secretly laughing at me. I think I'm realizing that my vertigo lately may be the result of bowing improperly or maybe that I just have not had enough practice (ie "The novice bower" - is bower a word - besides in euchre?).

So after doing a little research online (click on title link) - I'm really not surprised that I'm still confused. Case in point - our friends Toshi and Kimiko introduced us to our 86 year old neighbor. All I knew at that point (since she was older) was that I was supposed to bow lower than she did - but since I am looking down I couldn't really tell how low I should be going and I didn't know proper hand placement (depending on if you are a man or woman) - I kept looking at Toshi and Kimiko for guidance but they were bowing too - at me and then at her - I then kept going back to the lady and bowing and she kept bowing at me...this went on for a minimum of 5 minutes. I have no idea what Will was doing at the time but it seemed that I was doing all the work. In all the websites I have read on the many many different rules to this whole bowing thing (ie when to bow 15 degrees vs 30 degrees - say what?), none of them that I found told you when you should or more importantly could stop ...and I wasn't about to stop bowing to a 86 year old Japanese lady that is our new neighbor - talk about the ultimate insult. Next time I may try to decrease my angle by 5 degrees each time and then eventually we will be standing up just nodding our heads at each other. Yes, I really worry about such things.

So until I figure out these rules I just bow at everyone which make me very dizzy by the end of the day. That and you have to be careful not to trip over something (including your own feet - no comment) while you are walking and bowing at the same time - or maybe you are not supposed to walk and bow at the same time and that is the point - ahhhhhhh! What Finn must be thinking as he looks out from his stroller at me - I'm probably glad I don't know.

Picture of Finn laughing at me from his stroller...


Anonymous Anonymous said...

LOL!!!! Im laughing my Von Trapp ass off right now!!! Didn't we count the number of bows at some point? That is hysterical, I can just visualize you doing the bowing!!!! LOL!!! Seriously, my sides hurt. Im also picturing Finn bowing in his stroller. xoxo

4:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Okay, I just read the etiquette of bowing on the link you sent. It's even funnier now! Three levels, inferior bows, longer, shorter, and head nod! Wow, I never would have known the complexity of it all. Thanks for the tutorial! xoxo-cll

5:00 AM  
Blogger willandtracy said...

Thank you Carie for "getting" my movie reference - I thought only my sister and mom may get it - I forgot about you and Missy understanding. I love my family - they laugh with me and at me. ;)

8:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

before i even got to the von trapp reference, i had that image in my head...but did you really need to include the eucre reference to solidify our michigan roots? the ONLY people i have ever met that even know that game are from Michigan. i think GHHS was in rare form with the lunch time eucre tournaments!

3:58 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home