Friday, January 23, 2009

A different kind of respect

From East Windup Chronicle comes a story of life in Japan. One of the things, and few things, I know about the Japanese is their respect for their elders, and their immense respect for their elders.

Now, I'm all for showing respect to senior citizens and those who have achieved a certain status in life. But I don't think I'm going to refer to Ichiro as Sir!! Seems the blogger, along with some friends, was in Japan a got a cab ride, with the gist of the story being:
the subject in the cab had turned to ICHIRO. The driver flicked his hand to the right and mentioned that ICHIRO had gone to high school over there, at Nagoya High School for Electronics. Just think, if baseball hadn’t worked out, ICHIRO could have put together your car stereo or Tamagotchi pet.
The cab driver then proudly announced that he was Ichiro’s superior, an alumnus of the same baseball club at Nagoya Electric. I interpreted that for the other guys in the cab, and they wanted to know exactly what that meant. So did I.
And me too, obviously. So what did this mean:
The cab driver explained that, even though over twenty school years separated them, if they ever met and he mentioned the school that Ichiro would have to refer to him as “sir,” or otherwise honor the cabbie’s superiority.
However, common sense prevailed:
I guessed that if Ichiro were sitting in the taxi with us that he might turn to
us and say, “This guy is *$&# nuts,” in English and bow and say “sir” in
Japanese. And then proceed to listen to the driver tell us his batting average
and running time to first base as we did.

Hey, I'm all for the respect issue. But I think back to when I went to school, and some of those older than me, particularly some of my relatives.I just don't see me showing that kind of respect just because they were born a certain number of years before me, and happened to go to the same school.

I know different places have different rules, but somehow I don't see Manny doing this. Or Sir Sidney. Or A.J. Pierzynski.


Nick said...

I play soccer with a few Japanese guys. One guy's wife showed up to cheer him/us on. We're not a very good team and this fellow wasn't lighting the nets on fire, either. Apparently, after the game, his wife told him that he played poorly, that she was embarassed by his performance and that he should do some research on the internet or at the library as to how to play better. We asked what she thought about the poor play of the rest of us and he replied that it didn't concern her because she didn't control us but she did control her husband. Talk about culture shock. Yikes.

Ron Rollins said...

That's sad. In more ways than I could say.

But I guess thats's the Japanese mentality.