Finally, my first drunken businessman story, the perfect interruption to a hate-filled evening. Ahhh... the beauty of this great country of ours. I'm walking into my apartment building, tired, with a cola and bento in one hand. Who should be standing on the other side of the security door but your typical Japanese businessman returning from a late night of working... or so I thought.
"Dozo," I said, offering the elevator to him first. But he just bowed... no, he never stopped bowing, his torso was inclined all the time, and proceeded to let me go first. All right, I'm thinking, I can deal with the super-friendly type tonight, no problem. "Nan kai?" I asked him politely. But he just kept bowing, kept his eyes to the floor.
"Arigatou gouzaimas" he said sutteringly. Uh... ok... that's not an answer, and I know I spoke correctly. He pushed his floor number by himself.
Trying to be a little more friendly I tried "tsukareta, ne?"
"Arigatou gouzaimas, daijobu des." Again, really not an appropriate answer. What is going on? I got my answer when we reached his floor. After a few more "arigatou gouzaimas"'s coming out of his mouth, he proceeded to ram the entire left side of his body into the elevator frame, then nearly tripped over his own foot trying to get out.
Ahhh... what a country where a certain Japanese person speaks simply, drinks heavily, and behaves politely while inebriated. I swear I've never had as many bows directed at me as I did tonight.
A good social experiment
Get yourself some good-looking meishi (business cards) and proceed to introduce yourself to every professionally-dressed Japanese person coming out of your local train station. The average businessman bows 200-300 times every day. Make at least one of those times to you.
"By the power of truth, I, while living, have conquered the universe."
Vi Veri Veniversum Vivus Vici