I’m in Japan. In the office, I’m surprised to find I’m being asked to share my ideas on a combustion engine with plugins as a source of energy.
In the middle of the office, a spa is laid out. I feel its proper to take off my pants. I do this, looking for an OK from my oriental hosts and superiors. They indicate it’s OK and proper.
“Is it environmentally friendly?” a business executive in his thirties asks. “No,” I say. He gives a look like that was the most important benefit they were looking for and the merit of my idea would have been secured in that.
I begin to explain. It’s a complicated idea. Talking about it with other people for the first time has me realizing how rough around the edges it is; I get warmed up by the talking about it.
“It’s a plugin energy source system; so, of course it’s environmental… you simply select environmentally responsible energy sources.” At this, they look relieved and no longer want to reject my idea out of hand. There is a typical oriental respect and seriousness that changes the whole atmosphere of the conversation… the engagement.
We drive around the outskirts of the city. It looks like any European city. I look out the window and see a roundabout, a girl on a bike, perhaps a bridge nearby… typical suburban fair. The grass is a lime green. It’s like looking at a children’s book. “Do you like Japan?” I’m surprised at the question because everything looks like a typical city. How do I explain this to them. I say “I like Japanese culture; I incorporate it into my lifestyle as it suits me; however, this city, on the outside, looks like any other.”