Hidemi’s Rambling by Hidemi Woods

Singer, Songwriter and Author from Kyoto, Japan.

Hidemi’s Rambling No.427

on August 8, 2012
RECOMMENDED songs ; Meet your favorite artists.


***** 88th Planet Project *****


Japan is a country of ambiguity. There are gray areas everywhere. Take a mobile coupon sent to a cell phone for instance. On a coupon screen, it says ‘Valid for all stores in the mall’. But right next to it, there’s a name of a specific store, along with a description ‘Show this screen to this store’. I can’t tell whether the coupon is acceptable for all stores or only for the specific store. Ambiguity is also seen in people. Japanese people don’t articulate yes or no. Especially they don’t like to say no. I brought the mobile coupon to a cafe in the mall, which wasn’t the specific store mentioned on it. I asked the salesperson if it was acceptable here or not. She carefully read the screen of my cell phone and said, “Well, let’s see…” three times. All I needed was yes or no, but she started describing the specific store shown on the coupon. I asked my simple question “Can I use this here?” again. She answered with her “Well, let’s see…” twice, and then began to explain the characteristics and the specialties of the named store. To help with her answer, I said, “So, I can’t use this here though it also says ‘Valid for all stores’.” Instead of a simple no, she began to tell me the named store’s location in the mall. I tried my “Can I use this here?” again. She read the coupon screen out loud again and just repeated “Well, let’s see…” several times. Then she started, “If the specific store on the screen were the name of our cafe, you could use this.” Now, we were getting somewhere. I said, “So, this isn’t acceptable here,” feeling sure to hear a no from her at last. Yet, she repeated “Well, let’s see…” and began to describe the named store again. I got back where I started just for a no. I don’t understand why saying no is so difficult. I always say yes or no clearly because I hate ambiguity. It must seem strange to them. Maybe that explains why I don’t have a friend here…

RECOMMENDED songs ; Meet your favorite artists.


***** 88th Planet Project *****

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