Saturday, May 05, 2007

Daniel's testing

This post is not really Ba Gua related. It is more of a life lesson kind of post, and it also offers insight into the Asian mindset.

Daniel worked in some kind of convention job. I believe that he set up displays for products at conventions. He would travel around as part of his job so occasionally he would miss class because he was out of state.

At some point in time Daniel came in contact with some Japanese people. I cannot recall if he set up a convention display for Japanese people or products in the USA, or if he went to Japan and did it.

Daniel returned from this job happy. He was smiling and animated as he described his work and interaction with the Japanese people. What he was really excited about was that the Japanese people liked him. They wanted to do further business with him.

I can imagine how special that must have made Daniel feel. Daniel was youngish. He looked and acted youngish. For a corporation or a group of people to single him out and make him feel special must have been intoxicating.

From the Japanese perspective, Daniel was white, he was young so he was impressionable, he was outgoing and friendly, he was a people person. Daniel would have been a good person to work in Public Relations. He would be a worthwhile asset to a business or corporation.

At some point in time Daniel said the Japanese wanted him to fly to Japan. Because of this, I am thinking he must have first met the Japanese in the USA. Daniel was bursting as he talked about how they were paying for everything. How they wanted him to go to Japan and participate in something or other for some period of time, perhaps a week or a weekend, while they covered all of the costs.

For a corporation, that money is nothing. A tax writeoff. Something corporate types accept as part of their lifestyle. For Daniel, having everything paid for, and most of it being top of the line in accomodations or business class, he must have felt godlike.

Daniel returned from Japan and it was even better than he had hoped. He had enjoyed the entire trip. The Japanese people all seemed to have loved him. Most of all they were going to have him come back for all of that special treatment again!

I was impressed. I have never flown to Japan before. I think it would be a special place. I think it would be quite an experience to interact with Japanese people in their own country.

Daniel and I were discussing one of the parties he had attended when he said "and something weird happened".

Daniel said he had been at one of the fancy parties speaking to people when he mentioned that he spoke German. Everyone was impressed and reacted as you imagine they might. Making appreciative comments for an intellectual attainment that required perseverance and hard work.

Daniel then said that there was another party or meeting the next day, and during this meeting one of the Japanese men there began to speak German to Daniel. Daniel wondered at the coincidence of telling the Japanese he spoke German, and then the next day a German speaking Japanese comes to the meeting and begins speaking to Daniel.

Even Daniel wasn't that slow. He said to me "I wonder if they were testing me?"

Of course they were testing him. Daniel had stated that he spoke German. From the perspective of the Japanese, or the perspective of a prospective employer, they would want to know if he really did speak German. If Daniel did speak German, they would test has ability to speak German. If he did not speak German, Daniel would be exposed as a man who made false claims. A man who was not suitable for employment.

When Daniel said this I remember thinking how naive he was. Actually I was less charitable than that. I wondered if he was blind or stupid. ;) There are no coincidences. Things like that never happen by accident.

For me it was a reaffirmation of my admiration for Japanese people. I have always admired Japanese culture. To hear this first hand account of how they subtly tested Daniel's claim of speaking German was affirmation that the Japanese were a special kind of people in my opinion.

In contrast, I could see a people who were more blatant about thinks point blanking asking Daniel to speak German to "prove he could speak German". Or maybe asking him to report somewhere where he could "be tested for his ability in German". Both aggressive, rude and uncaring ways of testing Daniel, when compared to the smoothness of a guest at a relaxing party "happening to speak German" and testing Daniel in that relaxed, courteous and polite atmosphere.


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