the nikku

reflecting on ESL/EFL and its relation to faith

Saturday, April 04, 2009

No, No. Yes!

There's a Bill Cosby gag that goes like this:

"When your mother asks me if I like something.  My strategy is this: 'yes, yes, no'."

"What?"

"Do I look good in this dress? -> Yes.  How about this one? -> Yes.  This one? -> No."

And in general, this is my philosophy as well.  I usually say "Yes" it anything (reasonable) the first time, and "No" later on.

I just read that in Japan, proper manners require the opposite.  When invited to do something or have something, proper manners require that you turn down an offer at least twice before accepting.  The causes the giver to insist that you do something. 

I think this borders on manipulation, however, few people strictly follow the moral code anymore anyway. 

Just something to keep in mind if you're in Japan.  Keep trying, even when you get turned down.  The person might be waiting for you to insist! 

2 Comments:

Blogger Laurie ´╝łand John) Elliot said...

Shortly after I first read about this bit of ettiquette I turned down a piece of cake that I REALLY WANTED to eat. It was never offered again! My hostess was from the mountains of Iwate and not very bothered by high class manners. I learned. You should offer and offer... but if you want something yourself don't bank on the getting a second offer. A bit of hesitancy might be polite - maybe mutter something reasonably humble - but by all means, TAKE IT!

4/04/2009 7:50 PM  
Blogger NB said...

I guess I was focusing more on the offering aspect than the accepting part. :)

It always pays to be aware of your particular context as well. ;)

4/04/2009 8:19 PM  

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