Do you laugh at yourself?

I find some of the happiest people I know have the ability not to take themselves too seriously. They can laugh at themselves and see the craziness of life at times.

A while back I put up a post about climbing up to a place and sweating buckets to see a “waterfall” that was a trickle. I was laughing at myself.

Today I met a Brazilian who has been in Japan a relatively short time. He couldn’t read the labels on things. He shared how he went to the store to buy dishwashing detergent and got what he thought was the right product but ended up with a jug of salad oil.

I remember being so proud of myself for running and catching a train one day. My pride was short lived as the train started to pull away from the station in the wrong direction.

Do you have favorite story?

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12 thoughts on “Do you laugh at yourself?”

  1. I had a conversation recently meant to laugh at how men over a certain age have man boobs. I grew up with brothers and picking on one another was/is a form of love. Recently the laughter is the ever expanding foreheads. Or the glare from reflected sunlight.

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  2. My first trip to Nippon was to the southern part of the big island; I landed at Nagoya.  Had a local business manager from Mitsui Bussan Aerospace who squired me around, so all was linguistically simple.  Then, on a Friday, he had to hop onto a Shinkansen to Tokyo for a business emergency.  Before he abandoned me in Gifu city, near Kawasaki Heavy Industries (KHI), he made all the arrangements for a decent hotel room, ensured that I knew where the bar was, and gave me explicit instructions on how to ride the local train to work at KHI on Monday morning.  He promised to return by Monday evening .

    All was well and I found the correct train and the stop at KHI, but on the return trip to Gifu’s hotel and bar, after adding some miniscule work product, my ego and cherubic demeanor were ruined.  This far away from a big metro area the signage isn’t generally duplicated in English, so I leaned over to a fellow rider, pointed towards an upcoming town and asked him if that was Gifu City.  Holy Crap!  It was as if I’d thrown acid on him!  I had unknowingly violated his personal space, a rigid Japanese cultural and customary politeness, and in addition I had uttered some kind of devilish gibberish.  He literally shrank from me, wide-eyed, and was obviously shocked and befouled.

    Culture matters, neh?

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  3. Trinity Waters:
    My first trip to Nippon was to the southern part of the big island; I landed at Nagoya.  Had a local business manager from Mitsui Bussan Aerospace who squired me around, so all was linguistically simple.  Then, on a Friday, he had to hop onto a Shinkansen to Tokyo for a business emergency.  Before he abandoned me in Gifu city, near Kawasaki Heavy Industries (KHI), he made all the arrangements for a decent hotel room, ensured that I knew where the bar was, and gave me explicit instructions on how to ride the local train to work at KHI on Monday morning.  He promised to return by Monday evening .

    All was well and I found the correct train and the stop at KHI, but on the return trip to Gifu’s hotel and bar, after adding some miniscule work product, my ego and cherubic demeanor were ruined.  This far away from a big metro area the signage isn’t generally duplicated in English, so I leaned over to a fellow rider, pointed towards an upcoming town and asked him if that was Gifu City.  Holy Crap!  It was as if I’d thrown acid on him!  I had unknowingly violated his personal space, a rigid Japanese cultural and customary politeness, and in addition I had uttered some kind of devilish gibberish.  He literally shrank from me, wide-eyed, and was obviously shocked and befouled.

    Culture matters, neh?

    I had a friend who was born in Japan. He went into restaurants and the staff would play the rock paper scissor game to see who the loser would be to have to take his order. They were afraid he only spoke English.

    How long ago was that, Trin?

    I remember a foreigner on a train showing me the beautiful detailed map the Japanese mother made for him. Instead of the rough “stick figure” type maps American make it was a piece of art. I wish I had taken a photo of it. It must have taken at least an hour or so to make it.

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  4. 10 Cents:
    How long ago was that, Trin?

    You’re up early!  It was in the early 2000’s.  I subsequently made many business trips to Japan, staying at the top of the Tokyo Bay Intercontinental Hotel most of the time, a venue for the most famous and delectable Sunday brunch on this planet.

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  5. Trinity Waters:

    10 Cents:
    How long ago was that, Trin?

    You’re up early!  It was in the early 2000’s.  I subsequently made many business trips to Japan, staying at the top of the Tokyo Bay Intercontinental Hotel most of the time, a venue for the most famous and delectable Sunday brunch on this planet.

    You are making me hungry. I had a wonderful breakfast in Hokkaido with my wife at a top of hotel. They had a special contraption for opening hard boiled eggs. It was a little expensive but made for a great memory.

    Japanese women can be extremely frugal at times. (I am writing this in a whisper.)

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  6. 10 Cents:

    Trinity Waters:

    10 Cents:
    How long ago was that, Trin?

    You’re up early!  It was in the early 2000’s.  I subsequently made many business trips to Japan, staying at the top of the Tokyo Bay Intercontinental Hotel most of the time, a venue for the most famous and delectable Sunday brunch on this planet.

    You are making me hungry. I had a wonderful breakfast in Hokkaido with my wife at a top of hotel. They had a special contraption for opening hard boiled eggs. It was a little expensive but made for a great memory.

    Japanese women can be extremely frugal at times. (I am writing this in a whisper.)

    I had a large mug of draft Sapporo in Sapporo; Yum!  Sapporo reminds me of NW Oregon.

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  7. Of course, I laugh at myself.  If I didn’t, my wife would do it for me…

    I had French up through High School, but never used it, so when I went to college, I decided on taking German instead.  It was taught by a professor from Hickory, N.C., so my accent was probably suspect.

    I actually had a business trip to Germany and thought I’d try my German to get some postcards to send home.  It was all I could do to keep from getting a pack of cigarettes  instead.

    Later, I went to Puerto Rico several times with IBM engineers to work at pharmaceutical plants.  They knew where all the McDonalds or KFC restaurants were from the main city to the plant, but I thought that I wanted to get more local food.  I stopped by a place with lots of different Tacos.  I saw ‘Carne’, which I knew was ‘meat’, ‘Pollo” which was chicken and then saw something like “Pulpo”, so I got that.  It was pretty good, but after a while, I started worrying that it might be crab – which I am severely allergic to.  I asked the owner what was in it, and of course, his answer was “Pulpo”.  dummy me!

    It wasn’t until I got back to the plant and asked the manager – who spoke great English – what Pulpo was.  It winds up, it is Octopus, so I was ok.

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  8. I took Spanish and never knew what pulpo was. Now I can order arroz con pulpo if I had any place to order.

    I had a friend go to Hawaii. She read the menu which was written in Japanese and thought, “Great, I can have a wonderful octopus salad.” When the order came it turned out to be a spicy salad with meat and cheese. The word for octopus in Japanese is “tako”.

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  9. One New Year’s Eve my then fiancé took me to Maxim’s en Paris for dinner. I attempted to show off my pathetic schoolgirl French and ordered for both of us. At the end of the meal, le serveur asked if he could take away my plate and I responded, “Oui. Je suis fini.” I conjugated the verb incorrectly and should have said J’ai fini. Instead, I told him I was dead.

    Damn, I hate those avoir/être verbs.

    Without dropping a beat, the gentleman turned to my husband and asked him if he should call an ambulance.

    That one still smarts to this day. 🙂

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