Thursday, September 20, 2007

It's So Hard Being Japanese

Recently, the Kansai passport renewal office accidentally canceled someone's unexpired US visa in the process of voiding her expired passport. As she was set to travel shortly thereafter, the passport office called the consulate asking if we couldn't issue her a replacement visa a little quicker than routine. Luckily, we were able to accommodate her, and she got her visa in time for her flight. I can't say I thought much of it. These things happen.

The next day, a huge box of fancy ricecrackers appeared on the lunch table. The FSNs explained that the head of the passport office had personally come to the consulate to apologize for his section's grave error, offering the ricecrackers as a hopelessly inadequate token of his profound remorse. He deeply regretted that I'd been unavailable, but had left his card should I wish to call him back in and allow him the honor of scraping and bowing in my actual presence. Deeming the high quality of the ricecrackers to be evidence of his sincere contrition, I told the FSNs that likely wouldn't be necessary.

Five minutes later, another of our FSNs walked in, nervously shifting a package under his arm. Turned out that the head of the passport office also happened to be his wife's uncle, and so had felt compelled to go the FSN's house and personally apologize to him as well. "Ricecrackers?" I asked hopefully. "No, youkan." He held the box out in front of him, embarrassed. "Would you like some? I'm not really such a fan."

I suspect this may obligate us to add the passport office to our list of year end gratuity receivers, but I'll let the FSNs work out that particular social intricacy.


jonmatthew said...

well, nothing says "I'm sorry" quite like a box of fancy ricecrackers.

How's it going? Josh linked me to your blog... just thought I'd let you know you have another reader!

Katie said...

Hey, good to hear from you! Jeremiah's getting huge (that's a great Nov 2006 picture of him in the grass); I hope he and Miriam are well.

jonmatthew said...

Sadly, my blog is suffering from extreme neglect right now... he has changed a LOT since November 2006. I can't believe that was almost 1 year ago. I'll post some more recent pictures sometime soon.