Wednesday, December 2, 2009
Can I... eh... have one of those?
Yesterday our company was part of organizing an event with an invited speaker with rich experience in the Japanese healthcare market for an audience of mostly European executives in the business and quite a few Swedish people, all on a study trip to Japan where this event was one of the stops.
As I was sitting in the back in the meeting room close to the coffee machine, half listening to the lecturer drone on (ok, I might be a bit unfair, he wasn't that bad but it was early in the morning) and one in the audience got up and placed himself by the coffee machine, got a cup and then reached in his pocket and picked up a box of snus, the famous brown gold of nicotine I have been talking about earlier and I recently quit. Seeing this, I quickly whispered to get his attention "...hey..." not getting any response "hey", still no attention, so I turn to the whisper scream "hey!" and finally gets his attention and a few heads in turning in front of. He looks a bit startled but I point at the box and whisper "hey... yeah... you don't think I, uh, could have one of those, do you?". Knowing a fellow snuser, he smiles and gives me one.
An hour and a half later the lecture and discussion is over and people are standing around mingling, exchanging cards and doing some small talk, I again approach the guy and the following exchange takes place in Swedish:
Salaryman: Hey, you don't think I could have one more or so of those goodies?
Snuser: Sure, of course!
Salaryman: (Licking my lips and rocking back and forth as he reaches in his pocket)
Snuser: (pulls out a cardholder, showing he's some CEO of something) Here's my card
Salaryman: (Takes the card quickly and impatiently hands him my card) Yeah, fine, here's mine...
Snuser: This was a great event you made here!
Salaryman: (impatiently) yeahyeahyeahrightrightright
Snuser: I wish there was more things like this arranged
Salaryman: suresuresure, yeah, uh, about that snus?
Snuser: (slightly off guard) Oh, yes, of course (reaching into his pocket and actually pulling out the box)
Snuser: By the way, how long have you worked in Japan
Salaryman: (pulling back my claw I had started reaching out with) 8years!
Snuser: (opens the box) Why don't you take a few!
Salaryman: (takes a couple) Thanks, ok, catch you later (runs off to talk to one of the people I actually needed to talk to)
I still maintain that I quit pretty cleanly, but those brown pouches of nicotine can really lighten up a boring dull sleepy morning!