Sunday, May 29, 2011

Too soon...?

New and better products
We have an annual trade show exhibition coming up later on in the summer and it's a pretty big event and one of the largest annual events of the year which we really need to participate in. 

Preparations for this has been ongoing for quite a long time and has caused us a bit of a headache since we really don't have anything new to show this year and felt a bit worried that it would reflect badly on us just showing the same 'ol stuff while our competitors show off all the newest and much more fancy stuff. So we have struggled with a theme for our booth in the exhibition for quite some time and discussed numerous ideas which in the end all turned out to be crap and we had almost given up on doing anything interesting. 

Then we had the earthquake and all the disruptions that came with it and in a recent meeting we had a little brainstorming and decided that we would dedicate some focus in our booth on the disaster and show our support to Japan and our Japanese customers in this difficult time. 

At the end of the meeting everyone felt quite satisfied and a bit relieved that we had found our theme for this year and I threw out "So yeah, I guess the bad news is that 20,000 people died and many many more lost everything they own, but hey, on the positive side we finally got that theme sorted out, huh?". The room all of a sudden got completely silent and people started to nervously look around before some smiles and muffled laughter was heard. I felt I had to clarify and followed up with "Hey, it's called "black humour" you know?". This caused some additional minor confusion and one of my colleagues who actually was familiar with the concept explained to the others how it's something that foreigner likes and it's a joke that's not really a joke but actually is a joke.

After the explanation a little more laughter and nodding broke out in the room followed by mumblings of "Ah, "black humour", now I understand". If someone actually kept track of the stuff I get away with just because I'm a "foreigner" it would probably create some form of national outrage... 


Rydangel said...

hi salaryman,
i was wondering are you considered a foreignor because you are only half japnese or because you were born in sweden? are foreign born full blood japnese people like utada hikaru considered foreinors too? would crystal kay be a foregnor even though she was born in japan, because she is a halfie? how does that work? i've always wondered about that. is there a time limit in which you've ceased to be a foreigner and are now officially japanese or a resident?

Mr. Salaryman said...

Hi there Rydangel!

Always nice to see a comment from you! The whole foreigner vs. Japaneseness is kinda difficult, but I have no problem labelling myself as a foreigner here in Japan as I grew up in Sweden and not in Japan.

But I have "half" friends who grew up in Japan and considers themselves Japanese in terms of identity.

Basically there are no "rules" and it's all in the eyes of the beholder. Utada Hikaru is for sure considered Japanese by everyone in Japan, Crystal Kay I don't know that well besides from occasionally seeing her on TV, but I think that she's playing more on her foreigness and heritage, so she's probably more considered a halfie. It's kinda complicated ;)

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