CONTRIBUTED BY MEREDITH NOVARIO
People here in Japan bow. You already knew that though.
I am a fan of the bowing. You never have to wonder how to greet or bid farewell to someone. That’s not the case for me in the States. Do I shake a hand? Give a hug? Nod? Smile? Appropriate greetings and farewells confuse me at home. I don’t want to appear overly casual or formal ever. In non-professional situations the handshake feels silly especially with another woman. I’d rather pinch her cheek or give her a high-five. At least it would seem friendlier than shaking her hand. The rules just aren’t clear to me. Or they don’t exist.
Here in Japan the rules are more clear or at least I’m blissfully ignorant to the nuances. I throw bows around happily all day long. Seems like everyone else is engaged in the same song and dance. So onward I bow.
Good morning. Bow.
Thanks for the groceries. Bow.
Yes. My dog IS cute. Bow.
Nice to meet you. Bow.
I have no idea what you just said. Bow.
Naturally, I impose this behavior on Eli like a mother does. This way, not that way, MY way. I put one of my hands behind his head and the other on his belly and push forward creating a passable bow. He obliges in so much as he doesn’t scream. And then yesterday as we walked down the street, a couple passed us on the sidewalk. Eli made eye contact, placed his hand behind his head and pushed himself forward into a bow.
Then I crumbled into a pile of love and glee.