Of holy socks and strange, endearing customs

On Wednesday I had some friends visiting. Plus some family. (Unheard of: Gipsika has friends…)

At some point my young b-i-l told of a time when he and his employers (a financial institution) were looking after a Japanese car company, and were meeting with said management.

The first hitch was that of course, in keeping with Japanese custom, on entering the offices of the car company, b-i-l and colleagues were asked to take off their shoes. Which they did, if somewhat off-balance and unprepared for this.

One of the colleagues had a large hole in his sock, through which the big toe was sticking.

The Japanese manager resultantly took off his own sock and punched a hole into it with a pencil, and made his employees do the same. Out of deference, b-i-l and the other colleagues also fell in with this.

To me this is just an absolutely amazing example, despite its comic flavour (rather, odour), of the incredible social sensitivity of the Asian cultures. Mind-boggling, to go to such lengths just in order to make a guest feel truly welcome and prevent / avert his embarrassment!

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