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Author Topic: Japan culture rant (paying for dinner)  (Read 1319 times)
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Canuck
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« on: February 19, 2010, 12:51:59 PM »

So I went out with my girlfriend and a few friends/students last night for yakiniku.  Went pretty well until it came to paying the bill.  They went up to the register and I lagged behind by a little bit because I was putting on my jacket.  By the time I got to the register they had paid for dinner.  I saw on the register that it was 25,000 yen so that divided by 5 people is 5000 yen.  I tried to give them my share but they wouldn't take it!  The one girl took my 5000 yen bill and gave me five 1000 yen bills back!  And they wouldn't let me pay-of course my girlfriend wasn't very happy about that and acted like it was MY fault.  I tried to pay them again outside the restaurant and they wouldn't take it.  I tried again on the train but I would have been better off not doing it because then the woman gave me another 5000 yen bill! WHAT THE F***??  I haven't paid any money at all yet and for some reason they're giving me MORE money!  So instead of paying 5000 yen for dinner I ended up getting paid 5000 yen for dinner!  Now I've some how got to pay the money back-I guess I'm going to give them a couple of free private lessons-but I know they are not going to accept it and I'm going to have to fight with them over it and I'm just dreading it.  And I'm going to catch hell from my girlfriend as if I had refused to pay my share of the bill or something.  CHRIST!  Why can't people just split the bill evenly and not worry about this "face" bullshit or whatever is going on there.
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Huw the Poo
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« Reply #1 on: February 19, 2010, 01:48:46 PM »

I need to move to Japan.
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coopasonic
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« Reply #2 on: February 19, 2010, 02:10:44 PM »

I know nothing at all about japanese culture other than what I learn watching movies, but I suspect you lost more face begging them to take your money than you did with the original infraction. You're up $50. Go buy a new game. slywink
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ATB
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« Reply #3 on: February 19, 2010, 02:10:54 PM »

When a samurai was dishonored in such a way, he would restore his honor through Seppuku.  I think that's you're only course of action now.
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Daehawk
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« Reply #4 on: February 19, 2010, 02:27:49 PM »

Dude..why even bother? Forget it. And if they are mad for some dumbass reason or your GF is then drop them/her . They sound weird.
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« Reply #5 on: February 19, 2010, 02:35:31 PM »

Count yourself lucky that it wasn't a martial arts situation and that you weren't there with your instructor. I went to Japan with my instructor for a 5 day, every-day martial arts training seminar. They call it a gasshuku. I was on pins and needles every time I was awake. I had to be alert for every nuance of the Japanese sensei. A simple phrase from him like "There's more rice." meant that we all had to partake of a second helping. If one of the Japanese students (he was like 60 and army retired) got uppity with the sensei then I had to discretely make my way away from the situation so it didn't look like I was evesdropping. Even though I don't know the language and they knew it.

It was my first time in Japan and was quite a culture shock. Still, you've been there for what, 1-2 years? I'm surprised you haven't learned the nuances by now smile
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The Grue
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« Reply #6 on: February 19, 2010, 02:50:09 PM »

Quote from: Daehawk on February 19, 2010, 02:27:49 PM

Dude..why even bother? Forget it. And if they are mad for some dumbass reason or your GF is then drop them/her . They sound weird.

This is pretty funny that you basically called typical Japanese culture weird and to drop them.  Time to move out of Japan, Canuck, because by Daehawk's logic, you can't talk to anyone. slywink
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Harkonis
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« Reply #7 on: February 19, 2010, 02:54:21 PM »

weird, I know I posted a reply but it's gone.  hope I didn't post it somewhere else...  icon_eek

at any rate, if you gf is really upset about this, she has some issues.  It's not like it's your fault or you did it on purpose.
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Tebunker
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« Reply #8 on: February 19, 2010, 03:07:33 PM »

just from reading the story, to me it would seem the polite thing to do would have been to thank them for paying for your meal and make a promise to return the honor. That way no feelings are hurt. Any culture can grasp this. I would've been insulted if you kept trying to pay me when I covered you. One offer is usually enough. So the way I see it, the easy way to rectify this is to bring some stuff to your lessons and share with your students. And don't take no for an answer. I don't really see this as a japan thing, just a being nice thing.
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coopasonic
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« Reply #9 on: February 19, 2010, 03:15:44 PM »

Quote from: Tebunker on February 19, 2010, 03:07:33 PM

I don't really see this as a japan thing, just a being nice thing.

The "getting in trouble for someone else paying your bill without your knowledge" thing is the japan thing. It's nice that they covered your bill. It's not nice that you get in trouble with your girlfriend because it happened mostly out of your control. I say mostly because how long does it take to put on a jacket?
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ATB
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« Reply #10 on: February 19, 2010, 03:19:13 PM »

It's a japanese jacket. They're complicated with all the buckles and switches and panty compartments...
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Teggy
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« Reply #11 on: February 19, 2010, 03:57:40 PM »

Smooth move, gaijin.
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Tebunker
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« Reply #12 on: February 19, 2010, 04:10:13 PM »

Quote from: coopasonic on February 19, 2010, 03:15:44 PM

Quote from: Tebunker on February 19, 2010, 03:07:33 PM

I don't really see this as a japan thing, just a being nice thing.

The "getting in trouble for someone else paying your bill without your knowledge" thing is the japan thing. It's nice that they covered your bill. It's not nice that you get in trouble with your girlfriend because it happened mostly out of your control. I say mostly because how long does it take to put on a jacket?
Yeah, well crazy Girlfriend/Wife/women is a worldwide epidemic. Unfortunately there is no real cure yet.

I can only see someone getting upset if it looked like he intentionally tried to skip on the bill by taking too long to put on his jacket.
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kadnod
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« Reply #13 on: February 19, 2010, 04:52:25 PM »

Somebody needs to turn this into a short film. 
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Teggy
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« Reply #14 on: February 19, 2010, 04:55:27 PM »

Or an episode of Seinfeld. I can totally see this happening to George. "I was putting on my jacket!"
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CeeKay
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« Reply #15 on: February 19, 2010, 04:58:24 PM »

easy solution: take them all to dinner, let them eat, drug their desert so they pass out and then pay for all their food.
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leo8877
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« Reply #16 on: February 19, 2010, 05:13:05 PM »

Quote from: CeeKay on February 19, 2010, 04:58:24 PM

easy solution: take them all to dinner, let them eat, drug their desert so they pass out and then pay for all their food.

Or leave and let them pay again!
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Geezer
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« Reply #17 on: February 19, 2010, 05:24:12 PM »

This thread is awesome.  Kudos.
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The Grue
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« Reply #18 on: February 19, 2010, 06:17:00 PM »

Quote from: Teggy on February 19, 2010, 04:55:27 PM

Or an episode of Seinfeld. I can totally see this happening to George. "I was putting on my jacket!"

This is gold, Jerry!  Gold!
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« Reply #19 on: February 19, 2010, 06:32:00 PM »

My parents used to struggle with this too when my mom coordinated exchange programs for UBC in the 70's. We'd go out to some nice restaurants here in Vancouver with her students and they'd always insist on paying.  Her students were middle class or better, but I have 3 siblings and from conversations I overheard there were some hefty bills. From my recollections the only thing you can do is buy gifts for repayment, which at least in my mom's case worked.
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Boudreaux
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« Reply #20 on: February 19, 2010, 08:21:09 PM »

Are these students of yours?  If so, that doesn't sound unreasonable at all, from a Japanese point of view.  They're just repaying their giri, in a very unobtrusive manner.
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Roguetad
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« Reply #21 on: February 19, 2010, 09:29:36 PM »

That's bizarre, because it's like an anti-entitlement gesture by students, which is completely topsy-turvy from our universe.  You should take your students to dinner more often.  If you want to avoid the situation in the future, you will just have to be quicker on your toes, or drug them as Ceekay suggested.  Maybe wear a coat-shirt so you don't have to slow yourself down with the whole sticking the arms in the sleeves thing.  Surprise everyone, my shirt was actually a jacket!  Ha-ha!   
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« Reply #22 on: February 20, 2010, 01:43:06 AM »

And my jacket is a sleeping bag!

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Rumpy
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« Reply #23 on: February 20, 2010, 02:00:39 AM »

Quote from: Teggy on February 19, 2010, 04:55:27 PM

Or an episode of Seinfeld. I can totally see this happening to George. "I was putting on my jacket!"

Or "They paid me 5000 yen, Jerry! 5000! I need to find a way back to Japan."
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« Reply #24 on: February 20, 2010, 03:30:43 AM »

Quote from: Rumpy on February 20, 2010, 02:00:39 AM

Quote from: Teggy on February 19, 2010, 04:55:27 PM

Or an episode of Seinfeld. I can totally see this happening to George. "I was putting on my jacket!"

Or "They paid me 5000 yen, Jerry! 5000! I need to find a way back to Japan."

/slides into room

"Hey, Jerry.  I heard they gave George 5000 yen."
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« Reply #25 on: February 20, 2010, 03:44:46 AM »

Quote from: Eel Snave on February 20, 2010, 03:30:43 AM

Quote from: Rumpy on February 20, 2010, 02:00:39 AM

Quote from: Teggy on February 19, 2010, 04:55:27 PM

Or an episode of Seinfeld. I can totally see this happening to George. "I was putting on my jacket!"

Or "They paid me 5000 yen, Jerry! 5000! I need to find a way back to Japan."

/slides into room

"Hey, Jerry.  I heard they gave George 5000 yen."

*pushes Eel Snave* "Get. Out!"
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Canuck
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« Reply #26 on: February 21, 2010, 01:49:27 AM »

My girlfriend's not pissed at me-but she wasn't happy at the time.  As someone else said to me on a Japanese forum, "Why did you accept the second 5000 yen?"  Good question-I was on the train at the time so I couldn't really run away-I'm a conflict avoider so I probably took it just to end the argument.  My students pay for me all the time when we go out but that's usually to a family restaurant and the cost is like $10.  They're also not really my "friends" and I feel that for an exra hour of English practice that 10 bucks isn't too big of a cost when divided between 6 or 7 students.  But these people are my friends as well (and co-workers of my girlfriend) so I feel very uncomfortable about taking anything from them.  Anyways I have a lesson with one of them tomorrow so I'll let you know how it goes!
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« Reply #27 on: February 22, 2010, 01:56:25 AM »

Quote from: Canuck on February 21, 2010, 01:49:27 AM

My girlfriend's not pissed at me-but she wasn't happy at the time.  As someone else said to me on a Japanese forum, "Why did you accept the second 5000 yen?"  Good question-I was on the train at the time so I couldn't really run away-I'm a conflict avoider so I probably took it just to end the argument.  My students pay for me all the time when we go out but that's usually to a family restaurant and the cost is like $10.  They're also not really my "friends" and I feel that for an exra hour of English practice that 10 bucks isn't too big of a cost when divided between 6 or 7 students.  But these people are my friends as well (and co-workers of my girlfriend) so I feel very uncomfortable about taking anything from them.  Anyways I have a lesson with one of them tomorrow so I'll let you know how it goes!

Next time they all go to dinner with you, make sure that you unobtrusively pay for everything before dinner ends.  Pretty easy.
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