A Cultural Moment

Cultural issues can be puzzling, complicated and on occasion, downright amusing.  Such was the case during one of my last language school classes.  One thing we learned quickly here is that you should never build yourself up.  Your family is an extension of that.  If you compliment or praise your kids, husband, wife, etc.  in public it is the same as bragging about yourself.  I know this, but every now and then it catches me off guard.

Near the end of last semester, we were asked to bring a picture to discuss in class.  My classmate brought a group photo of which her husband was one of the people pictured.  My classmate is Korean and approximately 10 years older than me.  She has been married to a Japanese man for 34 years.  She has assimilated into the culture quite well here.  While she was discussing the photo, I was racking my brain for a compliment that would be easy for me to say with my poor language ability.  When it was my time to speak, I told her that her husband was handsome.  I suppressed a giggle when she replied, “No, he’s not!”

until the next time…

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