The indignation of the Japanese towards the impoliteness of the foreigners seems to know no bounds. Many a time, I have wondered about whether I was being impolitely treated, when I was expected to always address Japanese business associates as Mr. or Ms. Lastname, and yet they freely addressed me by my first name every time. If I am in Japan, do I not deserve the same level of respect that all the Japanese expect?
To generalize, the Japanese seem to believe that all foreigners use their first names immediately, whatever the circumstances, but they are apparently largely oblivious to the fact that in many European countries, it is still expected to use formal titles and last names until the person invites the other person to use a first name basis. I try to be understanding and not become annoyed when business associates use my first name, but at the same time, they expect us foreigners to have advanced education in all forms of Japanese etiquette, and certainly not calling someone Shinzo or Taro or some other first name lest we deeply offend their delicate sensibilities. I probably should laugh at the hypocrisy of this entire debate, as the Japanese tromp all over most of the world's own polite customs. As a start, perhaps the Japanese could just treat me equally as a foreigner to themselves, using my title and last name as they expect to be done in Japan? I cannot imagine they would knowingly be insulting me.
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