Since I lost my job I've had a lot of time on my hands. I remembered today, while driving, one of the funniest moments of my life and I want to chronicle it in case I don't think of it for months or years to come. Though I'm only 27 I've been lucky enough to have had many wonderful, challenging, colorful experiences in my life, many related to the pursuit of medicine. I was able to visit Japan as an exchange student during med school and, representing Hawai'i, it was my duty to present the Dean of the School with a flower lei as a sign of our thanks. Usually, especially between people from hawai'i, the universal greeting is a smile, a kiss on the cheek and a hug. The dean was a stately older gentleman, in his early sixties perhaps. He wore a very solemn expression on his face and stood very straight in his neat heather gray suit. As I walked up to him, he bowed forward ever so slightly to graciously accept the lei. This, to my elated, effusive mind, was a big go-ahead. I grinned, grasped him firmly by the shoulders and leaned in for a big kiss. As I began pulling on his shoulder, he firmly resisted and looked at me like, "Are you insane." I ended up giving him an awkward distanced half-hug with a smile frozen on my face. As I eased up, he cleared his throat and said, "In Japan, usually we do not touch each other." Ha! At the time I wanted to sink into a hole and die, but in retrospect I can't help but laugh at myself. I was giggling in my car cruising down the road today and, as often happens when I'm entertaining myself too much, the people passing me probably think I'm a complete nut.
The picture below is of anonymous university staff from Japan. Any one of them could be my dean though none of them are. The grumpiest looking one is the closest to what I got.