And so it was that I found myself on yet another 3-hour bus ride to Sapporo, desperately trying to hide my neuroticism in regards to the DVT that I would no doubt soon be developing. I arrived at the Daiwa offices with about an hour to spare, and so found a nice spot in a nearby park and began reading my book. Within 20 seconds of sitting down a lady conducting a questionnaire approached me, and whilst in Britain I would normally have given her a wide berth, here I seized on the opportunity to practice my Japanese. Unfortunately I could not say what the questionnaire was actually about, because as soon as it had been established that I was only visiting Sapporo, didn’t own a car, and had never visited her company’s website I was deemed surplus to requirements. She also seemed rather reluctant in the discussion of the relative prices of fruit between Sapporo and the UK.
If I am being honest then I was somewhat dreading today’s business lunch. Aside from my obvious concerns in being understood and understanding what was going on, these things have a tendency of being reasonably awkward affairs. As it turned out I needn’t have worried, as all of the staff made me feel incredibly at home, and constantly complimented me on my ‘fluent Japanese’, which whilst being an absolute lie still made me feel pretty good about myself. The only slightly awkward moment was when I misunderstood the invitation to be shown around the busy office floor, taking this instead to be an instruction to introduce myself to everyone. Still the 60 or so employees who were in the middle of what appeared to be very important telephone conversations appeared very happy to chat to the mad gaijin who was now wandering around their work place.