How it makes me smile when a Japanese friend suggests I express myself too directly: certainly no one has ever advised me to be more talkative! As one friend of mine remarked, “Well, you seem to be rather quiet, for an American.”
Americans, all pulling in opposite directions, egos on the line: it is a strain to have to constantly prove oneself as an individual. A battle of conflicting wills, as if at a gigantic cocktail party where everyone has to display their personalities like glorious feathered hats, the next day only to forget one another. Perhaps we are all so busy expressing ourselves that we don’t listen to, see, or accept one another. Despite the American’s quick display of “niceness” and “friendliness”, immediate invitations to dinner “at home”, or on a deeper level, I feel an intolerance and severity – judgements – coloring contacts between people.