"Don't sit on my face!" She said.

Version 4

    The she in this case was a Japanese woman I met in Beijing, but it could well have been any Asian, and no, it is not what you are thinking.
    The situation was she had just given me her maishi or business card and was warning me not to stick it in my back pocket.
    So, that leads us nicely into the subject of "Face" or giving face.

    Face is important in Asian countries but it is not really so hard to fathom if you think of it as not making someone feel foolish or stupid.
    It's not just Asian people really, neither you nor I like to be made to feel silly especially in front of friends, colleagues, superiors or worse still, subordinates.
    So where's the problem?
    Well, it is those little cultural minefields that we tread in international business that can inadvertently blow up.

    Lets go back to the business card.
    Maybe to you and I it is a piece of card with our name and address on it, no big deal, but to many Asian people it is more than that, it represents them.
    So if, after taking the card you fold it, or scribble on it or place it in your bill fold in the hip pocket you are effectively doing the same to the owner and insulting them.

    An appropriate response is to look at the card for a few moments (which we usually would do anyway to get the name) admire the artistry, creativity or what ever then, place it on the table or surface in front of you.
    This way you give due respect to the card, the owner and honour has been satisfied, later, out of view, you can stick it in your pocket.

    All very simple really and in the big picture isn't a major faux pas, but it is nice to get off on the right foot, or face. If this is interesting to anyone, then maybe I can dig back for some other "cultural" experiences I have had or come across, if not, well, I will probably take it to heart and sulk for a month!

    Oh, by the way, we are NOT in California, I don't want to mislead you, but when I type BEIJING in the drop down box that is what comes out, seems out of USA stories are not welcome?