Thursday, January 27, 2011

Japan? A Parable & Lesson From the Wizard of Oz

Want to do business in Japan? Oh young grasshopper... You have come to the right place..... 

Join the circle at the feet of the master.... Oh ummm.... Oh ummmmmm....... Oh ummm......

There is a famous quote from Buddha that goes something like this;

"Those who don't know say they do. Those who do know say they don't."

It's true. These are such wise words that are especially useful to remember when doing business in Japan. Sometimes, well, often, it is best in Japan to say as little as possible. This is one of my big challenges as I far too often talk too much and run my mouth.

I need to be more diligent when it comes to remaining silent.

And now a parable about Buddha, Japan, and the Wizard of Oz...

The other night, my son and I were reading L. Frank Baum's the Wizard of Oz together. We came to the part where Dorothy meets the Scarecrow and the Scarecrow tells her that he hasn't a brain.

When we read that, my son stopped and said to me, "Daddy! If he doesn't have a brain, then how does he talk?"

Sometimes little kids say the darndest (and smartest) things. I didn't expect that a seven-year-old would ask that question. I thought he would be so involved with the story, he wouldn't ask that.... But he did.

Yes. It's totally illogical. I didn't know what to say so I could only reply, "Don't worry about it. Keep reading the story."

The next day we finished the book and my son loved it. I was happy because I wanted him to start reading more classics rather than these modern day "educational series" that the school has. He found the Wizard of Oz just as fascinating and satisfying as Harry Potter.

Since my son loved the book so much, my wife went online and bought him the 1939 classic version of the movie starring Judy Garland  so that we could watch together. I usually do not allow my son to watch things on screens but felt this was a good opportunity to teach him the difference between the book and a screen adaptation of a book.

The Wizard of Oz book is a classic adventure fairy tale; the movie is a classic musical. Some of the important points are the same, but they are  totally different. If you've only seen the movie yet never read the book, you'd be so surprised at the difference. Entire sections of the book are missing from the movie.

Even minor details are different. For example, in the book, Dorothy's slippers are silver. In the movie, they are ruby red.

As in the book, in the movie, when Dorothy met the Scarecrow, the Scarecrow told her he didn't have a brain... Once again, my son, looked at me smiling. My son said, "See!?" 

But, different from the book, in the movie, when Dorothy said to the Scarecrow, "How can you talk if you haven't got a brain?" 

The Scarecrow replied, "I don't know. But some people without brains do an awful lot of talking. Don't they?"

To which Dorothy responded, "Yes. I guess you're right."

If you want to do good business in Japan, then let's us now meditate on this parable.... Oh ummm.... Oh ummmmmm....... Oh ummm......

This article was inspired by David Galland of Casey's Daily Dispatch, Judy Garland, Ray Bolger and my son, Wray.


Anonymous said...

Deep, Master Po...

Anonymous said...

I suppose the best thing I could or should say is, "No comment"