How to Bow Like a Japanese

What could be more typically Japanese than bowing?  Every other book about Japan has something to say on the subject, so it must be important, right?  Certainly a lot of foreigners come to Japan and start bowing like crazy, so maybe they all read the same book.

It’s common knowledge, if not entirely correct, that bowing is a sign of respect, gratitude, or apology in Japanese society.  And there’s no shortage of information on how to do it properly, how deeply one should bow, or what to do with your hands.  There’s just one missing piece . . .

So I was in a bar last week.  Big surprise, I know.  And by the end of the night, as always, I’d made friends with about fifty salarymen.  What can I say?  I’m like sugar to them.  Then, as I’d had a rather plentiful number of cocktails and

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