Continuation from part 1 of the same conversation…
Me: Yeah, she was… By the way, you said tipping is an insult, right?
Student: In Japan, tipping is thought to be something that is done from up to down.
Me: Ah…I can see that. People who receive tips back home are usually doing jobs where the pay isn’t so high . Waitresses, hotel staff-people and whatnot.
Student: Yes, Japanese people tend to look down on the people who receive tips.
Me: You mean the people? Or the job?
Student: Is there a difference? You are what you do, deshou?
Me: Yeah…sometimes. But, I doubt if a bell hop in a hotel thinks of himself as a bell hop, you know? It’s just a job.
Student: When we are children, if we want to become musicians or actors, stuff like that, our parents will tell us “no way!” Especially for the boys. There is no respect for musicians, usually. It’s something those other parents let their kids do. Not respectable families. It’s rarely encouraged.
Me: I don’t know any parents who would flat out say “no!” but I know some who would tell their kids to get a college degree or learn a skill of some kind as a back up just in case because the odds of becoming a professional musician or any kind of artist that can make enough money to survive and take care of a family and such is not as high as say a profession like a plumber, mechanic or electrician of some sort. They wouldn’t discourage it out of hand, though. At least not people who aren’t overly concerned with class wouldn’t.
Student: Yes…that’s right. We are very concerned with class. Business has the best status. Being an office worker is very respectable. Most parents push their kids to get a job at a respectable company.
Me: That might change if the economy here doesn’t improve. The chances of getting a good job for life with a stable company might become as difficult as becoming a well-paid musician.
Student: That’s true.
Me: Wait a minute…so, do you mean that that guy at the show might have been looking down on Roberta Flack’s back up singers? Could that be why he tipped her?
Me: What an asshole!