Trouble In China!!!

Sweet and sour chicken? Really? Both? It’s not possible, China. Not possible.

I love Chinese food. Let me clarify. I love America’s version of Chinese food. Same with Japanese food. My wife and I took a trip to Southern California a few years ago, and had dinner at a Japanese restaurant.

It was a gorgeous night in Redondo Beach and we were seated with a view of the ocean. It was perfect. We got our food and were loving it, when the hostess seated a large party of Japanese people next to our table.
I thought it was really cool that we were really at an authentic cultural venue. That would quickly change and I couldn’t wait to get our check and get out of there. The Japanese folks seated by us had apparently ordered shrimp for their appetizer. The waiter brought shrimp all right. LIVE shrimp! Each person had six shrimp in a holder so the shrimps’ heads were protruding from the holder.

I watched in horror as they began eating the heads of the live shrimp! I nearly lost my dinner as I frantically tracked down our waiter and got our check and got out of there. I learned that night that there are authentic foreign food restaurants here, and Americanized restaurants. I don’t think the shrimp ordeal was weird, I just wasn’t expecting to witness what was obviously a wonderful treat for them.

Every culture has its own cuisine. Visitors to their country are amazed at the foods consumed. When the comedy business crashed, another topic for another day, I took a job as an International Business Consultant. One of my clients was in France. I always loved my visits there. I had heard so many bad things about the French and how they hated Americans. I found these stories to be ridiculous. People were very nice to me until…

I was conducting seminars there, and we had a morning snack break with refreshments. As I took a visual inventory of the snacks available, I was impressed with the variety of cheese and baguettes there, but then something on another table caught my eye.

Wine, and lots of it. The first day, I didn’t say anything about it because I was a guest in their country. As I began the next segment, I noticed that a large number of the participants were hammered. Snockered. Ripped. Wasted. The remainder of the morning session was a complete waste of time.

We broke for lunch. More wine was available during this break, as well. I had to try to eliminate the wine served at all of the breaks during the day. I spoke with my interpreter, a Frenchman, along with the company’s trainer and asked them if there was a way to eliminate the wine without my audience hating me.

Not a chance, I was told. It needed to be done, however. I contacted the executives who were in charge of the event and told them of my dilemma. They agreed with me and eliminated the wine. The people were furious with me until I told them it was their company’s idea. Then they hated the executives and not me. I suppose I could have done nothing and let them have their wine, but the company was failing and it was up to me to to change the mindset of the workforce. I couldn’t do that if they got tanked every day.
I’m sure some of our customs and cuisine would seem very strange to foreigners, too. Oh well. I got the job done.
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