Regular Feature

Greetings from the Outskirts of Kyoto vol.24

INOUE Shōichi (Director-General)
September 29, 2022

Kyoto-ites, when admonishing someone, often express themselves with irony. Bosses do this to their staff. They might say “I see you have a fine watch” to someone whose time-keeping is slack, or “How lively you are” in order to silence someone. 

You often hear Kyoto-ites damning people with faint praise. Many are the times I have been on the receiving end of such treatment. It hurts. It must be better for your mental health to have someone tell you off with a straight “Don’t be late!” That is why I do my best not to engage in that sort of talk.

The other day, however, I attended a harassment prevention seminar, and was surprised to learn from the lawyer running it that Kyoto-style irony does not amount to harassment. This is no doubt because it does not involve cursing and swearing. With that nod of approval, my fear is that I might now become an unpopular director. It’s possible I’ll start saying “How clever you are” to my colleagues.

If I do, I beg your forgiveness.