Peaceful Beam


Several years ago I bought a book (comic, graphic novel) called Darling wa Gaikokujin (ダーリンは外国人) – outlining one woman’s experience being married to an eccentric foreigner – which I need to write a report about; however, that’s not today’s point. One arc in the book talked about her husband’s Odayaka Kousen (穏やか光線) or Peaceful Beam. He has a way of looking at people which calms them down, and my wife claims that I have the same power. Yesterday I put it to use, much to her pleasure.

We interviewed three movers and chose the third one. Last Saturday they moved us into our new home. I pushed my wife to get everything unpacked and put away over the three-day weekend, much to her displeasure. While I knew she wanted to vacillate, I had a stronger motivation. We were told that the movers could take away boxes for us, but if we called them back again there would be a charge. I wanted the quickly mounting pile of boxes to vanish soon and not renew itself afterward.

She called the movers and they said they would come by Wednesday (which turned out to be a typhoon day) afternoon, but they wanted a thousand yen. She immediately settled on paying them. While I try to be a very accepting person, this really doesn’t sit well with me. Tuesday night I spoke with her about the sales talk, lest I made a language error, and both of us recalled having one chance to dispose of the boxes.

When the movers arrived, they wanted to take the boxes right away, but I stood between them and the boxes when I explained I wanted to ‘consult’ with them. I mentioned that I was not expecting to pay based on the salesman’s presentation. They asked to take the boxes to the truck while they checked with the office. I took this as a good sign, because they lost negotiating position as soon as they took possession of the boxes. Sure enough, the workers loaded the boxes, and shortly after that the team leader came back and said everything is settled. They spoke very politely (and unforced), I spoke very politely, and my wife was amazed.

My wife lacks confidence in dealing with businesses when something needs to be negotiated, so I try to teach her my ‘secrets’ in communicating what they need to hear to accept my position. I want a strong and confident wife: she’s already plenty strong so we’ll just work on building more confidence. Of course, there are many situations in Japan where she will be treated very differently for being a woman and conversely many where I will be treated differently for being a foreigner, so we have to be mindful of those.

We had a lot of confidence in this situation because the downside for us was small. Before the movers arrived, we called a paper recycler nearby and found they would pay us for boxes if we delivered them. Knowledge is power.


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2 Responses to “Peaceful Beam”

  1. Gareth Says:

    There’s a really nice old man here who comes around once a month and collects any cardboard or paper waste we have. He leaves toilet rolls as payment.

  2. びっくり Says:

    Yeah, recently the ‘kururin’ TP exchange has been popular at the elementary schools. There’s a truck rolling through my neighborhood to pick up appliances and such. I only half-listen to his announcements about what is free to haul and what isn’t. Perhaps he also takes recyclable paper waste. I’ll have to have a chat with him one weekend.

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