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This was my favorite comment (cribbed from a comment to the story on a newspaper web site).


I guess we’d rather him puke on the Emperor, or perhaps give him a very uncomfortable attempt at a neck massage?

Now, if you watch the video (click on above link) of “the bow,” it doesn’t look quite as extreme as the still image, frozen in time. I’m guessing that perhaps the President didn’t have the benefit of two full days in Japanese charm school. Probably someone told him to bow deeper than the emperor; Obama is a very tall man, and the emperor is very short.

With respect to never bowing more than 10 degrees; that’s poppycock, in the real world of Japanese life. I’ve been to medical meetings in Japan a half dozen times, and it is extremely common to see such deep bows, without maintaining eye contact, even among equals, but especially when greeting a distinguished senior professor. The deepest bower I recall was Prof Yoshihiko Maehara, a surgical oncologist at Fukuoka University. He always bowed that way — not just once, but repeatedly. Up and down. He bows. Distinguished prof bows back. He bows again. That sort of thing is very typical.

– Larry W/HB

One of my favorite comments, it may have been in the Examiner, was something to the effect of:

“Will someone please get Obama a copy of How To Be President For Dummies.”

Larry, I’ve read the Orange County Register and thought it was a fairly well written newspaper. They haven’t started pandering to the lowest common denominator have they, or are you just easily amused.

Perhaps you read the LA Times, a lame comment can really stand out in the Times.

@openid.aol.com/runnswim Repeated: “I guess we’d rather him puke on the Emperor, or perhaps give him a very uncomfortable attempt at a neck massage? “

Thanks Larry. You just proved that despite all the appeals that we treat Obama respectfully you guys will continue to bash the Bushs every chance you get.

I won’t have to worry about not taking the high road as long as you folks are still in the gutter.

Shut up Larry. I’m 6’5″ and height has nothing to do with anything. I have spent more time in Japan than you can ever appreciate. I’ve met with the diplomats, and once took the president of Toshiba for a ride in my 70 El Camino while he visited our company (Mattson) in Fremont. (He owns a 67 427 Vette.) I’ve enjoyed dinner in his home there, and was introduced to more high-ranking heads of business in Japan than you’ve read white-papers. I’ve slept in the home of the vice-president of Sumitomo Bank, and was trusted with spending the day with his daughters. I’ve had private tours in the Yokohama Tower with the owners, as well as been give whole-floor suites in the Intercontinental Hotel by it’s manager simply for choosing to stay there.
Hoo-boy, you met ONE dood who thinks he’s the girl who brings your luggage to your room. The head of Nihon Genshiryoku Hatuden does not think he’s a waiter, and did not bow any deeper than the head-bop, when I was with GE Nuclear management group, nor did ANYONE else out of the hundreds of people I’ve been introduced to in the 32 times I’ve been there for 3 different companies. The boy who took my credit-card at the Hilton did though, but only after it was approved.

Shut. Up. Larry.

You are out of your league, and I see right through your off-handed insinuation, and quite frankly, through your bold-faced lies. Playing this positional crap with me will never work. I’ve met “doctors” too, but very few of them have the emotional weakness that compels them to take a contrarian posit when they feel as though they might not be the biggest flea on the dog in every circumstance. Of course the PHd’s in the world of physics and chemistry tend to be more humble than most.

Any last bit of respect for you, just went out the window, and the respect was truly there. Go back to laying prone for governemnt healthcare. It suits you.

@Mike: Number one, I don’t recall “all the appeals” that you treat Obama “respectfully.” That would be an exercise in futility. Secondly, there is a huge difference between recalling a factual occurrence (barfing on trousers and giving an unwanted neck massage to a head of state) and, as a different FA editor on this blog did, refering to POTUS as the “Eunuch in Chief.” In the context of the 100 some odd commentaries on this thread, comparing and contrasting Obama’s bow to the emperor of Japan to Bush’s neck massage of the German chancellor is not disproportionate. Anyway, I can’t take credit for the comparison; it was a quote from a newspaper website.

: I’ve had home delivery of the Orange County Register for close to 10 years. Prior to that, I did take the Times.

: I have a very low regard for people who call other people liars, don’t provide an example of said lies, to allow the person so libeled to defend himself, all while hiding behind pseudonyms when posting their libel. I’d be very happy to match my Japanese experiences with yours (why don’t we do so in private emails; we could share experiences) — I consider University Department Chairs and Health Ministry officials to be the equivalent of your contacts and every trip I’ve taken to Japan has been paid for by the Japanese who invited me to speak and and consult. I’m guessing you went on your own company’s nickel. But I am impressed with your boast that a Japanese business executive trusted you to spend the day with his daughters. On one of my trips, my wife (trip also courtesy of our hosts) and I had two junior surgeons pick us up at the airport, carry our bags, and serve as our personal tour guides for the week we were there. I wouldn’t know how hotel clerks bow to you after confirming that your credit card isn’t bogus, as I’ve never had to produce one. Did you at least get paid for your baby sitting?

: ha ha

– Larry W/HB

Patvann (seeking to be annointed as FA official Japanese expert) instructs us (#2):

In meeting a person of “higher status” one bows only very slightly more than him (always a “him”). This in practice means a head-dip, and 2-3 degrees of hip-movement more than his, WHILE KEEPING EYE CONTACT AT ALL TIMES, and never bowing more than 10 degrees or so.

Uh-oh. Must have been sleeping in class:


How to Bow in Japan

Learn How to Bow Properly in Japan

By Shizuko Mishima, About.com Guide

If you are traveling to Japan, knowing how to bow in Japan can be helpful. Bowing (ojigi) is an important custom in Japan. People commonly greet each other by bowing instead of handshaking. It is impolite not to return a bow to whoever bowed to you in Japan. The Japanese tend to feel uncomfortable with any physical forms of contact although they have become used to shaking hands with foreigners.

Bowing in Japan has many functions in one. It expresses the feeling of respect, thanking, apologizing, greeting, and so on. For example, you can bow, when you say, “thank you”, “sorry”, “hello”, “good bye”, ” welcome”, “congratulations”, “excuse me”, “good night”, “good morning”, and more.

Bowing seems simple, but there are some different ways of bowing. It depends on the social status or age of the person you bow to. If the person is higher status or older than you are, it’s common to bow deeper and longer, showing respect.

The most informal bow is a bend of about 15 degrees for a casual greeting. In casual daily life situations, bowing is often a nod of the head. The most common type of bow is done to a 30-degree angle to greet customers or to thank someone. It’s often seen in Japanese business situations. A more formal way of bowing is performed to a 45-degree angle looking down at your feet. This type of bow signifies deep gratitude, a respectful greeting, a formal apology, asking for favors, and so on.

– Larry W/HB

P.S. . (Trying here to be conciliatory): I have no idea what sorts of contacts you had in Japan; the ones you describe all seem to be business situations, with people who do a lot of business with Americans. It seems evident to me that the protocols used by Japanese businessmen, in dealing with American businessmen, may be quite different from those used in segments of Japanese society which are not so geared toward dealing with Westerners. All of the medical meetings and health ministry sessions I’ve attended have not been true international meetings, but were meetings where 98% of those in attendance were Japanese and where the bulk of the presentations and discussions were in Japanese. Fortunately for me, charts and graphs of medical data are often decipherable, if one understands the subject matter, even if the legends and symbols are labeled in Japanese and the verbal narrative is in Japanese. It would not surprise me at all to learn that the level of courtesy displayed between Japanese medical professionals is somewhat different from that displayed in business and social situations involving Japanese businessmen and their American counterparts.

: You talked about taking the President of Toshiba for a ride in your car. I had some interesting stateside Japanese experiences, also. Seven years ago, we had a very famous Japanese swimmer named Masami Tanaka live in our home for about 4 months. You can Google her and you can ask the President of Toshiba if he knows about her; I’m sure that he does. She’s quite famous; she used to do Toyota commercials on Japanese television — which brings up an interesting story. When she arrived in the USA, she was accompanied by a full TV camera crew, which shot footage of her arriving at the Bradley Terminal at LAX, being greeted by my and my family, and they followed us home (32 mile drive South to Huntington Beach), where they shot video of the interior of our home, including Masami’s room, which we’d just remodeled, thank goodness. What happened to all that video, I never found out, but my real story follows. After Masami had been living with us for several months, another TV crew flew all the way over from Japan to film her training at my daughter’s swim club. They wanted to tell the story of her life, training in America, and also spent an entire evening in our home, filming us as we all prepared dinner in our kitchen and then ate, sitting Japanese-style on our floor (this is the way my wife and daughters still eat; I’m not so flexible (I’ve had some truly tortuous experiences in Japan at long banquets) and sit at the little low table on a little child’s chair). Anyway, this is where it gets good. We have some Japanese-American friends who were visiting Japan for a month and, shortly thereafter, they were just watching TV when what should come on but the mini-documentary about Masami, which included the segment preparing and eating dinner in our house. “We know that family!” they later told us they exclaimed, gluing themselves to the rest of the program; so that was our 15 minutes of Japanese fame. While Masami was with us, we had the opportunity to serve dinner to a group of Masami’s friends (all beautiful young women, like Masami) visiting her from Japan and, later, her mother and father, visiting from Hokkaido.

Here’s a photo (taken 7 years ago) of Masami with our daughters:


When she first arrived, she spoke very little English; by the time she left the USA, after about 10 months here, if memory serves, she was very fluent. She bequeathed us her surfboard, which I still use, upon rare occasions.

– Larry W/HB

@Patvann: Now Doc Brainwash, who was banned from Flopping Aces, is trying to use your experience to justify his own lame comments:


@openid.aol.com/runnswim: I used to watch “The Courtship of Eddies Father” so I guess that means I know as much as about Japanese etiquette as you do.

What you fail to grasp is that we are NOT talking about how a Japanese citizen would greet another Japanese citizen or how a Japanese citizen would greet the Emperor. We are talking about the propriety of a U.S. President, or any head of state, bowing to the Emperor.

Clearly, Obama is in error here. Have you recognized that fact? If so, it might have gotten lost in your latest blizzard of bloviation.

@Mike: Sure, he overdid it. I think it’s something which could be joked about, but he was just trying to show respect to the Japanese people. It was hardly the diplomatic gaffe of the century that you guys are making it out to be. Maybe no one ever taught Obama how to bow and he did the same thing I did, which was to Google “how to bow in Japan” and he came across the same ask.com article I found, and he decided the the Emperor, representing the entire cultural soul of Japan, was worthy of the highest level of respect. From what I’ve been able to determine, the Japanese people did view the bow in precisely the way Obama intended, and that probably did make them feel a bit warmer towards America, which was also Obama’s obvious goal.

With respect to citing my own Japanese experiences, this was simply in response to Patvann’s assertion that he’d been to Japan and that bows were supposed to be limited to 10 degrees, always maintaining eye contact. This was obviously WRONG, based on my own first hand experience (and I think that my experiences may well have been more authentically Japanese, as these took place within the venue of indigenous Japanese culture and not in the venue of Japanese-American business interactions). Your point is that Obama was an American interacting with Japanese and not a Japanese interacting with Japanese. I’ll accept and grant you this point, but I’ll still maintain that, as diplomatic gaffes go, nothing tops the unwanted Angela Merkel neck massage given by the previous Diplomat-in-Chief. Let’s say that Obama had done that. You guys would have accused him of molesting a female head of state of one of the most important countries in the world, with respect to US security. And you know very well that this is true.

P.S. with respect to Doc Brainwash, number one I don’t know him; I never met him; I never read anything he wrote; I never heard of him. What we all write here becomes public domain, and I can’t control how others may use whatever I write and neither can you, for that matter. If you ever find my stuff being used by some looney on another site in a way that would be embarrassing to me, I’d appreciate you telling me about it; in return, I’ll do the same for you.

– Larry Weisenthal/Huntington Beach, CA

@openid.aol.com/runnswim: Why is this so difficult for you to understand? It isn’t that Obama’s bow was ridiculous, it’s the fact that he bowed at all.

Do I need to repeat myself here? I could care less how the Japanese bow to each other or to their Emperor. That’s NOT the issue. Obama placed himself, and symbolically the United States, in a subservient, inferior position to the heir of Hirohito.

Really Larry… get with the program.

Did you miss this earlier?

@Mike: O.K. You win. We both agree that it was inappropriate, and our only disagreement remains how inappropriate or whether it was a net positive or a net negative for the US (I think it was a net positive; yes, he made a mistake, but the Japanese people recognized that he was just trying to be respectful). But maybe I’m wrong, and it was somehow harmful to the US.

Now, can you admit that, had Obama tried to give Angela Merkel an unwanted neck massage in the middle of a formal diplomatic meeting, you guys would have accused him of sexual molestation? Or worse?

– Larry Weisenthal/Huntington Beach, CA

President Nixon bowed to Emperor Hirohito and Chairmen Mao.

Ron H.

Nixon also bowed to Chairmen Mao during his visit to China.

Thanks, Ron. I will say that Nixon’s bow may have been more extreme than that suggested by the frontal (not side) view shown.

Hirohito was 5’5″

Nixon was 6 feet

It looks as if Nixon’s head is only a couple inches taller than Hirohito, and Hirohito is not upright — he has a slight bow, also.

I’ll bet that Patvann could use his math skills to triangulate the precise number of degrees which Nixon is tilting forward.

– Larry Weisenthal/Huntington Beach, CA

Reply to Ron H (114,115) went to spam.

Oops. Let me try and post that again. Eisenhower bowed a lot too!

Ron H.

H (#115):


Nixon bowing to Mao.

I grabbed a still (not the lowest point; couldn’t “freeze” it there, got him slightly on the way up).


Awhile back, the good folks here on FA were crucifying Anita Dunn for QUOTING Chairman Mao; and now we’ve got Nixon BOWING to him.

And it seems GHW Bush (POTUS #41) did something very similar.

– Larry W/HB

I also remember Mike posting about Obama putting his feet on the desk in the oval office and then Aye found a pic of Bush doing the very same thing. My point for posting about the whole bowing episode wasn’t to defend Obama so much as point out the hypocrisy that my side is displaying. I personally didn’t care when Bush (who I voted for twice by the way) kissed the Saudi Prince on the cheek and then held his hand or the infamous Merkel back rub.

In the same regard all of this complaining about Obama bowing to a foreign leader is much ado about nothing. There are far more important policy issues that concern me and not who Obama bows to or whether or not Michelle has sleeves on her outfit.

It’s all so very petty and insignificant.

Ron H.

@openid.aol.com/runnswim: You really are working overtime on this aren’t you Larry.

Nixon NODDED to Mao, Obama could have tied the Emperors shoes he was bent over so low.

Give me a break.

The point is that such an exaggerated bow is WRONG on so many levels.

You just don’t get it to you?

@Ron H.: Putting me and you on the same “side” might be taking some liberties.

I’m not shocked you don’t get it either.

But do tell me…. when was the last time we saw you comment on a post critical of Obama of which you approved?

I’d really like to know.

Let’s run this tape again as obviously Larry hasn’t seen it. Plus, it annoys Ron:

You are missing my point entirely. I’ve already stated that I this whole hoopla over the Obama bow is ridiculous and petty. I CLEARLY stated I wasn’t defending Obama but pointing out the hypocrisy. Nixon bowed, oh wait but Obama bowed lower . Yikes! Egads! The end is near.

By “our side” Mike I was referring to the internet in general. The “Obama Bow” is everywhere in the conservative blogs and not just hear Mike. On NewsMax I even read an article that was saying Presidents have never bowed to a foreign leader which is entirely not true.

You see Mike I’m concerned about facts not Propaganda which is basically what you peddle in. Heck you’re still wiping the egg off of your face from the ridiculous “Obama put his shoes on the desk in the oval office” post. Aye correctly pointed out that Bush did it too. So who cares Mike? oh wait you do!

Sloppy work Mike!

And what critisism would you like me to level at Obama that would appease you Mike. Please let me know as I really want your happiness. It’s what I live for brah!

Ron H.

I have been critical of Obama’s lack of experience in the past . I haven’t posted on here in quite awhile so you wouldn’t have anything recent anyway.

Oh and here’s a quick tip for you Mike. I usually only post when I DISAGREE with something! So if I ain’t postin, I ain’t disagreeing with you. I’m not a cheerleader so I usually don’t rah rah rah. I’ll leave that to other folks!

Ron H.

@Mike: A “nod?” I don’t think so; as the blog says, play the tape from 1:24 on.


And take a look at this informative collection of images:


And you still haven’t answered my question: Look at the image of Bush and Merkel. Now substitute Obama for Bush and recall how Merkel quickly withdrew, with obvious surprise and annoyance. What you you have said, had Obama been the perpetrator?

– Larry W/HB

Oh and Mike sometimes when we touch, the honesty is too much, I wanna hold you till the fear in me subsides!

I’m just saying!



I think Mike might want to hold you, also….by the throat. 🙂


you all are the only people around my life that make me laugh that is also why i come back,thank you.

@openid.aol.com/runnswim: Larry I did watch the tape. Did you also watch the video of Obama bowing to Hirohito’s heir?

Please don’t tell me there is any comparison.

I note that you have YET to say Obama’s BOW was wrong. So frankly, Nixon’s nod must have been downright rude by your obsequious standards.

Give it up Larry… YOU ARE WRONG!

And it’s not the first time… nor the second, nor the third or fourth or fifth or sixth….

Besides that Larry, you want to keep drawing comparisons between Nixon and Obama it’s fine with me:


You and Ron should get along fine.

@Wordsmith: Nah! I don’t have any desire to strangle Ron. I might kick him in the ass as it seems that’s where he does most of his thinking. And something tells me “ass” is pretty close to Ron’s real political affiliation.

Hey Mike
You still have some egg on your face. Here let me wipe it off for you. There all better! Oh and insulting me doesn’t change that fact! Eisenhower bowed to numerous dignitaries and other political figures such as Charles De Gault!. Should I provide you with that link? Nah why bother you’ll keep up this ridiculous post. Try focusing on something substantial for a change instead of Obama’s feet on a desk or how many times he blinks when he talks.

And kick me in the ass? Please Mike don’t make me laugh. You are so precious with your veiled threats.

I heart you Mike Really I do.

Ron H.

Don’t waste your time on Mike. He can’t see how hypocritical he is because he’s blinded by all of the egg on his face.

Ron H.

Stow it Ron. You’re not fooling anyone with your routine. And as far as only commenting when you disagree with me, I take it you agree with me 99.9% of the time. Pretty good record for me hunh? Maybe I know a thing or two after all? Especially about you!

Mike, the horse is dead, stop beating it! There is nothing here worth reading any longer. It has reached the “So’s your Mama”.

@mike (#130):

Larry I did watch the tape. Did you also watch the video of Obama bowing to Hirohito’s heir?
Please don’t tell me there is any comparison.
I note that you have YET to say Obama’s BOW was wrong. So frankly, Nixon’s nod must have been downright rude by your obsequious standards.
Give it up Larry… YOU ARE WRONG

Here’s the deal: Obama was bowing to the Japanese emperor. Nixon was bowing to Chairman Mao.

And, actually I did concede your point — twice. (#110, #112).

I guess that my agreement with you wasn’t sufficiently forceful. Let me try again:

What Obama did was utterly disgraceful. He has tarnished the image of the nation, given comfort to our enemies, and increased the probability of a terrorist attack on American soil. He deserves, at minimum, a censure resolution by the Senate, and the House should seriously consider commencing impeachment procedures.

Now that I’ve agreed with you, can you finally answer this question that you’ve been avoiding:

And you still haven’t answered my question: Look at the image of Bush and Merkel. Now substitute Obama for Bush and recall how Merkel quickly withdrew, with obvious surprise and annoyance. What you you have said, had Obama been the perpetrator?

Now, just think about it for a moment and try to think about what you’ve have written about this.

What would you have said?



Thanks for the heads-up w/brainwash..

I just whacked him with the Cluestick of Doom(tm) 🙂

@openid.aol.com/runnswim: Did Bush BOW to Merkel and place himself and our country in an inferior position?

Why is it that you are so hesitant to admit error where Obama is concerned?

Instead of just saying: “Obama was wrong” you’ve wasted countless words in a futile effort at moral equivalence.


One thing to remember about the whole Merkel thing is to observe how every version these libs show, cuts away immediately after Merkel’s surprised look…

If they have the guts to show the whole clip, she is grinning her head off, while turning to look at who did it, and is then seen laughing.

Was it “un-presidential”? Yup. But by that point in time, the two had become good friends. This is a red-herring counterpoint of the type libs like to make when they are so obviously wrong.

They also like to focus on one point within a post, while ignoring the rest of the context, as well as backtrack and obfuscate when exposed for their circular-arguments

@Patvann: And Bush’s informal moment with Merkel wasn’t a protocol faux pas like Obama.

Larry has done his best to make an orange into an apple and all he has ended up doing is drawing more attention to Obama’s inability to get the simple things like a greeting right.

When it comes to being “presidential” I’ll take Bush over Obama any day.

And from the polls I’m reading it would appear that millions more Americans agree with me.