A foreign man living in Tokyo ended his phone call to a utilities company yesterday feeling tremendously well respected but making zero progress in the pursuit of answers.

“I couldn’t understand a word that was being said but I knew it was keigo and I knew I was commanding some serious respect,” said Phil Dawson.

Dawson initiated the inquiry by alerting the customer service representative that he was actually a “full blown gaijin”.

Despite the admission of “full blown gaijin” status the customer service representative proceeded to communicate via a steady stream of sophisticated honorific Japanese despite it being patently clear to both parties that nothing would be resolved.

“As far as I’m concerned when I’m dealing with customer service comprehension takes a backseat to my overall needs of feeling respected,” said Dawson.

“I had no idea what was going on but I was satisfied in the knowledge that my confusion stemmed from the honorific.”

Dawson later realized he should have just asked his local friend to answer his largely straightforward question.

Image: David Goehring