A Sincerely Insincere Apology

So what if I’d spare him?

In my mind, it’s the certainty in myself that allows me to have that kind of mercy or compassion. There’s no wavering on that point. It’s fixed like the stars.

The fact is – I’m never gonna’ be killed.*

So, remember this: mercy and compassion are virtues that only the strong are privileged to possess. And I am strong.

The Rail Tracer, Baccano!

Friday Interview, 2015/04/17

“Do you think he wants you to bend the knee?”

“I don’t know – maybe. I don’t want to bow.” I am guilty and sorry for nothing.

Bows are a required and expected part of any apology in East Asia, especially JapanKorea, and Taiwan. Bows of apology tend to be deeper and last longer than other types of bow. They occur with frequency during the apology, generally at about 45-50 degrees with the head lowered and lasting for the count of three, sometimes longer. The depth, frequency, and duration of the bow increases with the sincerity of the apology and the severity of the offense.¹

My life has been threading together like fiction, lately.

“If he does want you to bow, then that makes him look bad – not you.”

“Ah, I see – because everyone is looking at the person that made the other person bow.” His logic resonated with me. I understood perfectly.

“Exactly. No one will be looking at you – they will be looking at that other person. You are the bigger person. I had to bow for a parent once.  I did it in front of the entire school. I did it to make her happy. Everyone asked, ‘Why did you do that? Why would you do that?’ But – it didn’t affect me. I didn’t care. It made her look bad – not me. I did it because she was my customer. She was happy -“

“And you got what you wanted.” What is sad, is that the entire time I kept connecting this conversation with a scene in Hunter x Hunter.

“Yes. Of course – if some random person on the street wanted me to apologize and bow I would just wave them off.”

– – – – – – – – –

“Can I cut my hair really short?” I gestured cutting with two fingers very close to my scalp. “And can I go back to my natural, dark hair color?”

“Yes, of course. Why not?”

2012.12.30 - Jeju-Do, Korea

2012.12.30 – Jeju-Do, Korea

*I don’t truly believe, at this point, that I can’t be killed. I don’t want to be killed – if that means anything.
¹Bows of apology are frequently performed at press conferences by high-ranking members of a company that has performed some misdeed, such as producing faulty parts that resulted in a death. These bows are almost invariably performed standing behind a table; the tips of the fingers touch the table while the upper body, held straight, is lowered from the waist until the face is parallel with the tabletop. [Reference: Wikipedia]