Yes, Obi Wan

28 Jan

This week at our leadership meeting, we had a few attendees from our international markets. Two observations:

  1. Apparently overseas, staffing is not a woman-dominated industry. (That, or the glass ceiling overseas is so low that women rarely even become directors… anyone want to weigh in?)
  2. It’s true: by contrast, Americans completely lack style. You could tell who the international folk were based strictly on the cut of their pants, the fit of their shirts, and the style of their shoes. We look dumpy by comparison.

OK. No revelations there.

What I *did* learn was about a custom the Japanese enact each year to chase away evil spirits. Apparently the children get beans (sort of like dried soy beans) in decorative packets that look like this:

To chase evil spirits from their homes, the kids then open these packets and pelt their fathers with the beans while saying (chanting?), “Obi wan suta.”

When my colleague told me this and shared the beans with me, I had two additional thoughts:

  1. I never knew that Obi Wan Kenobi was Japanese.
  2. Interesting that they have made men the target for these beans (and potentially the basis for the evil spirits). What does *that* mean?

Puzzles aside, I carefully tucked the beans in my pocket. Now back on DC turf, I intend to create my own ceremony to chase away evil spirits for the year. My only challenge is figuring out who to target when I toss them.

Ironically, for the first time, I actually regret that Bush isn’t still living at 1600 Pennsylvania. Somehow, that would’ve made this a much sweeter task.

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