Paper is very important to the Japanese, so the card must be treated with respect ... you do not write on the card, you place the card in a special case (not your wallet where you'd be sitting on it) and never just unprotected in your pocket, where it would get folded and dirty.
And then he took my picture. :-)
I have often remarked that I have an international reputation in a field that most people have never heard of. He wanted to be able to show people in the Japanese Automobile Manufacturers Association (JAMA) that he had met me, "Mr. IGES", the man responsible for adding support for KANJI text to IGES 5.0, an American National Standard used by the Japanese to exchange digital product definition data with their American and European business partners.
The next day, I asked him if he was familiar with Star Trek®. Then I showed him the picture of me with Patrick Stewart. Then I asked him to pose for a picture with me.
Later that day, I was showing someone the picture of me with Cardinal Keeler, and was talking about the rituals of introduction. I told him, "The guy on the left is the Executive Director of the American Muslim Council, and I had met him before, so he introduced me to His Emminence. In spite of my having been raised a Roman Catholic, I resisted the impulse to kiss his ring."
He asked me the names of the other two men in the photo
with us, and I had to admit that I could not remember
them ... the event was two years ago and I had not seen
either of them since. Well, "the guy on the left" is
Abdurahman Alamoudi, and here is the picture of me with
him, taken just before he introduced me to
After I had met the Cardinal, it was my turn to introduce one of my friends to him. In coaching him for the introduction, I explained that the Pope is addressed as, "Your Holiness", and that the proper form of address for an Archbishop is, "Your Emminence". His reaction was, "I'm a Muslim ... I'm not going to call him that!"
I took a deep breath and explained the gravity of the situation to him.
"Look, you are about to shake hands with a man who has had his
feet washed by the Pope in Rome. I doesn't matter
if you are a Christian or not, you have to give the man his
The December, 1997 issue of the American Muslim Council newsletter arrived yesterday, and it contained a picture of Abdurahman Alamoudi flanked by President Clinton and Vice President Gore. What a coincidence, that I should find this photo just days after showing someone a picture of me with him, and not being able to remember his name!
When I go back to the office next week, I can show this person a picture of "the guy on the left" with Bill Clinton, and then maybe he'll be more impressed with the photo I showed him last week. :-)
2005-11-21: Well, the things you miss when you don't keep in touch ... looks like Abdurahman Alamoudi is a Bad Man, and was sentenced to 23 years in prison for terrorism in 2004.
As if my FBI file wasn't already large enough. <sigh!>