This is a companion microcast about the Ramen Vomit Yakuza incident.

This is Rick Cogley out of Yokohama, and I wrote a blog post about this, and I just thought I would talk a little bit about it.

BaseGuy was out with a client near Motomachi, Yokohama, and we were there for going to visit a 3PL to try to figure out which 3PL was best for them.

This particular one was a bit of a disaster.

We had been talking with them and telling them about this meeting, explaining that it was C-level executives coming and that they would need to present in English, and they kind of just ignored it.

The whole meeting ended up being fairly hysterical.

It wasn’t funny at the time, but in the end, when we look back on it, it’s pretty funny.

It was so hot.

It was August.

It was ridiculously hot, and we went in, and they ushered us into this room after telling us to put on construction helmets, and the room had no AC.

They didn’t offer any water or anything like that, so we were all kind of just wondering what the heck to do, and we were waiting for quite a while before about 20 people came in.

Of course, this raises the temperature of the room considerably, but we were like, okay, thank God.

Now it’s finally starting, but then they started in Japanese.

They displayed a Japanese PowerPoint or something on the screen, some documents, and they just started in Japanese, and I let them go for, I don’t know, three or four minutes and just said, look, you’re going to present.

Somebody’s going to translate this, so you’re going to present this in English, and they’re like, oh, no, and so we had a bit of back and forth.

I’m telling them, well, I was talking to your colleague, and we were going back and forth about this meeting, and they don’t speak Japanese, so what’s your plan here?

So anyway, a lot of sort of furtive and secretive discussion went on, a lot of teeth sucking and things like that went on, and then finally they tried to get me to do it, and while I could do it, I didn’t really come there to do that.

I was there on the client’s behalf, not on our potential vendor’s behalf, so I kind of gave them a bit of pushback on that.

I figured if something was really important, I would help, but I really didn’t want to be the main interpreter.

I’m not an interpreter, and that’s very hard work, requires a specific skill, so I’ll do it in an informal setting, but this was a formal meeting, and it had a lot of business riding on it, so I don’t understand why they would want me to do it.

But anyway, so after another 20 minutes or so, they finally dragged a marketing person in who quote-unquote speaks perfect English, and this poor young woman was just panicking, and she started off on doing this presentation in really bad English.

Not her fault, of course, but it was just like, oh my god, what’s going on here?

And I tried to help a little bit, but the executive team was getting pretty impatient by now, and also extremely hot, parched, and sweating, so they just kind of said, yeah, okay, well, that’s great.

I guess you guys can’t present in English, so why don’t we just, let’s take a look at the facility, and that also was pretty funny, you know, because they wanted to control everything, including the way we ask questions during the tour, and they wanted us to not look at certain things in this space.

It was actually, it was a warehouse for a well-known CD sales company, but very interesting to look at anyway, a lot of activity and things going in and out, a lot of small packages and that sort of thing, so very interesting from a logistics perspective, but they really didn’t want us going around looking at stuff, so at any rate, we ended the meeting.

Obviously, it wasn’t going to be this company.

I think they probably knew it as well.

We said our goodbyes, and we went off to drink, basically, and so we were like, yeah, let’s just go get some beer, and one of the executives and I are close, so we took off.

The others went back to the hotel, and we took off to find a beer garden or something to go to because it was August, and Yokohama, there’s actually a big Kirin brewery there, and you can visit and take a tour and that sort of thing, so that’s what we did.

We had a couple of beers before dinner, and had some dinner, and had some more beers, and we were just about getting ready to go home when, to top the day off, we’re standing there in front of the kiosk near the train station and basically going to buy some snacks or whatever for the train, and this guy comes over, and he’s like a full-blown Yakuza with the white kimono and white shoes and missing digits and deep tan, and he was about 10 years older than us.

This was probably, I don’t know, he must have been in his 50s or early 60s, I would think, but he was like kind of, you know, really starting to talk to us and getting kind of in our face about whether, you know, we wanted something and, you know, whether we like Japan or not and all this sort of thing, welcome to Japan, and he wants to buy a present for us and all this, and I’m like, oh my god, this is awful.

I don’t know what to do here.

Anyway, it was just, like, comically just terrifying and interesting at the same time, so we were kind of freaking out a little bit, but he bought us some, like, strong zeros and some snacks and stuff from the kiosk, and we’re like, oh, thank you, thank you, and, you know, he’s like, okay, well, you guys, you know, go ahead, and I’ll see you again, and I’m like, yeah, probably not, but anyway, thanks a lot, and off he goes, and off we go, and we were just, like, laughing because of this, and just as we’re about to, like, part ways with this guy, he kind of throws up, right?

He kind of wretches, and this ramen comes out and kind of whooshes, and you could see it, like, going end-over-end slow motion, and then it splats onto my client’s lapel.

That guy doesn’t even notice, and we’re just stifling laughter and, you know, disgust, brushing it off my friend’s lapel, and we’re like, oh my god, we’re just, you know, we’re like, okay, we’re like, okay, see you later, and we just sort of ran through the turnstile and up into the train with our snacks and got more drunk on the train, but anyway, it’s a fun incident to recount, and it was kind of an unforgettable one, so I thought I would blog about it, so thanks for listening.