The art of door to door sales has not been lost in Japan as each day brings another unrelating salesman. Yesterday, Okaasan was unfortunate enough to answer. The man handed her his business card as he began his pitch. He attempted to convince her that she really needed her house painted and from his tone it seemed somewhat urgent that she have it done IMMEDIATELY! After several minutes of obligatory listening, she politely declined and attempted to retreat back into the house. He continued the pitch ignoring her refusal.

I decided to stand in the hallway where I had a good view of Okaasan in her awkward and now partial retreat as she managed to get one foot in the door only. She looked for an opening his breathless ballyhoo in order to complete her withdraw, all the while windblown snow pelted her face and was accumulating in her hair. Shivering with only her obligatory apron – Japanese women find it necessary to wear aprons at all times while at home – and felt I had to take action before the frostbite set in. I walked into the adjacent room and began calling out, “Okaasan! Someone’s on the phone for you” in English. She played along telling him that she had to take the call. He chuckled then continued on as clearly we were not the first to try that ploy.

He finally conceded defeat and asked for his business card back. In order to return the card, she had to leave the safety of her doorway, all a clever trick to began the pitch again. And so he did…