Wednesday, July 26, 2017
Mr. Takada or Mr. Takata?
Emma was angry when she returned to the office. She told me, “Why did you tell me the name of the president was Mr. Takada?” I did not understand her. She said, “When I went to the client’s office, I said, 'I have an appointment with Mr. Takada.' The receptionist did not understand me. I told her, 'Mr. Takada, your president.' She now understood me and said that his name is Mr. Takata.’ I was so embarrassed.”
While Emma was talking, I wondered if she was OK because I had checked the president’s name. Her anger continued. She said, "Why did you make such a simple mistake? His last name is Takata, not Takada."
Then it occurred to me that he was possibly from Western Japan. There is a Japanese businessman whose name is Akira Takata. He is from Kyushu, Western Japan. Mr. Takata is the founder of Japanet Takata, which is now a major TV shopping company in Japan. When I saw his name on TV for the first time, I thought he was Mr. Takada because it is the way to read his name in Eastern Japan. In fact, such name confusion is no big deal and people will laugh at it. Animated conversations can follow afterward.
I told Emma all about it and she was obviously skeptical of me. She said, "Never mispronounce clients’ names. You will offend them if you do.”
She later took me out of the project.