Perry takes a bow

Dear bear friends:

The big day is here at last! I am writing to you from an airplane over Idaho, on our way to San Francisco. There, we'll meet the members of the Symphony, and tomorrow will find us on our way to Japan!

It was exciting enough to begin our trip, but this morning saw even more excitement: Perry has made the news! Yes, our home-town newspaper, the Tri-City Herald, heard about my travels, and they came to the airport to photograph me, Perry the Symphony Teddy Bear! They will be publishing my picture, and a story about YOU--my e-mail correspondents.

There we were, Miss Cynthia, Doctor Steve and Perry Bear, checking in at the desk at the airport. Here came my new friend, Mister Andre, the newspaper photographer. He was very, very tall, with kind, twinkly brown eyes. Big black bulky cases hung from his neck and waist, and he had the biggest camera I'd ever seen. I could see myself in the reflection from the camera lens!

Miss Cynthia introduced us, and he shook my paw, warmly.

It was really rather exciting! Mister Andre walked with us to the airplane gate, and took many pictures of me. Here I am, riding on Miss Cynthia's carry-on bag! Here I am, perched in Miss Cynthia's arm! Here I am, writing my bear story on the little computer!

As he took my photograph, Mister Andre talked to me about Japan. He'd traveled there and was very interested in hearing about my trip. I showed him what I had packed in my little bag. "Name cards!" said Mister Andre, pleased, when he saw my Perry the Symphony Teddy Bear card. Just like a businessman, I have a little card, called a name card, with my name and e-mail address printed on it.

"Do you know what to do when someone presents you with their name card, Perry?" asked Mister Andre. I admitted that I didn't know exactly what to do.

So, right there in the Tri-Cities Airport, I learned to bow! When Japanese people meet one another for the first time, they don't shake hands, they bow.

It's not easy for a little teddy bear to bow properly, you know! We do have those plump little tummies. I tried hard, and finally managed a pretty nice bow. Arms straight at the sides, Perry! Bow from the waist!

Now, to the name cards. When they bow, Japanese people hand the other person their name card. The person who receives the card takes it in both hands.

That's considered a mark of respect. Hold the name card with two paws, Perry! Then read the card, and say something about the person's name, or what he does, or where he lives. A polite remark, to break the ice.

I practiced with Mister Andre, right there in the airport! A few fellow passengers looked on, curiously, but most everyone smiled to see a little teddy bear, bowing and presenting his name card to a tall, tall photographer.

By the end of our time together, I was very polished at this little bit of Japanese courtesy.

Tonight, we will stay in a big hotel in San Francisco. I must go now, as our plane is landing--but I will write again soon!

Your bear friend,

Perry Bear Ewer

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