Yesterday we went to a birthday dinner in a Japanese restaurant. The food was delicious, the place pleasant, the Air Conditioning full ON and the room temperature close to the spring in Europe for a country with an average temperature at 28°C all year… Nothing special here.
During the dinner, we couldn’t help but pay close attention to the Japanese cooks, making sushi and sashimi for our greatest pleasure. What we remarked was not their skills (which were surely remarkable) but the small plastic object under their chin. A sort of horizontal visor.
Followed a small debate to find out what this artifact was and what its purpose was. Hygienic protection? Anti-sweat technology? Japanese fashion? Unable of finding a suitable answer for everyone, we decided to ask a waitress. She has been in this restaurant longer than we do, and she surely must have asked herself what this mysterious object was.
We politely ask her, she ponders for a while. Apparently this question didn’t bother her as much as we thought. She tries to find an explanation, but we can clearly see that she is not sure of what she is saying. She doesn’t seem to know more than us on the subject. But she does not want to say that she does not know.
That is the catch. I have seen this so many times here in Indonesia. While asked a question that they don’t have the answer, people will prefer answering something which “has a chance” to be right, but which has absolutely no guarantee to be, instead of honestly saying “Sorry, I don’t know”. It happens to me also.
So why are we doing that? It can be frustrating to get a “false answer” and sometimes it leads to time and/or money wasting. Are we that afraid of looking stupid and being judged? Isn’t it smarter to simply admit that we do not know? We simply cannot know everything.