On the same floor as the Jackson Comer at Takashimaya in Tokyo was the dinnerware department. One day, in passing by, I heard an American tourist ask the cost of a dozen of a design she liked.

The sales girl didn't understand the word "dozen." I stopped and told her it meant twelve, and she nodded in understanding. I then explained to the shopper that in Japan dinnerware was not sold in sets of twelve. The sales unit here was five.

She became indignant and said, "I've never heard anything so stupid in my life" as she stalked away.