Marlie was my dog - an adoring Doberman Pinscher - now long gone. I took her with me everywhere I could, but a trip to Japan seemed impractical. I'd named her after Marlene Dietrich, the motion picture actress of a generation ago. Marlie, like Marlene, had sexy legs and both came from Germany.

Marlie had taught me how to behave in Japan. While she enjoyed people at her own pace, she did not like to be aggressively approached. It was then she'd snarl and threaten to bite. But, left alone, she'd soon approach with friendship, sometimes bordering on affection.

So it was, I had learned, with the Japanese. A hardy handshake and a slap on the back was tolerated with a disdain never shown. Marlie had taught me to stand back and wait. In Japan, things were never done in a rush except for catching the subway. Restrained courtesy came first, then a general conversation and finally business was discussed