Gretchen was an internationally recognized midwife. She had been invited by the Japanese Midwifery Association to address them at their annual conference. How exciting is that? An all-paid trip to Japan! She prepared her speech, and practised saying Konnichiwa and Ohayō gozaimasu.
Her hosts made her very welcome indeed. Gretchen was called to the stage. Just as she was about to begin her speech, who should turn up but the Japanese Empress herself! The entire audience bowed low, and remained there. Gretchen was left standing on stage quite erect, not knowing what to do next, and staring straight into the eyes of the Empress.
The Empress offered her hand.
Gretchen smiled. The Empress gave a little nod. Ah! everyone is human after all.