The Shohei Ohtani gambling scandal continues to get weirder. His news conference last week raised more questions than it answered, coming after the rumor mill had already been swirling five days. By waiting so long and declining to take questions, he made his story seem to some in the media as "mysterious” or as though he had something to hide.

Not so fast. This is where we’re getting some typical — and for some of us used to dealing with Japanese institutions, annoyingly familiar — cross-cultural communication breakdowns.

Western crisis management experts typically advise being pro-active — getting your message out there and flooding the zone with information to avoid creating a vacuum that can be filled with suspicion and misinformation. Yet Ohtani’s manner of going into a shell is indeed exactly how Japanese institutions faced with scandal tend to react — regardless of guilt or innocence.