Communing with the Japanese

I walked around campus at lunch for lack of anything better to do. The heat was bumping into me and hugging me. I didn’t mind. I compared it to Japanese summer which is stifling to a degree I care not to remember. Today’s heat is no where near that extreme.

I checked out the price of educational versions of web designing software. Checked out the Japanese textbooks in the Used Book store. I’m still deciding whether or not to take a course in the fall. What do you think I should do? I worry there is no point in learning a language I have no real need to know. How useful is it? When would I get the chance to practice the language? I left the shop, and wandered over to a cafeteria in another building to get an iced cappucino. Everyone deserves a delicious treat once in a while! I got there and the Japanese fast food counter was full of you guessed it, Japanese people. There was one white guy, remarkably similar to a young Steve Martin, tagging behind them. I asked if he was with them. He was and confirmed that they were from Japan. I asked if he was too. Funny thing to ask, but I was serious. Turns out he is from Korea. Why he was with them, I am unsure. I think I was making this guy nervous. Maybe he thought i was trying to pick him up. Ha, I wasn’t. I told him the only Korean word I know is kimchee. He laughed. I’m funny.

He left to pay for his food. I decided to order some rice with teriyaki sauce. I took a tray at the end of the line. Just then a Japanese man comes up and I realize I’ve taken his tray. I apologize and slide it over to him. I say “dozo”. In english, he asks me if I speak Japanese. I assure him that I do not. Then I say “sukoshi” which means “a little”. The rest of the people in line laugh. I continue having a conversation with him. He reminds me of one of my student’s from the local government where I taught in Japan. He’s been to Matsuyama (where I lived for a year) three times. We discussed the hot springs, Dogo Onsen. Then we parted ways as our food was ready.

Was this a sign that I should take the Japanese course? Or just a pleasant interlude between morning and afternoon?


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