Odds & Ends (part 1).

In the midst of moving to a different country thirteen hours in the future, (barely) enduring oppressive heat and humidity, dealing with relocation troubles, and generally trying to acclimate myself to a new job, a new neighborhood, the local trains, and communication in a different language, interesting things happen to me now and again.

  • There was an international festival near the branch where I was filling in the other day. The streets were lined with vendors on both sides, with a small stage set up and periodic street performances (which made teaching very challenging, because they could get pretty loud). I had some of the festival food for lunch, and had complimented the girls working the Turkish booth on their attire. Later, when I had no lessons scheduled, they sent me to hand out round uchiwa with the company logo, and I spotted the Turkish booth girls again and gave a basic wave-and-smile before resuming my work. One of the Turkish guys working the booth came over all intense a couple minutes later and told me he wanted to talk to me in my building’s entryway, where he asked me if I spoke Japanese. What followed was him demanding to know why I waved and smiled at his wife, and he wanted to see my boss, and not to look over there any more. Funny thing was that I don’t actually know which of the women was his wife. He seemed pissy for a while after, and another of the Turks glared at me for a good five-ten minutes as well. (As a side note, I passed out almost all of the fans while outside.)
  • As I was looking for a laundromat last night (so I had a place to dry my clothes), I passed some late-night gas-line work. One of the workers started speaking to me in English, and kept doing so each time I passed by, so I finally asked him how he learned it so well. Turns out he studied four years at Boston University for management; the gas gig was a side job to his government consulting work. I honestly didn’t expect to find someone fluent in English directing foot and bike traffic late at night in my neighborhood.
  • wpid-20140922_180604.jpg

    This photo was actually taken about a month later. She recognized me right away, too.

    Employees at the SEGA chain of game centers don’t have their real names on their name lanyards; they all use nicknames. For example, a nametag I saw the other day said らぶみ (rabu-mi, which sounds like “love me” with a katakana pronunciation), and when I mentioned it to the girl, she said her real name was Ai, written with the character for “love.” Clever, no?


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