As I was folding my clothes at the laundromat today, a little old lady came in to do her wash. She saw that I’d had to put a few things back in for a little extra drying time and started talking to me about that very thing — in regular-speed Japanese with no English whatsoever. I understood most of what she said in our short conversation, but what stood out was that she didn’t try to speak to me in halting, broken English like many people do. Rather than assuming I was an ignorant foreigner, she just talked to me like a person. It was refreshing.
- The area around my home station has been a hotbed of construction. Just to either side of the entrance and just inside are blocked-off areas for what I assume is some sort of eventual work, but every night and nearly every day, someone’s working on something. Near as I can tell, there are at least three different groups working on something under the street (gas, sewer maybe), but only one at a time.
- As I was walking out of the barber shop last week I spotted Tom, the English guy who roomed next to me at ASU, walking past. I knew he’d moved to Tokyo a couple of months ago, but hadn’t really heard much about or from him since I left Nagoya. He seemed entirely unsurprised to see me. We talked for a while, catching up and comparing notes on our respective jobs and situations. He and I weren’t close, but it was good to see a familiar face.
- One of my students tonight said he works for Sony, specifically on the kernel for the Playstation OS. I actually meet a lot of people with interesting jobs, including an older gentleman who works in liver pathology research and has not only been published, but has also had an impact on his profession and is listed in their who’s who. He spoke English very well, and preferred to do most of the talking. I haven’t had any unpleasant students, but there are a handful I look forward to seeing.