Wednesday, 24 April 2024

Very Kind Japanese People !?

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Very Kind Japanese People !?

kind_japanese_big.gifI am a homemaker, who is married to an Italian American and has been living in the US for twenty years. Although I’ve been here for so long, my English skills have not improved as much as I wanted. Yet, when I make phone calls to friends in Japan, they say, “Your Japanese may be in danger quite a bit.” So, recently I’ve been linguistically lost.

During last summer’s vacation, I visited Japan for the first time in these twelve years. I was amazed how much everything had changed, including how to buy a train ticket, automatic ticket gates at train stations, the 2000-yen bill, and mobile phones. Anyway, people there seemed to walk quite fast, and I felt as if I had been walking backward alone.

One day, I wanted to go to Ameyoko, a popular street market in Tokyo, so I asked a railroad station employee for the directions. He said in an unfriendly tone, “The directions are there in the route map.” While I was checking the route map closely, I heard this question in broken Japanese: “Sumimasen, Shibuya iku, nanban? (Excuse me, go Shibuya, what number?)” It was a blonde girl and the station employee, who now sounded very kind.

This made me realized that I was a foreigner, too! So I tried this: “Watashi, ikitai, kaimono, Ameyoko (I, want to go, shopping, Ameyoko).” Thanks to help from passers-by I met on my way, I enjoyed my shopping, buying scallop eyes, dried calamari and so on. How kind Japanese were once they saw foreigners! I was impressed!

Urashima Hanako, who has become a foreigner