March 28, 2006

Small town interactions

Saga is an interesting place. Where else can you see the sky littered with hot-air balloons on any given Sunday?
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It's warm enough to start exploring again. And so I went for a long walk yesterday.
I approached the old man from my walking path (the top of a wall) and said in my best Japanese: <Excuse me. Are there any restaraunts in this direction?>
As I got closer, I realized he had no teeth at all. I estimated his age to be approximately one gajillion.
Old man: <Huh?>
I repeated my query.
Old man: <What?>
Me: <On this road, are there any good restaraunts?>
Old man: <This is Tara town.>
Me: <I know, but on this street, are there any restaraunts? That way.> Wild hand motions
Old man: <Nah.>
Frustrating victory to me! I'm not quite sure why a gaijin's Japanese, capable though it may be, is so hard for the older population to comprehend. Maybe we speak too much textbook Japanese, but we speak it so simple.
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A man a walked up to me and started bugging me at the supermarket. Even though my Japanese wasn't really up to this particular conversation, he just kept talking, the way that most Tara people do. He asked me to put his phone number into my cell. I did, then promptly and accidentaly erased it without realizing it. Now there is one guy out there that is going to think I am a jerk when I don't give a call. It's just as well, his invitation to "Asoubou" (lit. shall we play?) sounded a bit odd to me.