Monday, October 22, 2007

I'm white! Do I look like I know Japanese?

The great majority of the time, it's quite annoying to have most Japanese assume that I understand as much Japanese as a dog would. Despite me speaking something that resmbles fluency, I still quite often get responses in English with their bastardized way of pronouncing my language: aa.. baasuroomu izu on za refuto~ (ah, the bathroom is on the left!). In fact, I could have been born here and speak as good as Japanese as any other narrow-eyed citizen, but I would still get the same treatment. But this isn't what this post is about; I've already come to terms with the fact that I'll always be initially treated like that mentally-retarded step brother that everyone wish would just go away.

This post is about taking full advantage of people thinking I don't speak a word of Japanese.

Me and my Austrailian friend, who is probably on par with what a Japanese dog would understand, headed to this family-run Itailan place to get some Monday night grub. We both ordered the "American pasta" - it being American because the pasta has bacon in it.

Shortly after we sit down, a young Japanese couple sit to the right of us; their conversation is well within hearing distance. I'm not paying too much attention to them, but at some point the guy says (In Japanese).. "Pfft, I can speak English".

I didn't hear the previous conversation, but I'm sure the girl made note of the fact that my friend and I were conversing in English and was fascinated by it.

So she responds with "Oooh really? You can speak English? Okay. Do a self introduction."


"Why? You said you can speak English, right? Go on! Try to do a self introduction"


"It's easy! like this: Haaii... mai neemu izz Hiromi Takada. Naisu tooo meet yuu"


"Okay. Tell me how to say shumi in English


"Good! Now c'mon, say something else in English!"

"No way. Those two over there can hear us."

"No they can't! Don't worry about them"

So as this conversation is going, I start laughing hysterically at this guy's girlfriend calling him out on being able to speak English. They obviously assume that I'm laughing at something my friend said because they continued this charade for quite a while. So I thought at this point I would have some fun with it.

I saw a chef past by, and asked him in my best, speediest, crystal-clear accent where the bathroom was. I stood up as I asked him to start heading the direction of the bathroom and noticed two heads with very wide eyes dart up at me. I go to the bathroom, and when I come back out, there is just complete silence from the both of them.

"Yeah, they didn't say a word after you went into the bathroom", said my friend.

After I got back, they got up, said something about going to Starbucks, and took off.

So there are advantages to having a big-ass nose, curly hair and wide eyes. I'm incognito as long as I don't speak any Japanese!

The second story will also come soon. (Sometime when it's not past midnight on a weekday)