First night out

After work yesterday I went to my host family’s house. I’m staying with Na-chan. She’s 30, single and lives in a very small apartment. I did my best to unpack my stuff into a closet (I left a lot of stuff here at the office) and then we went out to dinner.

Now, Na-chan doesn’t really speak English. I don’t really speak Japanese. Scratch that, I don’t speak Japanese at all. So that made for some very interesting giggling as she watched me unpack my massive bag. We’re refining our communication techniques, and have already improved.

After I got my stuff into a closet, we left for dinner. We went to a tiny (a room smaller than my kitchen at home, with three tables) place down some alley and up an elevator on the third floor. One of the tables had a couple at it who spoke a little english, so I did a lot of sitting and listening, and Mama had cooked us a lot of stuff. Mama had made us mostly American type food — Japanese versions of pasta and pizza and omlette… The table next to us shared some sashimi and beef with ginger. There was a bit of a pork episode — where she knew I didin’t eat pork, but had bacon in some of the food — but that was okay.

Mama has been to more of Canada than I have — Calgary, Vancouver, Quebec, Niagara Falls… They also have french lessons at the restaurant so there was some je m’apelle going on.

Afterwards, Na-chan took me by the arm and led me around the city to some shrine. We went up the stairs, which had stone shinto gates that were beautiful, and into a bar — Shu’s Cafe.

Shu had more CDs on his wall than any place I’ve seen. We all sat at the bar and met Na-chan’s interesting friends: A newspaper owner, a photographer, her apartment owner’s son…. Everyone was happy to try some English on me, but some of the time they would speak in Japanese amongst themselves and I was left listening. So every so often I’d pipe in with a “Wakata” (=I understand) or “Watashimo” (= me too).

Then Kendall (= my boss) and Eric (= another intern) showed up which allowed me the luxury of English conversation and people to translate. I continued with my piping up every so often, and apparenly told them that I was an identical twin with a well placed Watashimo. I’m fine with that.

Japanese phrase of the night: “one more please!”

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