Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Myoden and Pasta

Hello again. Life goes on.

The local little bar round the corner from my flat is always good value. A couple of weeks ago i got talking to a middle aged man who was in the bar for the first time. He was divorced with two kids and worked a few metro stations away. He asked me if i was single and i confirmed that i was. He nodded, smiled and said, “What kind of girls do you like? Fat, chubby, normal or thin?” Not a question you expect from someone you've just met. And it’s a bit difficult to reply without saying, “Erm, well, er, i guess, not fat?” And then shrug.

A more normal and slightly understandable question that people have asked is if England has earthquakes. I tell them that we don’t and that we are also free of tsunamis, volcanoes and typhoons to which the reply is something like, “Ah, England is very safe.” The thing is people in England would probably disagree. The ground might be safe but for some reason i can’t really imagine a single Japanese immigrant sitting in small bar in suburban England and not only be warmly welcomed and plied with alcohol and food at every available opportunity but also be forgiven for his inability to speak the local language and asked of his preference in female waistlines.

My Japanese is very slowly getting the point where i know when students are insulting me. There was also one three year old kid i had for one lesson who refused to say anything other than the word “pasta”. What’s your name? “Pasta!” What's this colour? “Pasta!” At least he was enthusiastic. I had another student who called the Statue of Liberty “Freedom Girl” which is just a much better way of describing it. Makes it sound like a superhero, doesn’t it?

It’s been a long winter here. A few weeks ago it felt like spring was in the post and would be here any moment. I think the postman got lost. It’s still Janurayish some mornings. Weird. The onset of spring in Japan is defined by cherry blossom. The traditional way of celebrating spring is to get drunk in the park on an evening after work surrounded by pink leaves and this is such a popular thing that it becomes quite competitive to get a decent spot amongst the trees. April is also the hiring season for recent university graduates and the combination of a new face in the office and the pretty leaves in the park means that a graduates first task in their new career is to get down to the park at around lunch time, find a decent spot and then sit there until five o’clock when everybody from the office joins the poor bastard, eats and gets drunk.

But right now i think everybody in Japan could do with sitting in the sunshine in the park and getting a bit tipsy in the late afternoon. It’s been a mad month. Roll on spring.

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