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My Japanese disaster – Part 2

Walking in to Akita city, we were approached by a man who had just gotten off a bus and was walking beside us on his way home from a day at the factory. His inquisitive nature resulted in question after question about our challenge and our stilts and the monkey that was on our backs. With so much being fired at us, we decided to hop down and have a rest so we could chat more easily with our new friend. Besides, our feet were telling our brains that enough was enough.

As we sat together eating some Japanese sweets that we had been given earlier, our conversation turned from our challenge goal to his, and as he talked more deeply about it, his demeanor took on a seriousness reflecting the weight of a revelation that he was about to share with us.

As Miki gave his announcement the attention that it deserved, my mind was still lost somewhere between the pain in my feet and the empty hole that our sweets weren’t filling in my stomach. While my attention to his utterance may have seemed solid on the surface, the effect that pain and hunger have on my concentration in a foreign language was about to become apparent.

“Ore mo, yumei wo motteirundesuyo (I have a dream as well), he confided as he started to lean in closer.
“Demo, chotto iizuraindesukedo (but it’s a little difficult for me to talk about), he said as his voice bordered on a whisper.
“Ore wa, shiteki shogai wo motteiru node…….

While Miki had grasped the full meaning of his words and was paying it the respect that it was due with understanding nods of the head and reassuring looks in his direction, it had unfortunately come during a lull in my concentration brought on by the realization that we had no more snacks to quell my angry stomach. As such I had only managed to hear the first part in full and pieces from what had come after. For it wasn’t the words ‘shiteki shogai’ or ‘I have a mental disability’ that my ears had picked up during his most personal of revelations. Remembering that his had started as a conversation about dreams, in my weakened state I was sure that I heard him say the words ‘suteki shobai’ or ‘ I want to have a great business.’ Knowing this, I could be forgiven for reacting the way that I had at that moment.

That’s brilliant’, I responded enthusiastically, hoping that my burst of energy would bring back the spark that our conversation had seemed to lose during one of my lapses in concentration.

However, as both Miki and the poor man’s expressions conveyed, it was a connection that was only clear in my own mind. As Miki was left to pick up my pieces, I realized that, for the sake of our challenge, it was time to start working seriously on my Japanese.

posted by Mick and Miki Tan @ 12:55 AM,


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