Thursday, April 27, 2006

Aiming for Zero Compliments in Japanese

Whenever I'm introduced to someone here, I say "hello, nice to meet you" in japanese. Then I close my eyes, grit my teeth, and wait for the inevitable.
"Wow, you're good at speaking Japanese!"

Ah.. there it is.

What is wrong with me, why do I hate that so much? I obviously have some weird complex or something, but that's beside the point... let me try and say my take on it.

Perhaps it is because I haven't said anything yet. Perhaps it is because the person, obviously meaning well, would NEVER say that to another Japanese person.... really, it means "you're good at speaking japanese (for a foreigner!) and I hate it.

Whenever I'm complimented , I try hard to make a stupid joke.
At my company's bo-nen-kai (remember what that means, faithful blog readers? ^^) I said
"Kyra desu, yoroshiku onegaishimasu". (I'm Kyra, nice to meet you).
My coworker looked impressed and said
"Nihongo umai desu ne!" (You're good at speaking japanese, aren't you?)

Eh, I thought he might say that. Come ON, I work in your company, what were you expecting, I couldn't say hello?) heh. SO I said jokingly
"mada nanimo ittenai desu kedo..." which means, "Really? But I haven't said anything yet..."
...this little utterance which I said without even thinking about it floored my colleagues and made the coworker who said that turn red and change the subject.
Score one for Kyra!

Another time I'm rather proud of is when I started going to volleyball practice. It was my first time, and during the break between games I was chatting with one of my new aquaintances. I think I was talking about how stressful it can be working in a company where there are like five levels of politeness and I'm not sure exactly how polite I'm supposed to be to whom. She was very sweet and said "I don't know what you're worried about, your Japanese is very good, especially your pronunciation" (ok, that is a nice compliment because it was within context and was something I was worried about, I was happy to hear it. ...maybe I am just weird).
But then about six other people all started saying "Yes, your speech is very pretty."
"Pretty, huh"
"Yes, really pretty."
"Definitely pretty".
It was about this time I was thinking: Ahh, make them stop! I have to think of something!!!
"Oh, you're talking about my face, right? OH HO HO HO HO! " I said in that dumb high pitch laugh.

THe volleyball players stopped short, looked at each other, and went back into practice. I'm one hundred percent sure they were thinking "What an idiot". And yet, I'm still rather proud of that time... ^_~

Anyways, the way I feel about compliments in japanese is, the fewer I get, the more progress I'm making. When I visited Eriko the very first time I ever came to Japan and I only knew seven words (hello, goodbye, yes, no, sorry, thanks and ...bear ), I got complimented every time I said something. I mean it, I think I spilled something in a restaurant and said "SOrry!" probably with a weird accent, and the waiter who came to clean it up said "Nihongo umai desu ne!"

But these days, once we get past the fact that I can say hello just fine, thank you, and I am a businesswoman at NEC where I do nothing but speak japanese all day, I get decidedly fewer compliments, and I can't tell you how glad I am. In fact, it's the opposite. If someone is strict and corrects what I say, I am pretty much the most grateful person you'll ever see.

Does anyone else have this strange anti-compliment complex?

-Troubled in Tokyo

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

fab pix from japan!

Hey all. You may recall me bosting about my new digital camera in the last post. Digital cameras rule!! Alright, I know most of you have had them since like 1983 and you can't believe I finally got one NOW... but I think it's the hippest thing since the Model T! It's a ...let's see, what is it. Oh here we go, "Canon IXY digital 60 w/3X zoom lens and 5.0 mega pixels!" ...
it's nice, but my phone has it beat in two ways:
1) I can email my pictures from it instead of plugging in the physical camera
2) I don't have to resize phone pictures. ^^

I was gonna post these up on Flix, but I'm already close to my monthly limit, so there goes that idea. Instead, I shrank them down and am posting up the cream of the crop just for my lovely readers. Here is a mini gallery of stuff I've seen in the last month or two, hope you enjoy!

This is a beautiful temple right next to our apartment. Hard to believe it's on a major city street and there's a 7-11 across from it.
Is this cream really made out of Urea?! Do they even know what that word means?!! Sanity check on aisle 3!!
I ran into Mario the other day, he was just chillin' in Odaiba. We should hang out more, but he refused to give me his cell number ^_~
By the way, Japanese people don't know he's supposed to be Italian. Isn't that weird?
Normally with this four letter word you'd see a different letter in the front. This has got to be the cutest graffitti in the world. (hearts!)
Tidepools near Kamakura: Takeshi's in his natural marine habitat.
This is the view from the 18th floor at the NEC building looking over the Tama River. I took it when it was still cold, but now it's greener and there are cherry blossoms by the river, making a breathtaking panorama. (I originally wrote 'it's really pretty' decided against it. I'm afraid if I don't use my vocabulary I'll eventually start forgetting English...>_< Kyra is very afraid. I mean, terribly mortified.)
Hehe, this is me, Ayumi and Taka at karaoke on my birthday. Taka doesn't look like he minds having his arms full of girls, even though we're MARRIED! .. saying married is still weird. ^^
I took this when Viet was here and we went to the fish market. Those slabs of tuna (magura otoro, the fattiest part of the fish) are like gold... some of them are over $100! We went to sushi afterwards and managed to stay (miraculously) within a reasonable budget.

Alright kids, that's all for now. And stop reading this from work, your boss is probably right behind you and is going to blame ME for having such a fascinating blog. I don't need no bad mouthing from your crazy boss!

Oh, if anyone emailed me about the bottle thingie, leave a comment. I think my email has been acting weird lately. Maybe I should get Gmail like everyone says. ...but google is starting to scare me!!

sweet dreams!
... (no sleeping on the job!)

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Spring is here, Ahh-sa-pa-riiing is here~!

Yay its warm outside! Cherry blossoms are blooming, birds are chirping, and I think it's time to poison some pigeons in the park. *^_~* Er, sorry. I mean, time to take millions of pictures! THat seems to be the thing to do, everyone else is doing it here. At sengawa station, there are some big lights set up under a cherry tree to make it glow brilliantly even at night.

There are little old ladies lining up to take pictures of the cherry trees along the creek banks, and families take pictures during their annual "hanami": sitting outside under cherry trees for a nice picnic. Of course, cherry blossoms look the same year after year, makes me wonder what people do with their stacks of identical cherry blossom albums. ^^ Anyways, I went to my company's hanami in the Shinjuku Gyoen park and took pictures with my shiny new camera. They're up on flicker so you can see my coworkers (if you really want) Beware, they're a little silly. ^^

Final Fantasy Fever

Final Fantasy XII is out! Its being sold everywhere, even 7-11s. That game is 80 bucks!! I mean, I7m a big fan but that's soo expensive! I guess Square and FF have such a great reputation they can charge that much without worrying too much, it's an inflexible commodity, right up there with cigarettes and gasoline. Anyways, this much popularity means one thing and one thing alone: Merchandise Tie-Ins!!!! obviously. So there are now little tonic bottles calling themselves "potions" you can buy. They're just so cute. Here's a picture of the 'premium box' they had (also at 7-11):
COntest time! Whoever sends me an email first with one of the main characters of Final Fantasy 7, 8, 9, and 10 will get the bottle in the mail! hee hee. Second place will get a non-premium edition bottle (still cute though ^^). kyraweaver at hotmail dot com!

Viet and Robin came and visited me last week! It was so fun. We went to the fish market and had some really fresh sushi, good times. Come visit, peeps!

Ok that's all for now.