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    Shogun The Way To Go Home

    | Tokyo, Japan | Language & Words, Tourists/Travel

    (I work at the local train station. Having spent half my life living in Los Angeles, and the other living in Tokyo, I speak both English and Japanese. The other station masters tend to bring tourists to me, since their English isn’t as good as mine. A tourist approaches me and speaks loudly, slowly, and with very large hand gestures)

    Tourist: “I’m trying to get to [station]! Can you help me?”

    Me: “Yes, ma’am. I actually grew up in Los Angeles, so I can speak English.”

    Tourist: *still speaking in the same way* “No, I’m not from Los Angeles! I’m trying to get to [station]!”

    Me: “No, ma’am, I just meant that I spent a lot of time in Los Angeles.”

    Tourist: “No! Not Los Angeles! [Station]!”

    (The woman’s husband, hearing his wife shouting, joins us.)

    Tourist’s Husband: *to his wife* “What’s going on?”

    Tourist: “This dumb guy keeps asking if we’re from Los Angeles!”

    Tourist’s Husband: “Why would he think that?”

    Tourist: “I don’t know!”

    Tourist’s Husband: *to me, speaking clearly, but not extremely slowly* “We’re trying to get to [station].”

    (I provide directions to the station.)

    Tourist’s Husband: “You speak English very well!”

    Me: “Thank you sir. As I tried to explain to your wife, I grew up in Los Angeles, so I speak English.”

    Tourist’s Husband: *sighs* “I’m sorry you had to put up with her. Thanks for the directions.”

    (As they are walking away, I hear the woman proudly tell her husband, “I told you those Japanese lessons we took would pay off!”)